Originally the theme song and one cue from this score were issued on a CAM single record back in 1966, The trumpet playing of Michele Lacerenza is well know throughout the Italian film music fraternity, by composers and collectors alike. But it was as a composer that Lacerenza was sadly underused and in many ways underrated. This spaghetti western score like THE WRATH OF GOD also by Lacerenza is a text book example of the style, sound and creative excellence that we associate with the Italian western and its musical soundtrack. I would say that this is probably one of the most entertaining, energetic and stirring spaghetti western scores to be written, and we have to thank Lionel Woodman and his Hillside series for making the entire score accessible for us to savour and enjoy. The compact disc opens with JOHNNYS THEME performed on solo trumpet by the composer. This was also a cue that was included on a number of compilations, including the Japanese 4 volume set THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN ENCYCLOPEDIA. Lacerenza's flawless performance is mesmerising to listen to, the trumpet being supported by organ, slow percussion, strummed guitar and the odd castanet punctuating the proceedings. This is the sound of the Italian western, no doubt of that. The central theme performed here raises its distinguished head within a number of cues, but Lacerenza keeps up the momentum and the interest by arranging it into various permutations, keeping the idea fresh vibrant and above all interesting and entertaining. In many ways the orchestration on the score is not dissimilar to that of SPARA GRINGO SPARA, and it makes one think that maybe the conductor Zito did take a hand in some of the workload, as he also conducted for Romitelli on the aforementioned work. I am also pleased that the song NECKLACE OF PEARLS is included as the last track on the disc, the vocal by Peter Boom, is well worth a listen and a worthy addition to the Italian western songbook. Lacerenza utilises the stock sounds and instrumentation of the Italian Western score within 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO, and every track is a rewarding listening experience, electric guitar, trumpet, racing drums, harmonica, strings and booming percussion laced with strategically placed organ combine throughout to create a score that will be returned to on many occasions. I would describe it as a fusion of a Spaghetti score, and the guitar playing of the Shadows or the Ventures.
Each track should be listened to once, twice even three times, and savoured and digested by the lucky listener, as each time one will hear something within it that is new and worthy of note. This is truly great music from a genre that has yielded a vast collection of awesome themes and scores, Lacerenza's soundtrack is certainly an A lister. Highly recommended, the disc is a limited edition release, just 500 have been pressed, so if you want this you will have to hurry. Attractively packaged, with extremely good sound quality. Its been 42 years coming, has it been worth the wait? Most certainly, available direct from Hillside CD production and also at many online outlets.