Music Reviews

Best of the West

MGM Soundtracks Presents Great Western Movie Themes

Rykodisc

Need a dose of Hollywood Western music in your life? And since when has Hollywood made a good western lately? The last good one was The Outlaw Josey Wales, which isn’t featured here, but the main title to Hang ‘Em High, another great Clint Eastwood western is. Burt Lancaster gets his licks in on (the original) The Unforgiven and The Scalpuhunters. And of course, what MGM collection would leave out the opening to Return of the Magnificent Seven? Put this on and you’re transported back to Hollywood’s Old West, where life was cheap and women, well, they looked like women!

But by far, the most magnificent track was Jerome Moross’ main title to The Big Country one of the best westerns of the 1950s, starring Gregory Peck, Burl Ives, Chuck Connors, and some dude named Charlton Heston. Directed by William Wyler (he did something called Ben Hur), this may be, according to Gregory Peck, “the first pacifist western.”

Regardless, this is great, great driving music, perfect for long trips, too. Rykodisc, Shetland Park, 27 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970; http://www.rykodisc.com


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