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Sunday, April 11, 2010


Jerry Cotton - FBI's Top Man
Music by Peter Thomas
All Score Media ASM 033/CSC 005 (Germany)
28 Tracks 58:15 mins

A timely release in lieu of the new Jerry Cotton cinematic revival, comes this compilation of music for the eight Jerry Cotton films released between 1965 and 1969, with music composed by Peter Thomas and performed by his Sound Orchester. Much of the music has been available before, but here it is remastered and there are six previously unreleased tracks, plus two bonus titles that were only ever released on a rare LP.
For his scores, Thomas drew upon the jazz-pop stylings of the day, both in Hollywood and European films of the genre and, sometimes rather irritatingly, to my ear at least, added gunshots, screams and vocal improvs, but don't be put off, these are rare.
"Caught at Midnight" gets things off to a fast-flowing, jazzy start, complete with scat singer James D. Atterley; whilst "Jerry & Phil" is slower, and more down and dirty. By contrast, though still rooted in jazz, "Jerry Cotton March" is suitably martial in feel, propelled by kettle drums, with whistlers carrying the melody. "Jerry 67" is another pacy offering, with raucous sax. Thomas next draws upon the Italian cinema music style of the time with "French Girl in Manhattan (alternate version)," which features a seductive female vocal line. "Cristallo Cristallo" move briskly along with xylophone, or similar, taking lead. Vocalist Atterley (recorded in an echo chamber) returns for "Brooklyn By Night;" whilst "Big Troubles" is a bold and brassy piece of cool jazz, leading to "Hello, Jerry," with its menacing, Italian styled, opening leading to a reprise of the "Jerry Cotton March," with wordless vocals.
"My Friend Phil" moves along at a brisk walking pace; whilst "Jaguar Beat" slows it down still further and the sax sounds a little worse for drink. "Crime Doesn't Pay" recalls Elmer Bernstein's jazz scores, whilst also featuring Atterley again, who continues into the appropriately bluesy "Two Voices Blues," where he is joined by Marie France. "Love is Swinging in the Air" does what it says on the tin, whilst "Take It, Jerry" swings it at a faster pace, and features piano. Another reprise of the JC March continues in swinging vein, and then it's back to Italy with "Red Robin Bossa." There are further reprises of the JC March in "Cotton Beat" and "Charming Jerry," (as a lush-stringed slow dance); as well as the final "Goodbye, Jerry!" It also features, thinly disguised, in "Walking on the Dachfirst."
It's not all instrumental work though, as Kerry & Kaye sing "Superman is Callin'" and a few tracks later "Love is Swinging in the Air" features Nina Westen. The identity of the female singer of "Ask Me Later, Alligator" unfortunately could not be determined.
The remaining instrumentals include the organ-lead go-go track "In Soho;" the loungy, sax-lead "Skyline Temptation;" the cha-cha-cha "Manhattan Inn;" and the surprising Americana strings-lead "Jewellery Party."
If, like me, you enjoy the '60s jazz-pop scores of the genre, you'll find plenty to admire in these scores, and the time passes fleetingly in their company.
Accompanying the CD is a 24-page booklet, with notes, in both German and English, by Douglas Payne, a filmography (which details which tracks belong to which production), plus plenty of stills and original album artwork.
Already available in Germany, Jerry Cotton - FBI's Top Man is released in the US on the 20th of this month, and the UK on 20th May.


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