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Monday, December 15, 2008


The Dove
Music by John Barry
Harkit Records HRKCD 8321 (UK)
13 Tracks 32:45 mins

Harkit Records have done fans of John Barry, and good film music in general, a big favour by making this fine score readily available again.
1974's The Dove was one of only three films that fine Hollywood actor Gregory Peck produced, having fallen in love with the true life story of lone yachtsman Robin Graham (played by Joseph Bottoms) who, at the tender age of 16, sailed his 23-foot sloop "The Dove" around the world, finding love in the shape of Patti (Deborah Raffin) a free spirit, hitching her way around the world, having finished college.
I too fell in love with the film, which was the supporting feature to Orca - the Killer Whale, which brought me to our local cinema (sadly, no longer with us), due to the Morricone soundtrack. I left singing the praises of The Dove instead, though both films have excellent scores in their own rights.
John Barry was at the height of his powers in 1974, his many successes of the 1960s continuing into the '70s with great scores for the likes of The Last Valley, Walkabout, Mary, Queen of Scots and Sean Connery's return to Bondage in Diamonds are Forever. For The Dove, he came up with one of his loveliest scores, filled with a sense of adventure and freedom, summed up beautifully in his freewheeling strings-lead and harpsichord-driven "Main Title" theme, and the infectious song "Sail the Summer Winds," written with oft-time collaborator Don Black, and performed by Lyn Paul in one of her first ventures since leaving the popular group The New Seekers. "Patty and Robin" features a particularly playful version of the latter. Other great, easy-going moments in the score include the harmonica-lead "Hitch-Hike to Darwin," and the light-hearted competition of "The Motorbike and the Dove."
Of course, the voyage was not all plain sailing and Barry provides suitable support for Graham's trials and tribulations, coming up with some pretty tense and threatening writing for these scenes. "Here There Be Dragons" is particularly dramatic in this respect; and "Alone on the Wide, Wide Sea" quite disturbing, as loneliness threatens to unhinge young Robin; whilst Barry's main theme, always presented previously in a positive light, proves its versatility in the desperate "After the Fire."
The penultimate track presents a reprise of Ms Paul's vocal, with the sounds of ships' horns heralding the arrival of the Dove in Los Angeles harbour, as the main theme returns for the final track to celebrate Graham's triumph, closing this wonderful album.
Accompanying the disc, is the usual high-quality booklet, featuring Darren Allison's detailed notes on the film and its production, and of course the score.
Go to, where you can order your copy and find information on all the label's releases, with sound clips you can sample.


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