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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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SCOTT BRADLEY

Music from the Tex Avery Original Soundtracks

Milan 399 193-2

 

 



1. Cell Bound
2. Little Johnny Jet.
3. TV of Tomorrow
4. Three Little Pups
5. Deputy Droopy
6. Dragalong Droopy

As a young boy on holiday in the Isle of Wight, I discovered a tiny cinema which showed a continuous programme of four cartoons, changing every day - admission price 6d (that means six of the pennies we used in earlier, more innocent days). I soon became familiar with the loony style of the MGM cartoons produced by Tex Avery - a comic genius who filled every cartoon with mad happenings, outrageous characters and ridiculous puns. I also became familiar with the credit titles, which always read "Music: Scott Bradley".

Bradley was staff composer for all MGM animated films, not only supplying the music for Hanna & Barbera's "Tom and Jerry" series but also working with Tex Avery from 1942 to 1957. Scott's music was so eclectic that it is difficult to know how to categorise it - so it fits under "Jazz" as well as anywhere. Much of the music consisted of quotations or pastiches taken from familiar tunes. Because Tex Avery's cartoons moved so fast, the music had to fit an ever-changing scenario, punctuated by frequent bangs, gunshots and other sound effects.

A good example of Scott Bradley's eclectic approach is the music for TV of Tomorrow, which includes much original composition (some of it jazzy, some of it pseudo-classical) as well as bits of such tunes as Yankee Doodle, For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, Lovely Lady, The William Tell Overture, Be My Love and Sweet and Lovely! Some of the soundtracks in this collection (like Little Johnny Jet) include the original voice-overs, which may help listeners to picture the scene for themselves, although the tracks without dialogue allow you to concentrate more on Bradley's marvellous music.

My favourite Tex Avery character was Droopy: the mournful little dog who, despite his apparent weakness and timidity, always outwitted his opponents. This compilation includes two of the very best Droopy soundtracks. Three Little Pups contains the dialogue, including Droopy's morose voice exhorting his brothers to build a house impregnable to the baddie dog-catcher, who speaks with a strong Southern accent. Sadly, the CD only gives listeners the first half of this soundtrack, but you get the whole of Deputy Droopy (without dialogue) which captures the variety of Bradley's score, matching perfectly Tex Avery's surreal but uproarious inventions.

Despite the measly playing-time (35 minutes), this album is a delightful reminder of the genius that was Scott Bradley - and Tex Avery.

Tony Augarde



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