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"Casino Royale" (1967) has been re-re-re-released on CD again. This time on the Quartet label who had done two of the previous re-releases. It has been remastered once again and seems to have the same tracks as their previous release with the important addition of the difficult to find 45 vocal version of the theme by Mike Redway, "Have No Fear, Bond Is Here." Although you are probably tired of buying this one over and over, the Redway track is a nice treat.
WOW, WOW, WOWEE, WOW! "Die Another Day" (2002) has been re-released in a beautiful, expanded, and remastered 2-CD set on the La-La Land label. It clocks in at 148 minutes (48 tracks) with over an hour of never-before-released music from David Arnold's score. There has been a lot of unauthorized music from this movie floating around, but this is the first authorized release which includes music that I don't think was available in the bootleg versions. It will NOT however, include the Madonna theme song or Paul Oakenfold's bond theme or all the interactive computer nonsense that cluttered up the original release so you may (or may not) want to keep that stashed somewhere.
George Martin: the Film Scores and Original Orchestral Compositions features the The Berlin Music Ensemble performing excerpts from Martin's film music and orchestral works. Spy bop fans may be interested in several tracks from the James Bond film Live and Let Die.
"The Jazz from U.N.C.L.E. Live in Concert" was recorded live at "The Golden Anniversary Affair", a fiftieth year celebration of the "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." TV series. The 42 minute U.N.C.L.E. concert has 14 tracks with new arrangements from the original MGM lead sheets played by the "Summit Six Sextet". Info here: Open Channel D.
La La Land Records has released a 4 CD set of music from "The Wild Wild West" (1965-69) which starred Robert Conrad as western spy James West. John Burlingame who wrote "The Music Of James Bond" as well as producing four volumes of Man From U.N.C.L.E. scores and the 6-disc Mission: Impossible soundtrack is once again at the helm. It even includes rejected themes by Dimitri Tiomkin. A real treat!
Not all that recent, but noteworthy nonetheless:
Beat Records has released Piero Umiliani's score to "Agent 3S3, Massacre Au Soleil" (1966) (aka Agent 3S3: Hunter from the Unknown). This one starred Eurospy fave, George Ardisson and was the sequel to "Agente 3s3: Passaporto Per L'inferno" (1965). It is a limited edition CD in their classical collector release series.
La La Land Records has released a great limited edition, 2 CD set of music from the classic animated Hanna-Barbera adventure series "Jonny Quest"(1964-65) with music by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin.
Things have been a little slow on the Spy Bop scene lately so it might be a good time to catch up on your reading! Check out "The International Spy Film Guide 1945-1989" by Richard Rhys Davies. Mr. Davies is the curator of the Kiss Kiss Kill Kill Archive . You can get lost for hours in this fantastic 1100 page, two volume set covering 2,240 spy films from 65 countries that are reviewed, rated, and illustrated in full colour for your espionage enjoyment. Details can be found at the Kiss Kiss Kill Kill Archive website.
"Themes For Drama" is a limited edition LP on the Network label of music by Robert Earley that includes music from Brit shows, Public Eye and Special Branch among others.
"SPECTRE" (2015) has come and gone, but it turns out Radiohead did a theme that was rejected. They have released it for fans on "Soundcloud"
Fans of John Steed and Dr. Keel have reason to rejoice. Not music, but audio productions well worth mentioning. "BIG FINISH" is releasing full cast productions of the 12 lost episodes of "The Avengers (1961)" with Julian Wadham as John Steed and Anthony Howell as Dr David Keel. Head over to their website for a preview and news of other Avengers projects!!
ODD AND UNUSUAL:
"Come Spy With Us" from ACE Records in the U.K. is a fantastic 25 track compilation CD with a nice selection of original themes and covers from 60's spy flicks. Some fairly obscure ones too like "Dr Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine" by The Supremes and "Where The Bullets Fly" by Susan Maughan. Not to mention some single versions (different from the LPs) I'd never heard and a great booklet too! Don't miss this one!
Check out the bluegrass version of "You Only Live Twice" on the "Pickin' On Nancy Sinatra" tribute CD. You can just see Jimbo barreling down the Highway in his Q issue pickup with his shaken, not stirred jug of moonshine.
"Cinema: A Romantic Vision" by Dori Caymmi should get an award for his unique and beautiful take on the Bond theme. If only someone had included this in one of the films!
"Masters Of Groove Meet Dr. No" on the Jazzateria label has Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Tarus Mateen, and Bernard Purdie giving the tracks from the Dr. No soundtrack their treatment and it's GOOOOD! You get Twisting with James, Under The Mango Tree, Three Blind Mice, Jump Up, The James Bond theme and a couple of originals.
"Secret Agent Men", produced by drummer Akira Tana features jazz men Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rufus Reid, Chuggy Carter, Rodney Jones, and Bob Kenmotsu cutting loose on "Secret Agent Man", "Mission Impossible", "From Russia With Love" and "Charade". (+9 other tracks)
Occasionally we find interpretations of incidental music rather than just themes. Vibraphonist Cal Tjader took a shot at "Moneypenny Goes For Broke" (from "Casino Royale") on "Cal Tjader Sounds Out Burt Bacharach"
Burt Bacharach did his own cover version of "Bond Street" on his "Reach Out" album. (also on CD).
"The James Bond Songbook" was one of those 60's LPs released to cash in on the Bond craze. It was re-released on CD to cash in on the Bond craze once again! This new CD has been mastered from the original tapes and sounds great. "Jimmy" Bond was a Jazz Bassist and plays here with Harold Land on tenor, Buddy Collette on flute and tenor and Bobby Bryant on trumpet.
