Happy Halloween Dear Sorry Staters. What’s up? Before I scribble a few words for my staff pick this week, let us take a moment to acknowledge the fact that we now live in a world where Liverpool Football Club beat Manchester United five nil at Old Trafford. An absolute horror story for them and one of the greatest wins for us, and we have plenty of memorable victories to choose from. Non sport fans can shrug their shoulders in indifference and the rest of you I encourage to google the game and enjoy the multiple highlights and global reaction.
Okay, moving on. It is Halloween this week and although I am sure my other SSR colleagues are going to pick horror theme records (Rachel) I couldn’t resist jumping in with a selection myself.
I know I have talked about my love of soundtracks previously. I have quite a few, so this week’s pick is plucked from them. Let’s listen to The Vampires Of Dartmoore and their Dracula’s Music Cabinet LP from 1969.
This was a German released record made to cash in on the Horrotica craze of the late 1960s that continued into the early 70s. European cinema was awash with B-Movie titles featuring scantily clad women being pursued by vampires and monsters. Most of these films used stock music library compositions for their soundtracks, although many of the better ones had scores made especially. This record was made by music library session guys for a film that didn’t exist. They are cues and themes for an imagined film. Does it work and is it any good? Kind of. The critics are divided. Some people think the record is utter pants and others have discovered some charm to it and like it. I fall into the latter camp, obviously. So do the good folks at Finders Keepers who prepared this reissue, which I have. Original copies disappeared into the backs of dusty European record shops and the collections of vinyl hounds and are tough to score.
Musically, the record is a kitschy pastiche affair. A cross between a jazzy lounge record, sound effects LP and actual soundtrack. There are some psychedelic touches here and there, but it is far from a Krautrock album, although you can hear similar stuff going on in some of the early Irmin Schmidt soundtracks he did in his early pre-Can and Can days. Who played on the record is not completely certain, but we know the composers and main artistic inspiration came from two dudes, Horst Ackermann and Heribert Thusek, who were active in the German music scene at the time. Oh, and there is a drum break in there too.
The cover is pure horror theatre with white faced, vampire toothed characters and a child looking creepily at the camera. The rear has a vampire chick spreading her cloak wide and looking like a Kiss extra with bad teeth. Great stuff.
I listened to the record a few times this week, and I liked having it playing in the background whilst I worked. It is a quick affair, about thirty-five minutes, so doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. Like I said, not brilliant, not a lost John Carpenter or Morricone score, but fun and appropriate for the season. You can check it out yourself here.
Alright, that’s my lot for you this go around. Have a great Halloween weekend everyone. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be given some of that THC dosed candy that apparently people are giving out. According to Fox News. Not holding out much hope, as in all my years I rarely hear of people giving out free expensive drugs to strangers.