When you’re crazy into a band or an artist, you seek stuff out. The harder it is to find, the more you search, and it becomes a sort of quest, especially when the existence of said material is rumored to exist somewhere. And when you finally get it, the acquiring becomes all the more sweet. The joy, for instance, of tracking down Thomas Newman’s Men Don’t Leave soundtrack was well-documented here. And since I offered to post more rare Newman this week, let’s get to it.
Starting at the beginning, this piece of music (as discussed here) was the first time I noticed Newman’s work. I was a movie theater drudge in Santa Fe. The year was 1985. My coworkers and I would crank the monitors during the end credits up in the booth/office when The Man With One Red Shoe wrapped each showing. This was why. It’s a rolling, laid-back piece of instrumental music, easy-going and saxy. Ask most people if they remember the film and you’ll get a blank stare. Ask me, however, and you’ll have to listen to me wax enthusiastic for half an hour.
I never saw this film, but of the legally-issued Thomas Newman scores, it’s one of the harder ones to find. An eBay search today shows a range from $10 to $85 bucks for the CD. The tone of this piece is closer to Men Don’t Leave in style, and hints at his more string-laden compostions to come. But that percussive element that I love so much is still very much evident. It’s a worthwhile acquisition for fans.
Alternately bombastic and moody, this is one of those atypical Newman scores that finds him dabbling in sounds we’re not used to hearing from him. It’s the only “horror” film he ever scored, so I guess we can chalk that up as a reason, but here he’s using electric guitar, large scale organ and rapid-fire percussion to build to that Santa Cruz Carnival of Horror that we all remember so well. The original soundtrack contained very little of the actual score and was geared, instead, to people who wanted to get their hands on Tim Cappello’s sax-drenched cover of The Call’s “I Still Believe.” Uh, no thank you.
Man, remember Emily Lloyd? She was the flavor of the year when this came out, thanks to Wish You Were Here, that button-cute comedy from 1987. Here, she gets Italian on us and slinks about in a Nora Ephron-penned mob comedy that failed to make an impression when it came out. The score is funky and jazzy and seasoned with a wheezy accordion sound, entirely befitting the smoky atmosphere of a neighborhood Trattoria, but there’s some of the trademark Newman sparkle as well, as evidenced by this short cut.
There’s more, but I’m out of time today. actually, it’s not that I’m out of time. I just can’t take the heavy oppressive marine-layer gloom that’s covering Redondo Beach today. I’m going to retreat somewhere warm and bright and get some work done. I’ll drop some more cool bits into the schedule for next week, so stay tuned.