Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad And The Uglydotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the original soundtrack music from legendary spaghetti western master Ennio Morricone. The title song has been a regular part of surfband sets for a long time. It's not surf of course, but this is essentially where spaghetti western the genre was born.
Picks: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Main Title), The Sundown, The Strong, The Desert, The Carriage Of The Spirits, Marcia, The Story Of A Soldier, Marcia Without Hop, The Death Of A Soldier, The Ecstasy Of Gold, The Trio (Main Title)

Track by Track Review


The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Main Title) dotdotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

This is probably Ennio Morricone's most famous soundtrack theme, and more than any other, defined what became the spaghetti western genre. Big kettle drums drama, prominent guitar twang, the whistling, the owl-hoot flute, and those truly signature wah-wah and grunt-chant vocals. It's all here where the sound was born. Pompous, silly, and as melodramatic as the film itself, with it's ultra close-ups and scowling evil-eye looks. It makes you want to don your serape and sombrero.

Best cover: the Halibuts album Live at Toes Tavern.

The Sundown dotdotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

"The Sundown" rises slowly with drama and suspense. Definitely a scene setter, and based on the main title theme, it's sad and compelling. The acoustic guitar tells a tale of sadness, as do the strings. I think it's on a par with the moodier songs from Richard Rogers' splendid score to Victory At Sea.

The Strong dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

"The Strong" is perhaps less musical and more of a backdrop. Quasi-mariachi horns herald an arrival while the orchestra paints a solemn mood.

The Desert dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Gila monsters are summoned just below vision's resolution as a chill wind blows across the barren sands. Eerie and distant, "The Desert" is no place to be at night.

The Carriage Of The Spirits dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Sad horns and female wails tell a tale of a new dawn's ceremony. Trumpeting in the rising sun, danger seems just a fading aroma in the morning air. Orchestral and dramatic in a quiet way. Illusions to "Taps" and a line from the main title theme close out the song.

Marcia dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

A chorus of whistles remind of courage in the face of hopelessness. Haunting and funeral sad, "Marcia" plays on solitude and forlornning.

The Story Of A Soldier dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Gentle orchestral flow and a male chorus present a proud and moving epitaph to a soldier's life. Moving.

Marcia Without Hop dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

I don't know how it is that Marcia lost Hop, but clearly she's not happy about it. I don't know why, but I'm reminded of "Poor Little Lamb Has Lost His Way." A dirge for sure, with gentle military drums and funeral feelings.

The Death Of A Soldier dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Sadness and loss are coupled with hope and renewal in this simple chorus and orchestra progression. Very effective and moving.

The Ecstasy Of Gold dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Great piano rolls out chords as a sad clarinet plays a mournful run. In some ways, this is like a sad inversion of some of Renaissance's quieter pieces and Stravinsky's "Rite Of Spring." Spaghetti western bells ring. The big orchestral second half is spirit lifting, and again reminds me of Renaissance back in the beginning when Keith Relf (Yardbirds, Armageddon) and his sister Jane Relf (Illusion) were the front line, and Jim McCarty (Yardbirds, Illusion) and Luis Cenamo (Armageddon, Illusion) held down the rhythm. Very powerful.

The Trio (Main Title) dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

This is a sweeping soundscape of picturesque music, moving from acoustic guitar and orchestra with big kettle drums through chorus and swelling orchestral fanfares. Long and epic in nature, "The Trio (Main Title)" captures much about the film.