🎵 AOTW BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID-Burt Bacharach (A&M SP-4227)

Rudy

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Sally was definitely one of Burt's go-to vocalists in the studio - for example, "The Balance Of Nature" from LIVING TOGETHER. It would be an interesting thread to figure out who were the featured vocalists through the years - "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", etc....

Burt's A&M albums came during that transition time when albums went from no credits to full credits. Compare the lengthy list on Futures to that of Reach Out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but IIRC one of the reasons was pressure from the musicians' unions to get the names listed. For LP jacket junkies like myself, I like reading the credits. :agree:

Sadly, the A&M box set has no such credits...
 

Mike Blakesley

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Yeah...that was a big disappointment about that box set for me. I was hoping for some details about how those albums were recorded, personnel, thoughts from Burt on the arrangements, etc. But the liner notes in the booklet barely even mentioned those albums, even though THEY were the reason for the box set!
 

Rudy

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Fabulous info. Thanks Rudy, Chris, and especially John Bähler for filling us in on one of those great mysteries in the A&M world. I've gotten endless questions over the years with guesses that it's Lani Hall on that track.

Now that we know how Bacharach's typical recording sessions went, anyone he used would have been a part of that whole studio scene back then. That and the type of singing is far outside the type of singing Lani would do--she is more of an individual stylist. The group singing not only shows that they perform tightly as an ensemble, we can also tell that this group has history together. Ensemble singing of this caliber isn't a matter of throwing any group of vocalists at a set of microphones and having them go at it, IOW.

Yeah...that was a big disappointment about that box set for me. I was hoping for some details about how those albums were recorded, personnel, thoughts from Burt on the arrangements, etc. But the liner notes in the booklet barely even mentioned those albums, even though THEY were the reason for the box set!

I was glad to get the set just to have it in a clean digital format, and all from the same set of remasterings.

Glad it wasn't released today, or we'd be stuck with getting only crappy MP3 files... :rolleyes:
 

Mike Blakesley

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I watched the Butch Cassidy movie last night and was noticing the use of the music in the film. Today I was looking at the making-of documentary on the Blu-Ray and it has some interesting comments from various people about the music. One of the speakers notes that some of the criticism of the movie was that it had 'too much music' in it....but in reality it has less than 13 minutes of music, and (as noted in this thread) those minutes are clustered into just a handful of spots.

One of the criticisms of the movie was that Burt Bacharach's music doesn't "fit" with the movie, and I'll agree that it seems kind of out of place in a couple of spots, but it still works for some reason. That thought is echoed in the documentary ... even Bacharach himself said something like "I don't know how it works, but it just does." He said they tried all kinds of different lyrics and titles for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (considering that there is no rain falling during that scene in the movie!) but finally picked the one that just seemed to work the best.

One thing that was interesting to me was, the performances and the mixes of some of the music are almost completely different from what you hear on the soundtrack album. The "South American Getaway" sequence has a different vocal mix, and there are a couple of instances of the "Not Goin' Home Anymore" theme that don't appear on the soundtrack album at all... and there are at least 3 songs on the soundtrack album that don't appear in the film!

The end credits of the movie are only about 20 seconds long.... if the film had been made today, they could have used those extra songs over the now-standard 12-minute credit roll.
 

Rudy

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In those days, soundtrack albums were typically different recordings than what went on the actual soundtrack. Henry Mancini might be the best example of that. He was under contract to do three albums per year with RCA. He would usually do one or two soundtrack albums, plus an instrumental or jazz project (or two). For each soundtrack, he had to record all of the music for the film, then create all the arrangements for the album version of the soundtrack. In essence, he was creating maybe five albums' worth of music in his busiest years. That is an incredible amount of music.

The film Breakfast at Tiffany's has some great music, but Intrada released the actual music from the film soundtrack, the recorded cues. It is interesting to hear all of them separated from the film and in contrast to the original RCA soundtrack album. The film cues are rougher versions than what appears on the soundtrack albums--they sound maybe a little unfinished, but they were also not meant to be released as music on a record either.
 

Mike Blakesley

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There is also some music in the background of the "brothel" scene near the beginning of Butch Cassidy that I never noticed before....sounds like some kind of vocal group, very soft in the background. It's a very repetitous melody so maybe there wasn't enough "song" there to make it fit onto the album.

One other interesting note from the documentary - the original title of the screenplay was "The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy." And they originally thought Paul Newman would play the Kid, and Steve McQueen would be Cassidy. There was even a "dispute" about their billing in the title sequence, who should come first...they finally settled upon a deal where in half of the world, Steve would be listed first, and Paul in the other half of the world. (A similar dispute between those two happened during the making of The Towering Inferno several years later.) It was only after McQueen dropped out that they cast Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid, and then they wanted to list Newman's character first in the title so that's when they flopped the two names around. The director, George Roy Hill, said that he never got used to calling it "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
 

Harry

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The problems and the joys that Mike's post has created for me.

