Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 June 30 • Monday

For the 325th Soundtrack of the Week we'll take a look at this Ace Records compilation of spy-movie themes.

It's a nice mix of familiar and unfamiliar songs. I'd already heard John Barry's themes from The Ipcress File and The Quiller Memorandum, but can't imagine tiring of the former. (I'm already tired of the latter.) Henry Mancini's Arabesque is another favorite, and I hadn't head The Ventures' take on it recently.

Some of these have been part of previous Soundtracks of the Week, such as Astrud Gilberto singing Quincy Jones's "Who Needs Forever" from The Deadly Affair (not a very good movie but a great score). We also touched on Earle Hagen's I Spy, though Roland Shaw's version of the theme was unknown to us.

It's amusing to see Goon Show alumnus Ray Ellington singing a duet with Cleo Laine on the theme from the Modesty Blaise movie. (What a missed opportunity that was!)

Sarah Vaughan's vocal version of "The Peter Gunn Theme" is on a whole record of Vaughan doing Mancini, and if we haven't covered it yet we sure will.

I probably won't ever tire of Jerry Goldsmith's theme from Our Man Flint and this rendition by guitarist Billy Strange was new to me. And it's wonderful to hear the great Al Caiola's instrumental of "Secret Agent Man".

The Supremes' theme from Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine was also a new one for me. I need to catch up on my Vincent Price movies, I guess. And I had no idea that Wynton Kelly had recorded a cover of the theme from Burke's Law!

My two favorites are probably Jimmy Smith's recording of the the theme from Where The Spies Are and "Come Spy With Me", Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' theme from the movie of the same name.

One correction to the liner notes: discussing The Ipcress File, the author states that Harry Palmer, the main character from that film, is the only character that Michael Caine played more than once, reprising the role in three subsequent films. Caine has, however, played Alfred Pennyworth in three Batman movies.