Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Existentialism > Soundtrack > Monte Walsh (Limited Edition CD)

Monte Walsh   (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Music: B+



One of the most interesting gems to come from the FSM label of the magazine Film Score Monthly is the score for cinematographer-turned-director William A. Fraker’s Monte Walsh (1970), composed and conducted by John Barry.  Barry continued to be in rare form, coming off of some of his best Bond film work and Midnight Cowboy (1969).  This includes the terrific theme song “The Good Times Are Comin’”, written by Hal David and sung by Mama Cass, in one of her finest vocal performances.


I do not know what it is, but every time David gets together with Barry, they created some of the best movie theme songs ever, and then nobody ever hears them.  This also applies to two of the best James Bond themes:  We Have All the Time in the World” from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and the Shirley Bassey title song to Moonraker (1979), particularly the slower opening version.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is David’s second greatest pairing with a music composer next to his legendary work with Burt Bacharach.  The songs are that good!


So is this soundtrack, presented here in monophonic PCM CD sound.  Barry was recording his scores in stereo for many years, and the liner notes give no indication if stereo masters existed, but were lost.  The only exception is the final track, a Single Version of the Mama Cass song intended for radio airplay, here as one of 10 bonus tracks.  Either way, this is a score up there with Barry’s best.  It is nuanced, thought provoking, wide ranging, and so musically competent that it is still amazing over thirty years later.  The other nine bonus tracks further this, showing how far Barry went to score this thoughtful Western.


The six Saloon tracks sounds like something he would later use in his Bond score for The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974, while others show an advanced maturity for a cinema that had grown up.  The film was shot in Panavision and Barry more than met the wide frame with music to fill it up with.


National General was the brief-lived company that released Monte Walsh.  Other noteworthy films they released during their reign includes:  Dream of Kings, Divorce American Style, Little Ark, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Getaway (with Steve McQueen), Scrooge (with Albert Finney), Big Jake (with John Wayne), Le Mans, Cheyenne Social Club, The April Fools, Charro! (with Elvis Presley and Raquel Welsh), Royal Hunt of the Sun, and The Reivers. These films were issued in roughly the period of 1968 – 1973.  If these films are hardly available on DVD, you can imagine how scarce the soundtracks can be.


Though a newer Tom Selleck cable telefilm remake is on DVD, this original is not, shockingly released only on VHS!  That is wrong.  The soundtrack is limited to only 3,000 copies, so if you are interested, it is strongly recommended you order it now.  It is exclusively available at www.filmscoremonthly.com while supplies last.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com