Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 December 16 • Monday

It's the 600th Soundtrack of the Week!

We should do something special. A lot of people have wanted there to be more tennis in our soundtrack selections [citation needed]. We can’t bring ourselves to do anything with Match Point or Borg vs. McEnroe though we might reasonably be expected to listen to the Strangers on a Train score someday or perhaps the music from one of the iterations of Prince of Tennis. (I enjoyed the live-action movie).

Have we already done the music for Ace o nerae!? We have covered music from The Bionic Woman. Jaime Sommers was a former tennis pro and the opening credits showed her on the court as well as crushing a tennis ball with her bionic hand.

And we also did another tennis-pro tv show, I Spy, in which international tennis tournaments were the cover for spy Robert Culp’s espionage activity.

But nevertheless the people have spoken [citation needed], and we will respond with Delitto al Circolo del Tennis, whose music is composed by Phil Chilton & Peter L. Smith and performed by The Rage Within (misspelled as The Rage Whitin on the cover).

Rock bands with electric guitars, electric bass, drums and... harpsichord! are a favorite thing of mine. The Rage Within is such a band. And to make it even better, the guitarist likes to play the guitar in a jangly and arpeggiated fashion a lot of the time and will help you remember that "arpeggio" means "harp-like". The keyboard player gets behind some groovy organs too and the band explores several different grooves and handles instrumental and vocal numbers with equal ease.

The main theme is a vocal number, "She’s a Born Loser", whose lyrics don’t stray too far from the title and features a riff shamelessly stolen from "Strawberry Fields Forever".

After that comes a mysterious and atmospheric instrumental track, "Midnight Ride", which intriguely mixes flower power pop baroque ideas with some vaguely Middle Eastern motifs. There are two takes of this, at different tempos and with a much wetter guitar sound on the slower one.

"When all is said and done / What battle have you won? / Do you think that it was right / To wander in the night / Alone without a guide, without direction?" So begins the mellow pop number "Upon Reflection", which gets a lot of mileage out of the 12-string acoustic guitar.

"Willow Tree" has that baroque pop harpsichord and electric guitar thing going on but the lyrics are a little more startling: "Child is to the man / Like a sword is to the hand / It can kill with a single blow". The band plays nicely and there are some reassuring vocal harmonies. A further source of comfort can possibly be found in deciding that the lyrics don’t make much sense.

Things get into almost a soul groove with the sultry "Benedetta’s Theme", an instrumental that blends electric guitar and harpsichord together really well.

Organ kicks off "Someone Took a Picture", a laidback sort-of soul instrumental and then a different organ takes off snarling for the scrappy tune "Lilla".

A vocal version of "Someone Took a Picture" comes next at a brisker tempo and then things pick up a bit more with the sunshine pop vocal number "Father’s Child": "They sent you to school / And you broke all the rules / You know that you want to be free / Looking around / For a hole in the ground / I wonder how good you could be".

"Musik Theme" is a slow brushes-on-snare number with vibes accompanying the electric guitar and a surprisingly chunk electric bass guitar sound. The melody is a bit reminiscent of "A Taste of Honey".

Another laidback jazzier number comes next with "A Real Taste". This time there’s just regular piano in there.

"Taste of Evil" picks up the pace with a kind of moonshine country rock groove and lyrics about the devil’s gun and working hard for the rich man’s land while children starve etc.

The rest of the record explores these themes and creates variations on them or parallels to them as "Romantic Lounge" or "Country Atmosphere" or "Blood Tinted Green Grass" and so on.

There is also a bongo track called "Bongos Suspense". It’s a great record!