Film Music Review
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Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

June 2011  


CD 1: WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT (1965) - music by Burt Bacharach

30 Tracks (Playing Time = 53:13)

Edited and Mastered by Jose Rusillo.

Recorded at Cine Tele Sound Studio, London, England.

music by Lalo Shifrin

37 Tracks (Playing Time = 59:35)

Recording Engineer: John Richards. Recorded at Cine Tele Sound Studio Ltd. London, England. Analog to Digital Masters by John Davis. Restoration Produced by Lukas Kendall.


CD Album produced by Jose M. Benitez and Claudio Fuiano.

Quartet Records QRSCE027

Limited Collector's Edition of 1,000 copies

Rating: ****

This well produced 2 CD set contains both the 1965 and 1969 soundtracks. The better known of the two is WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT. It was so successful that a sequel was released four years later but a soundtrack album was never released for PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT I LOVE YOU.

For anyone who was around in the 1960s, you should remember the catchy pop song, "What's New Pussycat," a huge hit song sung by the powerful voice of Tom Jones. The two songwriters who wrote the song (Burt Bacharach and Hal David) received an Oscar nomination for their work.

Due to the success of this song and film of the same title, there was a sequel four years later with music by Lalo Shifrin.

Both Bacharach and Shifrin were among the hottest film composers working during the 1960s. Bacharach received two Oscars in 1969 for the song, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"( lyrics by the clever wordsmith, Hal David), and also for his short by very enjoyable film score to BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. Shifrin was known especially for such TV themes as "Mission Impossible" and his Oscar-nominated scores for COOL HAND LUKE (1967) and THE FOX (1968).

The first CD has the complete soundtrack for WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT in two forms: the original LP album version (tracks 1-13) and in the film order (tracks 14-30). I purchased the LP when it first was released and was impressed with Bacharach's very sexy and seductive film score.

This film features an all star cast, including Peter O'Toole, Ursula Andress, Paul Prentiss, Romy Schneider, Woody Allen (his film debut), and the hilarious Peter Sellars [shown at left with Capucine].

Besides the hit song, there are a number of appealing cues. One of them, "High Temperature, Low Resistance" (tracks 3 and 15, 1:27), so attracted my interest that I wrote a song with a similar jazz waltz style, titled "Free As The Breeze." Another similarly appealing theme is "Stripping Really Isn't Sexy, Is It? (track 5, 2:12), with a wailing sax and trumpets opening section that leads to a slower, jazz waltz which is such joy that you might wish it went on longer, like I did when I first heard it. Several of the short cues : "School of Anatomy" (track 2) and "A Walk On The Wild Wharf" (track 11) do not appear in the film.

There are also two other very good songs. The very beautiful love theme, "Here I Am," is smoothly sung by the silky-voiced Dionne Warwick, and the incredibly energetic rock song, "My Little Red Book," by Manfred Mann.

The second half of the CD has the score in film order and includes some bonus tracks such as a jazzy instrumental version for the title song (track 16, 0:46) and love theme (track 27, 1:17). The final cue of both versions is "Catch As Catch Can (tracks 13 and 30) and is a delightful theme with a solo electronic organ driving home the conclusion of this fun-filled film.

Having the soundtrack in two separate sequences may seem like too much of a good thing but it isn't if you enjoy this film score as much as I do. You get to hear it twice and don't have to reprogram it on your CD player.

WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT is the epitome of swinging 1960s film music.

On the second CD is PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT I LOVE YOU which doesn't have the same appeal though it is still a very fine score by Lalo Shifrin. The opening song, "Groove Into It," sung by Henry Shed, isn't a very good song and not on the same level as "What's New Pussycat." It sounds like a groovy type of song that isn't very groovy.

The Shifrin score is also presented in two forms: the original 1969 unreleased album (tracks 1-16) and bonus cues (tracks 17-37). As with the Bacharach soundtrack, the Shifrin score features a bunch of shorter cues of 3 minutes or less. Shifrin also offers several of his jazz-rock arrangements of Bacharach's WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT main theme. His first arrangement (track 3) is a clever quoting of the Bacharach theme for solo instruments and another version is the extremely short one (track 8, 0:21), but neither of them appear in the film itself.

Listening to this soundtrack sounds somewhat like familiar music from a TV show but Shifrin is a very talented composer, especially his upbeat jazz-tinged cues.
His music seems somewhat wasted on this film. I have not seen PUSSYCAT, PUSSYCAT I LOVE YOU but from the CD booklet illustrations [one of them shown at left] it looks more like a bad sex comedy with scantily clad young girls.


Offering these two films together makes this release a special one. WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT is the the better of the two but having an unreleased score by Lalo Shifrin is worth having as a bonus.

The colorful CD booklet offers many color illustrations, especially of sexy young girls, and very good track notes by the always reliable Randall D. Larson.

This is a first class release by Quartet Records.

-- Review by Roger L. Hall, 22 June 2011

Comments regarding this review can be sent to:
Film Music Review

Also recommended is this Quartet CD (11 tracks - 33:17) with a wonderful early 1960s jazzy John Barry score:








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