"Hammond Bond" has been released by Verve as part of their "Jazz Club" series. It's a re-release of a 007 themed, 60's LP by German organist Ingfried Hoffmann. A sharp-eyed reader identified the original LP as "Soul Bond" Warning- there are only three (T-ball, G-finger, and FRWL) real Bond themes. The others are just jazzy little ditties with remotely spy-sounding titles, but it was the 60's, a swingin' Hammond organ, and it's pretty good!
"Sex Mob Does Bond" may be a little out there for some (more John Zorn than John Barry), but they cover both the incidental music and the themes.
An interesting oddity on the "Rare, Collectable, And Soulful Vol. 2" collection is "You Only Live Twice" written by Jack Ashford, Andrew Terry, Randy Scott and performed by Lorraine Chandler! The booklet says it was written for the film, but isn't clear whether it was commissioned or freelance.
Shirley Bassey recorded "Diamonds Are Forever" in Italian (Una Cascata Di Diamante). Same backing tracks, different vocals. Both versions are on this Italian 45. (Any one know if they did this with any other Bond themes?)
A 45 released in Germany by Alan Corb has his cover versions of Thunderball and Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang in German. This is one of the few vocal versions of Mr. KKBB released when the film came out and...
Tucked away on this limited 5 CD set of Ann-Margaret recordings is her unreleased (until now) version of "Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang". It was probably scrapped when the films title was changed. It had previously only been available on a legendary promo 45.
Here's something interesting... A recent Lionel Bart collection, "The Genius of Lionel Bart" includes a "Thunderball" demo performed by an unknown rock group and several instrumental versions.
Don't let the lousy cover art fool you. "Music To Spy By" by The David Whitaker Orchestra is a great LP to find. It probably falls into the music library category and sounds similar to Whitaker's score to "Hammerhead" which is pretty good.
"The Mad, Mad World Of Soundtracks" has the themes to "The Ambushers, "The Last Of The Secret Agents", and "Deadlier Than The Male" as well as "Agent X" by Peter Thomas (from a German spy film) and a cover of "It takes A Thief". The other tracks are equally exciting.
Volume two is a little more laid back, but includes covers of "Diamonds Are Forever" by male vocal group, The Bachelors, and Bacharach's "Bond Street" played on Accordions!
"The Bedside Bond" was a promo LP of some sort offered through Penthouse magazine in 1966. The Dutton Vocalion label has put it on CD paired with another LP. Des Champ and James Economides are the artists. Not a note of real Bond music, but sound library tunes with 007-esque titles. A couple of tracks are on the "The Thriller Memorandum" compilation.
"The Thriller Memorandum" has covers and originals of spy tunes you know and many you probably don't from obscure 60's albums we can only dream about. The liner notes are as good as the music.
Get this Propellerheads single at all costs. It has the short version of the incredible OHMSS/YOLT medley from "The David Arnold Project" CD and the long version from the "Sex And Drums And Rock And Roll" CD, but it also has David Arnold's original orchestral version before The Propellerheads got a hold of it. Excellent!
...and speaking of the Propellerheads, they do an unbelievable remix of "Goldfinger" on "Shirley Bassey The Remix Album". There are also remixed versions of Moonraker and Diamonds by other artists.
"The Bond Collection" should have been a major event. Shirley Bassey singing all the Bond themes up to A View To A Kill", but lackluster arrangements played on a synthesizer or a kazoo make it a disappointment.
They snuck a very good 8 1/2 minute suite from Live And Let Die" into "George Martin Plays The Beatles".
"The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage was remixed by U.N.K.L.E on this CD single.
"Bond Back In Action" volumes 1 & 2 are from the same bunch that gave us "The Essential James Bond" (which wasn't). On the plus side we get to hear music not included on the soundtrack albums, but none of it packs the punch we expect from Bond tunes.
Spy Guise, purveyors of all things spy, put together this "James Bond and Beyond" CD with Mike Boldt's interpretations of various spy themes, but the real treats are the 60's radio spots for "The Spy With My Face", "The Spy With My Face & To Trap A Spy Double Feature", "Our Man Flint", "The Venetian Affair", and "Number One Of The Secret Service" (1977) included as bonus tracks.
The "Thrills And Chills" CD by surf band The Moon-rays includes a couple of Gerald Fried numbers from The Man From Uncle as well as an ingenious medley of Martin Denny's tiki tune "Hypnotique" and "Our Man Flint". (Not to mention John Barry's "Beat Girl" Henry Mancini's "A Shot In The Dark" and 6 other tracks).
Weird Al Yankovic's great theme to "Spy Hard" only came out on CD singles and some versions have an instrumental of the theme.
"Power Themes 90" on Telstar has various DJ types remixing British adventure themes. A lot of it is so-so, but "The Avengers" and "Stingray" are knock-outs with "The Prisoner running a close second.
"Secret Agent Sounds" on the Mai Tai label has modern surf bands cutting loose on 60s spy tunes.
"Spies And Dolls" by Chaquito (John Gregory) on Dutton Vocalion is paired with his "TV thrillers" LP. Not all spy themes, but great covers of some hard to find ones like "When Eight Bells Toll" and "It Takes a Thief".
An oddity to be sure... After "The Avengers", Dianna Rigg got mixed up in a project to make a couple of short spy-type films to be watched while pumping gas or something. Honest (check You-tube). The music from "Das Diadems" and "The Mini-killers" has turned up on the "Pop Shopping Vol. 1" CD.
"Hooper" was a movie about a Stuntman on a spy film and has one very Bondish cut, "Old James Bonded Bourbon".
Al Caiola's "The Power Of Brass" has versions of "Mission Impossible" and "The Look Of Love", but the real reason I mention it is the spy treatment they give "The Odd Couple". "My name is Unger...Felix Unger" You've got to hear it!