CD REVIEW - JOHNNY ORO (RINGO AND HIS GOLDEN PISTOL)
Johnny Oro (Ringo and His Golden Pistol)
Music by Carlo Savina
GDM Hillside Series GDM 4135
21 Tracks 50:23 mins
Many moons ago I caught a rare TV airing of this 1966 Sergio Corbucci western under its alternate title of Ringo and His Golden Pistol and remember enjoying both the film and its music, so I was delighted when this premiere recording of Carlo Savina's score came along in the latest batch of releases in the GDM Hillside Series.
The opening title song is sung in Italian by the dependable I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni and is a lusty affair, with whistle courtesy of Alessandroni himself of course. Alessandroni continues his work into track two (there are not track titles as such), a brooding affair, which transforms into a dramatic deguello; and track 3 opens the same before a plaintive harmonica refrain takes over, only to be cut short by harsh guitars, which continue into track 4 in somewhat doom-laden fashion, but with spirited trumpet-lead interludes. The harmonica refrain returns for the brief track, but is quickly cut short, only for electric guitar to take up the melody.
Track 6 is your usual barroom piano track that features in countless genre entries and, similarly, we have a Flamenco guitar piece following in track 7, but this is cut short in favour of a whistled variation on the title song, which is taken up by trumpet and flows spiritedly to a dramatic conclusion. Track 8 is a largely tense affair, but with a couple of welcome interruptions by Alessandroni.
The brooding melody from track two returns in more positive fashion, played by electric guitar at the start of track 9 and then suddenly steps up a gear to gallop onward in splendid fashion before slowing down again, heralding a complete change of mood to one of tension and threat. Things immediately lighten again though with track 10 presenting a fine galloping Alessandroni-lead variation on the title song.
Track 11 sees the deguello return to provide a dramatic opening and close to the cue, with the following tack being a somewhat muted affair; the tense track 13 following that.
Track 14 offers another splendid variation on the title song, featuring first Alessandroni, then trumpet, but unfortunately this doesn't last long before the harsh electric guitars break it up, before accompanying trumpet in a great closing version of the deguello. The following track is largely a menacing affair, the menace continuing into track 16.
Track 17 features yet another fine instrumental take on the title song (this time minus the whistle) and ends with the deguello, with the following track another tense, suspenseful affair; the mood continuing into track 19, but quickly dispersing to reveal another fairly brief variation on the title theme.
Track 20 features the English language version of the title song, but it actually sounds a little chaotic and, in this case, I think I prefer the opening Italian version, even if I didn't know what they were singing about. In case you think you could do better, a bonus backing track concludes the album, ideal if you fancy a spot of karaoke.
The accompanying booklet features plenty of original full colour poster artwork and stills from the film.
It's great to finally have this fine score available, and you'd best get along to www.hillsidecd.co.uk pretty fast if you want a copy of this very limited edition release of just 500 units.