Scores of Scores.

There are few original film scores that I can listen to while I’m washing the dishes, picking up things and putting them in different places (commonly known as tidying), or just sitting in a chair lamenting the fact I haven’t yet done either of the two former tasks.

Furthermore, many scores are too synonymous with their films that it’s hard to listen to them divorced from the moving image. Even Clint Mansell’s score for Requiem for a Dream, a score I like very much (much more than the movie actually), just makes me think of that guy from ’30 Seconds to Mars’ getting his arm cut off, or that girl from Labyrinth doing horrible things in front of businessmen.

This got me thinking about scores that have made their way into my regular iTunes playlist. Initially, the only one I could think of was Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Infact, recently ‘White Lunar’, a collection of their music from Jesse James, The Proposition and most recently The Road, has been racking up a high play count.

Then of course there are others like Curtis Mayfield’s score for Superfly, and practically anything by Jon Brion or Mark Mothersbaugh. Shit, I’m well known for professing my love of the latter’s score for the Playstation One classic Crash Team Racing. There’s also Angelo Badalamenti’s work for David Lynch, RZA’S work for Jarmusch and Tarantino, Joe Hisaishi’s for Miyazaki and Kawai’s for Mamoru Oshii. And what about Gustavo Santolalla’s score for The Motorcycle Diaries. Jesus, I’ve named quite a few really haven’t I?

Oh well, the real reason I bring this all up is to shed some light on a gem of a film and an absolute stunner of a score. It’s possibly my favourite ever although I accept that is a momentous call.

The composer is Bruce Langhorne and the film is Peter Fonda’s elegiac Western The Hired Hand starring Fonda himself and Rushmore Film Society favourite Warren Oates. Hot damn, what a score!  It’s a score that suits the films tone so perfectly it’s a marvel, a goddam marvel. It’s music which makes me feel justified in throwing around Mojo Magazine terms like ‘achingly beautiful’ and even, dare I say it, ‘gorgeous’.

Problem. It is super rare. Between you and me, about the only place you are likely to find this score is in the far margins of P2P or on renegade blogs (not like this one) with those naughty rapidshare links. If anybody out there has this on Vinyl I would do almost anything to get it. Not almost anything in the Jennifer Connelly-Requiem for a Dream way, but almost anything else.

So, to hear it you’ll just have to watch the film I guess.

After trawling youtube I managed to find a son of a gun who’s uploaded the film and below is the hypnotic opening scene with my favourite piece from Bruce Langhorne’s score. I hope you enjoy as much as I do. Also, please let me know of your favourite scores or the ones you think hold up best as everyday long-players. I’d be keen to hear.

And also, just for the hell of it, here’s Stewart Copeland’s “Don’t Box Me In” from Rumblefish. ‘Cause it’s awesome and ’cause Mickey Rourke as Motorcycle Boy is everything I wish I was.


4 thoughts on “Scores of Scores.”

  1. Crash Team Racing had fucking amazing music, especially when you unlocked the making of video that played the music from all of the previous games.

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