Here is an opportunity to own three of maestro Goldsmith’s 1970’s TV film scores from the days when the composer worked regularly in that so often undervalued medium.
The James Stewart starring murder mystery Hawkins on Murder (1973), features an upbeat, folksy, ‘Main Title’ that is quite typical of Goldsmith from this period, although the intrusion of the then cutting edge Minimoog (a very basic synthesizer) does little to enhance the piece with its warbling electronics. These synthesized elements do appear to better effect elsewhere in the score, but the true quality of the work shines through on incidental tracks such as ‘No Worries’ where tense brass creates a strong sense of intrigue and dramatic weight, while ‘Sarabande’ essays a low-key, evocative theme for acoustic guitar, oboe and strings that is quietly impressive.
Another score for a TV thriller, this time starring Andy Griffith and entitled Winter Kill (1974), begins with more electronics on ‘Number One’, but this track really only represents the composer experimenting with a new musical toy (in this case the APR synthesizer) and to be honest the piece has little to distinguish it from any other synth laden suspense cue. Once the ‘Main Title’ kicks in though we are in more familiar up-tempo territory with definite echoes of some of Goldsmith’s western scores. Here, vigorous guitar work and soaring strings propel the piece along at a spirited pace. Unfortunately, apart from this catchy main theme, the score is mainly dominated by more electronic atmospherics, although there are some darkly suspenseful piano, string and percussion tracks such as ‘Late Arrival/What’s in a Name/I’m Worried/A New Killer’ to somewhat off-set the thematic void created by this ambient sound approach.
Finally there is Goldsmith’s music from Babe (1975), the true story of celebrated athlete Babe Ruth Didrickson, who won two gold medals in the 1932 Olympics. The score is built around a romantic, quietly moving theme played in its most memorable renderings on acoustic guitar. While this is undoubtedly an appealing motif, the lack of real variety in the score as a whole does limit its overall impact as simply a listening experience, but there is still enough quality here to warrant admiration.
As with all FSM releases the attention to detail is impeccable and the presentation is first rate. This is certainly a valuable recording and an absolute must-have for Goldsmith admirers and judging by the fact that the man has such a devoted and extensive following I can only assume that the limited pressing of just 3,000 will be sold out in a matter of days!
FSM Press release:
Jerry Goldsmith is one of the greatest feature film composers of all time, but he has often returned to his roots in television for memorable themes and scores, from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to Star Trek Voyager. The early 1970s were an especially prolific time for Goldsmith in television, and this CD features three of his projects for M-G-M Television, two of them produced by U.N.C.L.E.'s Norman Felton.
Hawkins on Murder (1973) was the 90-minute pilot film for a short-lived series starring Jimmy Stewart as Billy Jim Hawkins, a canny West Virginia defense attorney. Goldsmith wrote an energetic theme featuring twangy Minimoog synthesizer, emphasizing Hawkins' country roots and the authority of the law. The balance of the 17-minute score features sympathetic strains for an innocent heiress played by Bonnie Bedelia, with acoustic guitar performances by Laurindo Almeida.
Winter Kill (1974) was a two-hour intended pilot movie starring Andy Griffith as a small-town sheriff confronted with a vicious string of murders. Goldsmith wrote an exciting theme for ARP synthesizer, strumming guitars and orchestra, foreshadowing his popular score to Breakheart Pass (1976), along with moody, ambient suspense and action cues including low-end piano and tabla percussion. (Certain atmospheric cues are relegated to the bonus section of the CD.)
Babe (1975) was a stellar TV movie about Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the greatest woman athlete of the 20th century. The production was one of the first biopics for television and one of the finest, with Emmy-winning efforts by actress Susan Clark and Goldsmith. The score is a sensitive gem of melody and Americana, with a heartfelt main theme often played by acoustic guitar, and lively accompaniment for Babe's athletic achievements.
This CD features Goldsmith's complete scores to Hawkins on Murder, Winter Kill and Babe, remixed and mastered from the original 1/2" stereo tapes. Liner notes are by TV music authority Jon Burlingame.
Hawkins on Murder
- The Bodies/Main Title/No Tourist Attractions/A Stranger in the House/The Beach/All That Can Be Done 5:08
- No Worries/It Won't Happen/A Couple of Kicks/Sarabande 7:03
- A Strange Freedom/A Second Time 3:30
- Julia's Confession/End Title 1:05
- Total Time: 16:51
- Number One 2:04
- Main Title/The Cigar 3:56
- The Village/Number Three/Late Visit 3:22
- Late Arrival/What's in a Name/I'm Worried/A New Killer 4:35
- Shootout 2:07
- Fatherless Child 1:41
- Total Time: 17:58
- Theme 2:27
- Babe/High Off the Hog 3:34
- The Team/Where Is It 2:54
- Sick Nun 3:06
- You Bet Ya/It's Late/I Do 3:23
- Round Trip/Morning Edition 2:12
- On the Green/Can She?/WPGA/Outpatient 2:00
- No Changes/Sudden Pain 2:33
- Always a Winner 4:11
- Total Time: 26:41
- When You've Gone Away (Babe) 4:47
- Missing Gun/Red Snow/Which One/Number Two (Winter Kill) 3:52
- More Clues (Winter Kill) 1:25
- Final Victim/Special Delivery (Winter Kill) 4:17
- Main Title (Hawkins) 1:16
- Total Time: 15:49
Total Disc Time: 77:26