Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fandango Soundtrack (Original Score), by Alan Silvestri

Earlier in this blog, I wrote about the make-believe soundtrack to the 1985 Kevin Reynolds film, Fandango, lamenting how an official soundtrack to the cult classic was never released. And the worst part about that musical tragedy wasn’t even the non-curated classic rock-and-roll tracks included in the film by Cream, Elton John, Carole King, and Classics IV, to name but a few; the worst part of the non-album was the missing score by the remarkable Alan Silvestri. It was a nerdy, movie music fan travesty! But I seem to lead a charmed life, submitting this particular blog post on June 8, 2013, while, unbeknownst to me, this legendary score was being planned for release by Intrada later that very month. (Thanks, powers-that-be!) I’m writing about it, here.

For this CD release, Warner Brothers provided the 2˝ 24-track scoring session master recordings, plus virtually all of the studio and engineering session documentation, allowing for a brand new, crystalline mix of the entire score. Every note Silvestri recorded is included, even though the score as heard in the film clocks-in at less than 15 minutes, due to (reportedly) “much tampering” and replacement of the score with pre-existing music by the film’s talented director. But even the complete score, itself, is brief, running just over 30 minutes: but a sublime journey, those 30 minutes. The composer has a long and successful career scoring films, and some have stated the Fandango score to be his very favorite, and if that’s true, it’s understandable why.

Silvestri’s score is a perfect accouterment to the film, combining geographically relevant elements of Mexican and Country & Western music to classical and mid-1980’s synthesizer licks that both anchor the mood to the time of its release as well as to 1971, the year in which the action of the film is taking place. Silvestri’s score, writ large, sounds like the desert in which it resides cinematically. At once sparse and echoed (“Desert Dream” and “Goodbye Friend”) as well as rich and savory (“Piano Solo” and an alternate version of “Desert Walk”), the Fandango score embodies the coming-of-age journey of Gardner, Waggener, Hicks, Dorman, and the mostly-unconscious, Lester. If I were even nerdier than I am already, I’d no doubt find a way to dub my own version of the film using Silvestri’s full score.

The CD contains three bonus tracks, “Spanish Guitar,” “Wild Percussion,” and “Desert Walk,” all of which fit the overall tone of the film and, in a different set of circumstances, could have easily found their ways into the film. But it wasn’t meant to be. But now that I finally have this treasured score in my hot little hands, I’ve taken the liberty to curate what is, for me, the penultimate soundtrack (including the unused, but no less revelatory *bonus tracks) to Reynold’s first (and best?) film, Fandango:

“Badge,” Cream
“Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting,” Elton John
“Road Trip,” Alan Silvestri *
“Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio,” Los Lobos
“It's Too Late,” Carole King
“Spanish Guitar (Duet),” Alan Silvestri *
“Spooky,” Classics IV
“Grave Stone,” Alan Silvestri
“Desert Dream,” Alan Silvestri
“Smooth Talk,” Alan Silvestri
“Fandango (Piano Solo),” Alan Silvestri
“Desert Walk,” Alan Silvestri
“Born To Be Wild,” Steppenwolf
“Taking Off,” Milton Brown And The Brownies
“September Fifteenth,” Pat Metheny And Lyle Mays
“It's For You,” Pat Metheny And Lyle Mays
“Farmer's Trust,” Pat Metheny
“Goodbye Friend,” Alan Silvestri
“Can't Find My Way Home,” Blind Faith

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