The summer soundtrack smorgasbord is slowly filling up with 20th century classics…a surprise appearance by a famous time traveler…as well as a vampire and some superheroes.
The days are getting hot enough to melt the CDs in your car’s front seat, so maybe the soundtrack labels are easing off their release schedule a bit. But the titles that are coming out are some all-time classics.
Hot on the heels of the death of the late, great Ennio Morricone, the release of a definitive, remastered 2-CD set of Morricone’s complete score from Two Mules For Sister Sara is either exquisitely timed, or tragically timed. It was already on La-La Land Records’ schedule, and it’s been an eagerly-awaited new edition on many soundtrack collectors’ “holy grail” lists, so…maybe a bit of both? The first disc is the world premiere of the music as recorded for the film, nearly an hour of music in total (including pieces not used in the final cut), while the second disc remasters the original, just-over-half-an-hour 1970 soundtrack LP for its CD debut. To many ears out there, this is two brand new discs’ worth of unreleased Morricone – and surely that is a fitting tribute. 3,000 copies of this 2-CD set have been pressed.
La-Land Land’s other release, Escape To Danger, is a different kind of trip through time, presenting two scores by Joe Kraemer (who has also scored films such as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Jack Reacher) for Big Finish Productions’ series of Doctor Who audio dramas. The scores presented here are from the 2015 seventh-Doctor-meet-’70s-UNIT story The Defectors, starring Sylvester McCoy and Katy Manning, and the 2016 story Absolute Power, which starred Colin Baker. This is a surprising release coming from an American label, since the last CD releases of music from Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios came in the early 2000s from Big Finish itself. 1,000 copies of this release are on hand, including some autographed copies. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Big Finish still includes highlights from the music of its audio stories, as bonus tracks on those stories’ CD releases.)
From Intrada comes Frank DeVol‘s score from the 1972 Burt Lancaster western, Ulzana’s Raid, which has a wildly percussive score even for an action film. This is a score that hasn’t even had a prior LP release, making this single-CD the premiere of this music in any form outside of the movie itself. As usual, Intrada plays coy on how many copies will be available, but I think it’s safe to assume that the pressing will top out at 3,000 copies.
Varese Sarabande has a treat lined up for fans of the late Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000. Marco Beltrami‘s score from the movie, previously available only as part of a box set also issued by Varese, is going on sale as a standalone CD on July 24th, but only 1,000 copies of this standalone edition will be available before this score once again disappears, as if slinking back to its coffin to escape the sunlight.
One other release of note sees La-La Land evolving beyond simply being a soundtrack label. They’re giving the offbeat superhero film The Specials its Blu-Ray debut, marking the movie’s 20th anniversary. Written by James Gunn of Guardians Of The Galaxy fame, and starring Thomas Haden Church, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Paget Brewster and many others, the Blu-Ray originates from a fresh scan of the film and boasts lossless 5.1 and stereo audio, along with some new bonus features. If this sells well, who knows what other cult classics could get the Blu-Ray treatment from La-La Land?