Vocals by Randy Newman, Steve Martin,
Chevy Chase and Martin Short
Perseverance Reissue PRR054
17 Tracks - Disc Time: 39:17 Grade: B+
"One for each other and all for one....the Three Amigos are we!"
Three Amigos was a comedic attempt by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels to find some success in films as he had done on television with his groundbreaking series. Paired with the briliant comic mind of comedian and star Steve Martin and songwriter and film composer, Randy Newman, they concocted the story of three Hollywood silent movie actors played by the wonderful trio of Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short who star as The Three Amigos, western movie heroes that fight for justice to those who cannot defend themselves. When the trio are fired from their respective studio, they get a telegram with an invitation from the small town of Santa Poco that is being terrorized by a real life bad guy named El Guapo (The Handsome One) (Alfonso Arau) and his merry band of bandits. After realizing that this a real life situation, the trio decide to take on El Guapo and save the town and its people from his tyranny. The film which was a modest hit when it was released in December of 1986, has become a cult comedy staple after endless cable viewings on HBO and best selling videotapes, DVD's and along with a 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray released two years ago.
The film was directed by John Landis, who had scored a few major hits prior to this film with Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, National Lampoon's Animal House, An American Werewolf In London and Spies Like Us, all had something very special in common. That is the work of the late Elmer Bernstein, who had been thriving within the comedy genre for almost a decade to the point when this film was released. Bernstein, who is the master of the Western genre provided a score that did suit the film's straight laced rousing action and let the comedy play off on screen which was aided somewhat by a few of the vocals that Randy Newman wrote and performed in the film by Martin, Chase and Short, which are actually fun and enjoyable songs that include "The Ballad Of The Three Amigos", "My Little Buttercup" and "Blue Shadows On The Trail"
Bernstein score is much like his energetic work on previous scores such as The Magnificent Seven, for which basically this is the take off on and while Bernstein himself had grown seriously tired of the comedy genre by this point, his score is still full of vigor and rousing action demonstrated in the "Main Title" which provides the scores' main theme with a intimate guitar (for the Three Amigos) and nice menacing brass licks for the films' villain El Guapo, (fully expanded in the track "El Guapo"), which get a more urgent and suspenseful reading in a standout tracks "Amigos! Amigos! Amigos!" and "The Return Of The Amigos". Of course, Bernstein does add some of his own rhythmic action to the mix ("The Chase") and a tender finale ("Finale") as the trio bids their farewell to the town of Santa Poco as they can finally live and in peace. "End Credits" is a reprisal of Bernstein's main thematic material from the score which is a great ending to this fun score. After being out of print for several years on CD, Perseverance Reissue has reissued this wonderful album that alot of people missed out on when Collector's Choice went out of business years ago and this newly remastered and well produced album by Robin Esterhammer is one of my favorite reissues of 2012 and with great reason because the music is just so good. Three Amigos! was virtually the last hurrah of Elmer Bernstein's comedy phase but easily one up there with his best comedy scores like Ghostbusters and his last one, Funny Farm as he would do more serious films after that one. This album is a major treat for those that are fans of the film and for those who aren't, this definitely is worth looking into. Definitely recommended.