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December 2005 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings/ December/

The Best of Thunderbirds  
Music composed by Barry Gray zz
  Available on Silva Screen (SILCD195)
Total Running Time: 94:48
Disc One: 79:12
Disc Two: 14.36 (plus 18 large PDF image files)
Amazon UK

See also:

  • Thunderbirds (2003)
  • Thunderbirds 2
  • Thunderbirds 6
  • Thunderbirds (2004)
  • Following on the heels of Silva Screen’s Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds 2 albums of Barry Gray’s music for 1960’s children’s classic science fiction adventure show comes this 2CD Best Of anthology. I won’t go into detail about Gray’s rousing and lovingly crafted music here as Mark Hockley covered the majority of it in his reviews of the original albums (see links above). However, one might imagine a 2CD Best Of could actually include everything on the original 2CDs, but Silva Screen have taken a different approach.

    The original two discs ran 61 and 60 minutes respectively. Here the first disc runs a packed 79 minutes and includes three previously unreleased cues: ‘The Impostors – Jeremiah’s Theme’, ‘Atlantic Inferno – Jazz Atlantica’ and ‘Edge of Impact – The Red Arrow’. The first of these is a mock hillbilly bluegrass take on the famous Thunderbirds main theme and is entirely negligible. ‘Jazz Atlantica’ is a jazz source cue originally composed by Barry Gray for Stingray, while ‘The Red Arrow’ is a strong action piece using material already represented elsewhere on the disc.

    Disc two presents five tracks taken from three EPs (or mini-albums, as they are described in the booklet) all originally released in 1966. These were “Lady Penelope Themes”, “Great Themes from Thunderbirds” and “FAB”. Three of these are making their CD debut here, and the only real question is, why not put the entire contents of all three EPs on the CD? Rather than soundtrack underscore, these tracks are more campy fun designed for listening on vinyl. Sylvia Anderson voices Lady Penelope in ‘Parker’, while David Graham is Parker on ‘Lady Penelope’, followed by the instrumental ‘The Cham-Cham’. ‘Dangerous Game’ compiles various arrangements of the spoof femme fatale ballad cue with a Sylvia Anderson vocal. ‘Let’s Play Ad Lib’ is a standard light jazz instrumental, while the very quirky ‘The Abominable Snowman’ offers vocals from Anderson and Graham.

    The rest of the second CD is a multi-media affair presenting lots of publicity material from 40 years of Thunderbirds. I couldn’t get the multimedia interface to run on my PC, but it was a simple matter to open the CD and examine the contents. This turned out to be 18 PDF files filling 358mb of disc space. The multi-page documents present a wide variety of publicity posters, brochures, video covers, etc. with excellent image quality. In-fact I imagine someone has already built a nice web-site using them.

    Following the previous two Thunderbirds albums already mentioned, plus the scores for Thunderbird 6 and last years new Thunderbirds, this is the fifth Thunderbirds album now available on CD. If you are only going to have one Thunderbirds disc in your collection this is the one to have. It really is great nostalgic fun from the days when TV had tunes you couldn’t get out of your head. Now for someone to release those EPs complete on CD…

    Gary Dalkin


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