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Sunday, January 21, 2007

CD REVIEW - Occhio alla Penna

Occhio alla Pena
Music by Ennio Morricone
Digitmovies CDDM071 (Italy)
27 Tracks 48:03 mins

Thanks to the recent discovery of the stereo mastertapes and continuing their "musical voyage" through the films of Bud Spencer, Digitmovies are able to present here an expanded CD of maestro Morricone's score for this comedy western from 1981. The album consists of the fifteen tracks originally released, plus a further twelve, including piano source music and alternate versions of the main themes.
I used to own the original LP release but, though I loved the first seven or eight tracks on it, found it disappointingly petered out thereafter. Added to this was my prejudice at the time against comedy westerns. Thankfully, now I am much more broadminded and can therefore appreciate this score for what it is, which is a rollicking good collection of tunes, commencing with "Non Fare L'Indiano," with its choral vocal and Death Rides a Horse-like guitars. This is followed by "Estasi del Miracolo," a lovely, classical-styled flute-lead theme, with choir. "Alleluja de Buon Raccolto" is a bouncy, happy little tune, with choral allelujas breaking out as the bridge. "L'Ultima Tromba" is classic showdown music, complete with trumpet, harmonica, guitar and voices. Next up is "Sfida All'Ultima Forchetta," a comical, flute-lead mover, with snatches of the showdown music; then "Grandino e Piccolone," a laid-back, easy-going flute/synth duet. A theme that has a certain sneakiness to it, reminding me of some of the maestro's gangster movie themes, follows in "Dal Sarto;" whilst the title track follows, which is a development of "Grandino e Piccolone," a really infectious and bouncy arrangement, largely with flute lead.
Most of what follows are variations on all these themes, with a slightly uptempo variation of the showdown music in track 26 being my favourite.
The colourful accompanying booklet features plenty of stills from the film, together with Claudio Fuiano & Luca Di Silverio's notes. An interesting coda is that the latter actually appeared as a child in the film and a still from the scene identifies him.


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