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November 30, 2004

This week, some rather unusual soundtrack releases and a tribute to the late Cy Coleman.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Jesse Jeff Westchester Somewhere Over the Radio Stevens and Grdnic Demonstratin' once again that country music sure is easy to sing.
Main Title Battle of the Planets (2004) Studio musicians This anime science fiction/superhero series aired in Japan beginning in 1972; a somewhat sanitized version aired in the USA beginning in 1978. These tracks, by veteran composer Hoyt Curtin, were written for the American version.
Alien Planet Battle of the Planets (2004) Studio musicians Previously released as "Alien Trap"
BP-1 Zark's Theme / Zark's Theme Alt / Zark Disco Battle of the Planets (2004) Studio musicians Zark, as if you couldn't tell from the music, was a cute robot.
Space Chase Battle of the Planets (2004) Studio musicians This is from "Bob" Sakuma's score for the Japanese original.
Battle Of The Planets 04 (Remix) Battle of the Planets (2004) Ricardo Autobahn This is one of two "dance mixes" created specifically for this disc.
Joe Brackne Somewhere Over the Radio Stevens and Grdnic He'll meet you head on!
Carry on Jack Carry On! (2004) Studio musicians The music for this 1964 parody of seagoing action films is by Eric Rogers, who scored most of the 29 Carry On.. movies; voice tracks are by various cast members
Carry on Screaming Carry On! (2004) Studio musicians From 1966, this Eric Rogers score is for a horror movie parody. Targets include The Addams Family, The Munsters and the Hammer horror films. The voice tracks include a blatant steal from Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine. The vocalist for the title song in unidentified, but he appears to be simultaneously channeling Elvis and Bobby Darin.
Carry on Cruising Carry On! (2004) Studio musicians Bruce Montgomery and Douglas Gamley scored this 1962 entry set aboard the cruise ship Happy Wanderer. This two-disc set covers 20 years of Carry On.. soundtracks, from 1958 to 1978.
Leg O' the Crow Dear Friends The Firesign Theatre This is probably not a four-star restaurant
Where is Mr. Barrie Finding Neverland (OS 2004) Orchestra conducted by Nick Ingman Finding Neverland stars Johnny Depp as British playwright J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. The film deals with the events in Barrie's life that led to the creation of his most famous character.
The Peter Pan Overture Finding Neverland (OS 2004) Orchestra conducted by Nick Ingman Composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek was educated as a lawyer and planned to be a diplomat, but a series of workshops with avant-garde director Jerzy Grotowski convinced him to pursue a career in the arts.
Man With Harmonica Once Upon a Time - The Essential Ennio Morricone Film Collection (2004) City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paul Bateman From Once Upon a Time in the West, this boasts one of the eeriest harmonica solos I've ever heard.
Duck, You Sucker Once Upon a Time - The Essential Ennio Morricone Film Collection (2004)) Charlotte Kinder (soprano), City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus conducted by Nic Raine The title not withstanding, this piece (from A Fistful of Dynamite) is actually rather lyrical. It's supposed to suggest the tormented past of Lee Marvin's character in the film - an IRA refugee with a talent for blowing things up.
Do the Chicken Hawk GOP Party Monsters Wayne Lammers and Pete Levin It's all the rage in Washington.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Overture and Chapter 1 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Cyril Ritchard, New York Woodwind Quintet Starting this week and running for the next three months, the Storytime segment features the complete Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This 1957 recording features one of the great British actors of the previous century. Although best known in the USA for his role as Captain Hook in the musical version of Peter Pan (1954), Ritchard had a long and distinguished stage and screen career.
Once referred to by New York Post theatre critic Clive Barnes as “a permanent gem in Broadway's musical crown”, songwriter Cy Coleman died on November 18th at the age of 75. A piano-playing prodigy who played Carnegie Hall and other venues beginning the age of 6, Coleman was an established songwriter long before he had his first big Broadway success with Wildcat (starring Lucille Ball) in 1960. He went on to win Tonys for his score for On the Twentieth Century (1978), City of Angels (1989) and The Will Rogers Follies (1991). His best-known show is probably Sweet Charity (1966), which was a hit both on Broadway (with Gwen Verdon) and on screen (with Shirley McLaine).
I've Got Your Number Little Me (Revival Cast 1999) Michael Park, Faith Prince Neil Simon's book for this Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh score recounts the rags-to-riches story of the voluptuous Bell Poitrine and the many man in her life, all played by one actor (Sid Caesar in the original, Martin Short in the revival).
Big Spender Sweet Charity (OC 1966) Helen Gallagher and the Girls The dance hall hostesses at the Fandango Ballroom invite customers in for fun, laughs and a good time. Sweet Charity had a book by Neil Simon and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It ran for 608 performances.
You Wanna Bet? Sweet Charity (OC 1966) Cy Coleman Coleman performs this song cut from Sweet Charity pre-Broadway. This is one of several bonus tracks on the 1999 CD re-release of the original cast album.
There is a Sucker Born Every Minute Barnum (OC 1980) Jim Dale Mark Bramble's book is a fictionalized account of the remarkable life of P.T. Barnum from 1835 until 1880, when he teamed up with James A. Bailey to create "the greatest show on earth", told as a series of circus acts. The multi-talented Jim Dale (who was also a veteran of the Carry On.. comedies - see above) played the title role with Glenn Close as his long-suffering wife. The show ran for 854 performances.
You're Nothing Without Me City of Angels (London Cast 1993) Martin Smith, Roger Allam Larry Gelbart's complex script for this 1989 show concerns the difficulties of a Hollywood writer trying to adapt his own detective novel for the screen. The action switches back and forth between writer Stein and detective Stone, with the same actors playing key roles in both the "real" and "fictional" stories. In this Act I finale, the writer vents his frustration on his creation. The inventive lyrics are by David Zippel.
Give a Man Enough Rope The Will Rogers Follies (1991) Keith Carradine With a book by Peter Stone (1776) and lyrics by the veteran team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, The Will Rogers Follies chronicles the life of the rope-twirling, wisecracking Rogers as a series of Ziegfeld Follies acts. It ran for 983 performances.
Witchcraft It Started with a Dream Cy Coleman (vocals and piano), orchestra conducted by Brad Dechter This 2002 disc features Coleman and a couple of friends (Tony Bennett and Lillias White) performing Coleman classics and rarities. "Witchcraft", from 1957, was his first big hit, particularly in the Frank Sinatra version.
The Best is Yet to Come It Started with a Dream Cy Coleman (vocals and piano), orchestra conducted by Brad Dechter Coleman wrote this as an instrumental, convinced that "singers wouldn't take to the intervals" (and, to be fair, they are a bit tricky), but lyricist Carolyn Leigh convinced him otherwise.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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