Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Lee HOLDERIDGE The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue (with songs by Lee Holderidge and Richard Sparks) The Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus of London conducted by Lee Holderidge SONIC IMAGES Records SID-8820 [62:24]  


Crotchet (UK)

Lee Holdridge is a master tunesmith, but here his melodies follow the lead of trite & hollow lyrics, succeeding only in demonstrating that the composer inspires easily. A good trait, it is true, but the difference in quality from music to lyrics is huge. Surprisingly, the underscore fares little better. The orchestrations are good, but nonetheless typical. There is nothing to place it alongside Jerry Goldsmith's score for the original.

As for Richard Sparks, he may be a good writer, but his lyrics are utterly useless. When your most inspired text goes, "Butterflies and pretty flowers/Sunny skies and super powers/Silver streams and fluffy kitties/Laser beams and rubbled cities," there are most definitely problems.

The songs boast performances by Al Jarreau, Bobbi Page, Dom DeLuise, Andrew Ducote, Arthur Malet, William H. Macy, Alex Strange, Ralph Macchio, Meshach Taylor, Hyndan Walsh, and Eric Idle. I applaud any effort that uses the actors' own voices for the songs instead of hiring generic 'professional' singers, but the voice direction by Maria Estrada is flimsy. Only Eric Idle cuts through the morass; the other actors and actresses turn in painfully average performances. The Philharmonia Chorus is unfortunately buried in the sound mix.

The album design suitably gears toward children (and the child in all of us!), the two-tone picture disc is cute, and the liner notes are easy reading. Included are the lyric texts, so they can simultaneously offend the eyes as well as the ears. The sound is average. The highlight is hearing how much fun the Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus of London musicians seem to be having at times.

The valiant attempts of those involved should not go unnoticed. It is a pity that, despite those tasks, the parts never meet to create a whole. The result is a mass of mediocrity.


Jeffrey Wheeler


Jeffrey Wheeler

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