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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Soundtrack > Rio Conchos (Limited CD)

Rio Conchos   (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Music: B+



Though it was not his first score for a Western, Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the 1964 Gordon Douglas film Rio Conchos (1964) is one of his best, in or out of the genre.  When the FSM label of Film Score Monthly magazine issued it in a limited edition CD, it became the first time the original recordings of the score were ever issued.  The depth and range of the material is absolutely fresh sounding forty years after its original release.


The CD offers 29 tracks, the first 23 being the entire score.  The tracks are monophonic, because it turns out the stereo masters were not in the best of shape.  However, after the Johnny Desmond-vocalized title song, the remaining 5 tracks offer some of the more memorable cuts in somewhat damaged stereo.  The picture painted by the disc overall is one of very diverse music within the confines of a genre film.  However, Goldsmith did not allow the confined to be anywhere nearly as restraining as others would have allowed.


As a result, the soundtrack paints its own picture of the West, without ever having to even see the full color, CinemaScope film it is composed for.  That is great movie music, and Goldsmith is one of the greatest composers (in or out of film) of the twentieth century.  Just when I thought he could not surprise me any further, here goes another great example of his mastery of sound to image, even without the images there.  These are naturalistic, if not totally authentic in ethnic terms, but comes out at the same time Ennio Morricone did his first major “Spaghetti Western” score for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, so both composers were on the right track with where the Western was going next.


The PCM CD sound is exceptional, which is not always easy with a mostly-monophonic set, but this one manages to sound good and not shrill.  Too bad the stereo tracks were not in the best of shape, but the mono still offers the amazing range and power of the score just the same.


This is the kind of music that makes you want to see the film, but Fox has yet to issue the DVD and never released the film on either LaserDisc or even a letterboxed VHS tape!  That’s wrong, even if the stereo masters are gone.  This CD could soon be gone too.  FSM has only pressed 3,000 copies of this amazing score, which means a limited number of copies are left.  For one of the best among dozens of great soundtrack exclusives, look into ordering at www.filmscoremonthly.com for more information, because this CD is that impressive and can only be obtained through the company.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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