Our final output of the year sees Fantastic Voyage saluting two auteurs. In our first brace of releases, John Barry – one of the most distinguished composers of film music in the world – receives worthy acknowledgement in the form of Soundtracks & Singles 1963 – 1966, a 3CD retrospective which highlights a particularly fertile period. An appropriate accompaniment, November also sees the release of a long out of print 180 gram vinyl edition of the original Zulu soundtrack.
One of Barry’s most iconic works, the 1964 Zulu soundtrack is a momentous early achievement that sits comfortably with his famed contributions to the James Bond series. Mastered from original stereo tapes and featuring bit part narration by Richard Burton, the original music of the BAFTA-nominated film is here fleshed out with Southern African-influenced beat instrumentals performed by the John Barry Seven. As well as a vinyl edition housed in original artwork and label design, Zulu also forms the first disc of Soundtracks & Singles. Succeeding Zulu a year after and compiled on the second disc of the Soundtracks & Singles 1963 – 1966 collection is the original soundtrack to 1965’s Four In The Morning, a critically acclaimed film which won plaudits for a young Judi Dench. Presented in mono format, as well as stereo, it’s soundtrack is a more subdued, haunting entry in Barry’s oeuvre. On this edition, the atmosphere of the film is further ingrained through dialogue excerpts featuring Dench, Ann Lynn, Norman Rodway, Brian Phelan and Joe Melia. Both Zulu and Four In The Morning were originally released on British independent label Ember, where John Barry was associate producer and head of A&R in the early sixties. Compiled on the final part of the set are Barry’s other Ember recordings, productions which include an alternative organ-accompanied version of the From Russia With Love theme – a major UK hit single in its time – and a curio centred around the Profumo scandal, mysteriously credited to a certain ‘Miss X’. The 60s masterworks of a true British maestro lovingly restored.
Another artist of unparalleled significance, Eddie Cochran’s influential, myriad involvement in rock & roll is lionized by many. As both a solo artist in his own right, intent on spreading rockabilly’s raw and gutsy sound, and as a session musician working amidst the now enshrined contributions of LA’s Wrecking Crew, Cochran has enjoyed enduring renown. Although counted amongst an unfortunate group of young artists who had their lives tragically cut short – deaths which always threaten to turn legacies into myths – Cochran’s singular solo work and collaborations remain indispensable to the forceful golden age strides of early rock & roll. In this instance, Gold Star Rockers: Eddie Cochran & Friends, revolves around his favoured production haunt, the eponymous breeding ground for many wall-of-sound marvels, and a glut of timeless pop from other similarly statured leading names. Taking that as a central cue, Dave Penny seeks to compile a fuller picture of Cochran’s life; his own productions, his extensive guitar work, his many associations and the other rock & roll releases which would’ve soundtracked his ascent, and which also add narrative colour to his story. A 3CD set of over 100 tracks, the set has already been hailed in Now Dig This as “Hugely enjoyable, entertaining and in many ways historically important…a wonderfully varied collection which includes a wealth of fine music”.