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Monday, January 15, 2007

CD REVIEW - Tom and Jerry & Tex Avery Too!

Tom and Jerry & Tex Avery Too!
Music by Scott Bradley
Film Score Monthly Vol.9 No.17 (U.S.A.)
Disc 1 - 12 Tracks 79:40 mins Disc 2 - 13 Tracks 79:22 mins

As a child of the '60s I was raised on Tom and Jerry cartoons and I suppose the future film music fan in me always recognised what a great contribution the music made to their hair-raising adventures, and I remember from quite a young age making a mental note that the composer was Scott Bradley, whoever he was.
Now, after all these years, FSM has done me yet another great service in releasing two lengthy discs of music not only from the T & J cartoons, but also from those Bradley scored for Tex Avery, including the canine character Droopy's adventures (I also remember some of these, though my memory is a little more foggy). And what's more, the collection is subtitled "Volume 1: The 1950s" which hopefully means more is to follow, though these recordings feature music from many of T & J's most memorable adventures, and all in great stereo sound.
Unfortunately time and other commitments prevent me from going into the great detail this release deserves, but I'm sure all the more mature among you reading this will fondly remember the M-G-M Tom and Jerry cartoons and may, like me, even remember some of their music and just how wonderful it was. Bradley, like Carl Stalling at Warners, was extremely inventive, aided by some wonderful musicians, in following the onscreen action and its many twists and turns. He was able to turn on a dime, the music flowing seemlessly from one mood to another, and again like Stalling, he utilised fragments from many well known and popular songs of the time and before, and even classical pieces, perfectly fitting them to each scenario.
Listening to these scores again, and reading Daniel Goldmark's splendid notes in the usual excellent and colourful accompanying booklet, it amazes me that Bradley was in his 40s when he first began composing for M-G-M cartoons. The energy he generates is quite astounding.
The Tex Avery cartoons are approached very much in the same way and, interestingly, his scores for these often start out with what I would describe as a first cousin to the T & J theme, which is probably almost as memorable as the famous Laurel & Hardy theme.
I cannot recommend this release highly enough - it's nothing short of a musical feast! So, what are you waiting for? - get along to and order your copy.


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