La-La Land Records
28 Tracks/Disc Time: 78:21
During the 1960's, Westerns were still en vogue after the great success of the classic "The Magnificent Seven" which lead two two more sequels and inspired more entertaining western films of all types that include "Rio Conchos", "100 Rifles", "How The West Was Won", "Hang Em' High", "Once Upon A Time In The West" and the legendary Spaghetti western Dollars trilogy (including "Fistful Of Dollars", "For A Few Dollars More" and "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly") directed by the late Sergio Leone and starring Oscar winner Clint Eastwood. Posing as a hangman, Mace Bishop (James Stewart, "Vertigo") arrives to the town of Valverde, Texas with the intention of freeing a gang of outlaws, including his brother Dee (Dean Martin, "Ocean's 11" and Rat Pack member) from the gallows and take a hostage in the wife named Maria Stoner (the lovely Raquel Welch) of the banker killed during the robbery in which Mace's brother got caught in. As Mace urges his younger brother to give up crime, a relentless Sheriff July Johnson (George Kennedy, "Airport", "Thunderbolt And Lightfoot") and his deputy Bookbinder (Andrew Prine) chase the brothers across the boarder to Mexico. The Bishop brothers soon join forces with Johnson, against a group of Mexican bandits who have no intention of letting any American cowboys live especially where there's money at stake.
During this period, Oscar winning composer Jerry Goldsmith was really becoming the composer in Hollywood thanks to his creative output in both film and television that really made him one of the more sought after composers for every project out there. Thanks to the strong Oscar nominated work in films such as "Freud", "A Patch Of Blue", "The Sand Pebbles", and "Planet Of The Apes" strong work on television with "The Twilight Zone", "Dr.Killdare", and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", Goldsmith could really do no wrong and really didn't for more than four decades. "Bandolero" was the fourth Western that Goldsmith had scored (which included "Rio Conchos", "Hour Of The Gun", and "Lonely Are The Brave" during the decade with "100 Rifles" being the fifth in 1969. Goldsmith found originality (as usual with this film) as usually did with almost every project he would take on during his musical life.
This score starts off with a rather non-traditional Western theme but one with a more contemporary feel in the "Main Title" with a funk, styled guitar and a hip whistling motif that is very 60's while Goldsmith compliments that with a full powerhouse orchestra as featured on rousing tracks such as "Bad News/He’ll Cross It/The Bait", a lengthy and exciting eight minute suite featuring some of Goldsmith's unique instrumentation, "Procession To The Gallows", "The Trap", "Ambushed", "Dee's Proposal" and "A Better Way", that feature Goldsmith at his very best utilizing his solid melodic theme while mixing his trademark Western flavored music giving the tracks a more colorful shading that does make the score a step above the traditional Western score and in particular this one which is somewhat brief, but engaging and very entertaining.
La-La Land's reissue of this fine Western score is long in coming after being out of print for a little more than a decade which had the notoriety of being released soon after Goldsmith's passing. It's not a perfect score, but an entertaining and engaging one that made Goldsmith's music much more than musical wallpaper and totally original. "Bandolero!" is a great example of Goldsmith's commitment and dedication to all of the films and television scores that had graced his music for more than five decades. Very strong thumbs up!