Last weekend involved a train ride to the beach – much more successful. I’ve been holding off buying CDs, but gave in yesterday.

Compilation: 'Easy Tempo Volume 8' (CD; Right Tempo; 1968-1986)
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This is the latest volume in my collection of this series of Italian soundtrack cuts. Overall, I haven't been quite as bowled over by the earlier volumes as I had hoped. I have volumes 1, 2, and 5 as well as this. All the others are good, and kind of incredible in their way. But I didn't find myself listening to 1 and 2 as much as 5 and 8.

This volume opens with the sublime wordless vocals and strings of 'Autostrada Per Los Angeles'. The next track is almost equally brilliant - sublime strings and a slow samba-style beat are the backing for a series of surprising chord changes in Berto Pisano's 'To Jean'. There are some wordless vocals, too.

The mood varies from spikey, percussive, jazzy grooves ('Rhythm and sex', 'a ciascuno il suo' through smooth bossa nova tracks and relaxed easy listening. There's also some more 70s style fusion jazzy stuff. There are a few vocal tracks, notably the jazzy 'world of the blues' and the fun 'la notte e fatta per rubare' by model Catherine Spaak', which has a nice 60s ye-ye feel.

Probably my favorite track on the disc is 'La famiglia Nicotera' by Piero Piccioni, and astounding, bouncy instrumental with wordless vocals, the kind of early 70s Italian soundtrack piece that sounds almost like it could have been on the last Stereolab album.

1. Autostrada Per Los Angeles - Bruno Nicolai (3:02)
2. To Jean - Berto Pisano (3:09)
3. A Ciascuno il Suo - Luis Bacalov (Rhythm Version) (4:27)
4. Bais des Anges - Walter Rizzati (3:44)
5. L'Italia Vista Dal Cielo - Piero Piccioni (Lombardia) (2:12)
6. Tema Di Barbara - Alberto Baldan Bembo (2:37)
7. World of the Blues - Fred Bongusto (3:12)
8. Mission Danger/Patrol Pursuit - Bruno Nicolai (1:59)
9. La Notte E' Fatta Per... Rubare - Catherine Spaak (2:40)
10. Malizie de Veneri - Gian Piero Reverberi (Seq. 2) (3:01)
11. Vivere Felice - Armando Trovajoli (3:23)
12. Rhythm and Sex - Gianni Ferrio (2:00)
13. Italia Vista Dal Cielo - Piero Piccioni (Beat Pastorale #1) (1:57)
14. Fuga Dall'isola - Alfred Waltzman (2:53)
15. Tema B - Tema B (2:54)
16. Fearing Much - Stefano Torossi (3:42)
17. Step by Step- Gianni Ferrio (2:51)
18. Blues for Alexandra - Romano Mussolini (5:24)
19. Running Fire - Lou Stein (8:36)
20. La Famiglia Nicotera - Piccioni (2:36)
21. Metropoli - Gino Marinacci Ensemble (3:23)

Compilation: 'Cinema De Funk, Volume 3' (CD; Electrostatic; 1968-1976)
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I saw a compilation in this series once, but at $15 or so, I hesitated to buy it, since it seemed to be of only semi-legal origin, and I had a couple of the tracks already. I bought this volume when it turned up at my favorite used store. It turns out to be quite excellent.

1. Avant Soi - Jean-Pierre Bourtayre
2. The Jet Rock - Mike Thedorak
3. Face Up To It Baby - Pat Williams
4. Morning Walk - Arthur Moore
5. The Morning After - Bernard Ebbinghouse
6. Waltz For Caroline - Simon Napier
7. Comin Back - Stu Phillips
8. The Wierdos - Fred Karlin
9. Fuzz - Stanley Myers
10. Freedom School Parade - Elma Berns
11. Mrs Robinson - Joe Scott Orchestra
12. Rockin Chair - Michel Le Grand
13. Lola - Doug Davies
14. Sentries Charge - Al Hirt
15. Transistor Q - Barry Botkin

As you will notice, some of the artist names have been changed, presumeably for legal reasons, but maybe they were just being funny. For example 'Arthur Moore' is Dudley Moore, and I presume that 'Mike Thedorak' and 'Elma Berns' are in fact the more famous composers that they sound like.

Apparently, the compilation originated in Australia. There really isn't a bad track, but In my opinion, the best one is 'Face up to it baby' by Pat Williams, an incredibly groovy little instrumental with a very cool 'Sound Gallery' type feel to it. It's taken from 1968's 'how sweet it is'. It's directly followed by another great one - 'Morning Walk' by Dudley Moore. While very much in the style of his work on 'Bedazzled', this also owes a great deal to Burt Bacharach. 'The morning after' by "Bernard Ebbinghouse" is entertaining mainly because it is a complete pastiche of the Sergio Mendes version of 'mais que nada', while not being quite the same. 'Waltz for Caroline' features some wicked organ that recalls the 'girl on a motorcycle' soundtrack.

Another track that really surprised me was 'Sentries Charge' by Al Hirt, from 'Viva Max'. This one has an incredibly insistent beat and a fuzzy guitar. The trumpet is so over the top that it's really ridiculous, but the whole track retains a catchy feel, with its repetitive tune, which reminds me of Grieg's (and ELO's) 'In the hall of the mountain king'.

This disc is definitely worth picking up if you see it. There are no notes other than a record of which year and film each track is from, but it's great stuff.

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