I’ve taking to going to Academy records recently and not buying anything. Impressive, eh.

Compilation: 'The Mad, Mad World of Soundtracks' (CD; Motor; 1966-1972)
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Another superior soundtrack compilation. Put together by Frank Jastfelder and Stefan Kassel, this 1997 compilation also includes liner notes in English, with original cover art. The 20 tracks are all pretty fantastic. The compilers choose a mixture of original soundtrack cuts and cover versions of pieces from films. Both work very well, and there are some absolute classics on here, such as Henry Mancini's theme from The Party, complete with a rocking chorus, and Sid Ramin's original 'Stilletto' theme, which features an incredibly catchy and funky organ sound, together with a bare beat.

Particularly effective tracks that are not original versions include the two Chaquito (aka UK arranger John Gregory) cuts, 'The name of the game' and 'It takes a thief', and Maurice Pop's '77 Sunset Strip' (a bouncy version with wordless vocals, sounding completely different from the original). There's also a Paul Desmond version of Hugo Montenegro's 'Lady in Cement', while Montenegro himself takes on Lalo Schifrin's 'The fox', with superb 'Ba-ba' vocals.

There's also some soft-pop style material on here, including Harpers Bizarre ('Malibu U') and The Sandpipers ('beyond the valley of the dolls'). Also very enjoyable is Mark Lindsay's version of Burt Bacharach's 'Something Big'.

Compilation: 'Dig it! The sound of Phase 4 Stereo' (CD; Deram; 1965-1973)
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Compiled by The Karminsky Experience, who were responsible for better-known compilations like 'In-flight Entertainment' and 'Espresso Espresso', this UK-issue disc contains exclusively material from the London Phase 4 label. It makes for fun listening, with most tracks being brassy British easy listening takes on pop hits of the 60s.

Roland Shaw, Claude Denjean and John Keating are among the artists represented. Probably my favorite tracks are the two groovy Ted Heath tracks, 'don't cha hear me calling to ya' and 'spinning wheel', and Ronnie Aldrich's superb twin piano rendition of 'Soulful Strut'. Beyond that, this is pleasant without being outstanding.

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