On the occasion of Mike's post, I dug out my deluxe LaserDisc box set of BUTCH CASSIDY. I bought it from a video store up north when they were getting rid of LaserDiscs. I've never upgraded the title to DVD or Blu, so LaserDisc it was. It has two extra titles, probably the same ones ported over to BluRay.

So I turned on my old Sony LD player and was greeted with a thunk. Trying to open the player, I was greeted with an even louder machine-gun like rat-a-tat-tat that then caused the machine to shut down.

The machine repeated its noise routine each time I tried. I think it's probably bricked - typical of Sony players to have failed mechanics.

Depressed, I realized that that was my last, functioning LD player, and perhaps it was time to really abandon the format.

But my other two non-functioning players had yet to be tossed, so a double-check was in order.

First, out came the first Sony player that only played one side. But it too had a drawer that wouldn't open.

That left the Pioneer DVD/LD player that I had used up until 2014 when it totally failed to power up.

I connected it, and like magic it powered up and ran. Don't know what happened in 2014, but my LD days aren't yet gone.

But boy does BUTCH CASSIDY look bad...
 

Rudy

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I really need to go through my LDs. There are only a handful that were never reissued on BluRay or DVD. I kept my Pioneer DVL-700 (sold my CLD-D406), but the Sony was a POS pretty much from the day I bought it, and I still don't know why I can't bring myself to toss it. (I was hoping someone would want it for parts, but in years of advertising it, I had no offers.) But the last time I watched an LD was back when I was still using a CRT for a TV, so it's been about 12 years ago since I've had a player hooked up. I have dozens of LDs nobody wants. I don't think even the thrift stores want those anymore.
 

Harry

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Whenever we update to a DVD or Blu, the old LD sells at a yard sale. Cheap- but it sells.
 

Rudy

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Mine are all buried in storage right now. Just another nagging pile of "stuff" we need to purge here.
 

Mike Blakesley

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The BluRay is from a new master -- it looks really good, and has 5.1 sound. (Sorry for all the trouble I caused you, Harry!) :)
 

Harry

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Well, a year later and that old LaserDisc player is once again kaputt, so once again I have no way of watching the LaserDiscs around here. And until today, I'd still not done anything about upgrading BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.

Looking around on Amazon, I spotted a three-fer set that included BUTCH CASSIDY, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. I don't own and haven't seen either of those, so the $9.99 price seemed like a good way to upgrade BUTCH CASSIDY.

Reading up on some reviews of this Blu-ray, I see that it's got a sort of love-hate thing going on with reviewers. Some think it looks bad compared to other Blu-rays, others allow for the age of the film and its natural charms to turn their views positive. I'm sure I'll be fine with it, especially after a quick check to see what it looked like. It's far and away better than the old LaserDisc, that's for sure.

Maybe I'll watch that documentary that's an extra on the disc!
 

Rudy

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I haven't watched a spaghetti western in many years. Ennio Morricone's soundtrack to those films always seem to get raves.
 

tomswift2002

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Well, a year later and that old LaserDisc player is once again kaputt, so once again I have no way of watching the LaserDiscs around here. And until today, I'd still not done anything about upgrading BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.

Looking around on Amazon, I spotted a three-fer set that included BUTCH CASSIDY, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. I don't own and haven't seen either of those, so the $9.99 price seemed like a good way to upgrade BUTCH CASSIDY.

Reading up on some reviews of this Blu-ray, I see that it's got a sort of love-hate thing going on with reviewers. Some think it looks bad compared to other Blu-rays, others allow for the age of the film and its natural charms to turn their views positive. I'm sure I'll be fine with it, especially after a quick check to see what it looked like. It's far and away better than the old LaserDisc, that's for sure.

Maybe I'll watch that documentary that's an extra on the disc!

Fox I find is a mixed bag for older titles on Blu-Ray. Some Remasters look absolutely stunning (1994 “Miracle On 34th Street”/1960’s “Batman” TV show) and others look like they were using Hi-Def masters made in the 1980’s or early-90’s for Japan’s MUSE TV system or MUSE Laserdisc or in some case just upscales of the DVD.


 

Harry

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Moving away from LaserDiscs and back to the wonderful world of BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID soundtrack for a moment, I think we all really love the song "South American Getaway" and now we know who the singers were on the soundtrack album.

Today, I stumbled on this actual live version of the song sung by "The Swingtones" at Joe's Pub in New York City. While they're not 100% "perfect", you gotta give 'em credit for even attempting this wild choral piece.

 
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