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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

CD REVIEW - THE BLOB (and other creepy sounds)

The Blob (and other creepy sounds)
Music by Ralph Carmichael and others
Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1955 (US)
57 Tracks 75:49 mins

The other recent release from Monstrous Movie Music is again an archival presentation of Ralph Carmichael's complete score for the 1958 cult sci-fi movie The Blob, most notable for introducing audiences to the then 27-year-old Steve McQueen as a leading man. The monster that was the Blob is less memorable and in fact quite laughable by today's standards, but maybe, although the film was presented in a serious nature, executives already considered it laughable then, as they replaced Carnichael's powerful Main Title, which is suitably violent, as it's "Violence" label suggests, with a catchy and comical little song by Burt Bacharach and Mack David, giving quite a misleading introductory message to those viewing the film. The song, as well as Carmichael's original composition, is included here.
What follows is certainly played straight by the composer, with much suspense and mystery, leading to violent and dramatic passages as the Blob devours everything in its path. There is little time for romance, though a tender love theme does make brief appearances.
Carmichael, whose best known screen work is probably composing and arranging for the popular I Love Lucy, is largely remembered for his work in the field of Christian Music, serving as music director for many Billy Graham films and also writing some of the earliest Christian youth musicals, but he also worked with many popular artists through the years, including Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Pat Boone and Ella Fitzgerald.
The score for The Blob accounts for some 36 minutes (including four bonus tracks) of the disc's 75-minute playing time, the remainder being taken up by cues written for the Valentino Production Music Library and then licensed, during the '50s and '60s, for use in all kinds of American productions; but, to compliment The Blob, this compilation, concentrates on music used in sci-fi/fantasy productions, from TV's Adventures of Superman to films like The Green Slime, Terror from the Year 5000 and The Brain That Wouldn't Die.
Composers represented include Roger Roger (perhaps best known for his light music), and famed Italian maestros Angelo Francesco Lavagnino and Mario Nacimbene. There's plenty of interesting stuff on display here, with suitably tense and occasionally otherwordly music, admirably suited to such productions though, for me, there is one standout track, that being Nascimbene's grand orchestral "Gateway to Glory." The programme ends on a light note with Lavagnino's bouncy "Holiday Excursion.
Another splendid foldout booklet accompanies the disc, featuring extensive notes and the usual cue-by-cue guide. Go to for further info, samples and to order your copy.


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