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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: Nick Buc   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, April 22, 2007, at 2:57 p.m.
• IP Address: donated.filmtracks.com

(The following donated review by Nick Buc was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in April, 2007)

City Slickers II: The Legend Of Curly's Gold: (Marc Shaiman) Well, what can I say? I absolutely love this album! Forget all of Shaiman's recent romantic comedies like Patch Adams or The American President, City Slickers II is a gem. Unlike the first City Slickers score, this second one features almost all of Shaiman's music from the film, with a healthy 50 minutes of pure entertainment packed into one neat little package. With the help of master orchestrators Brad Dechter and Jeff Atmajian (to name just a few), Shaiman manages to capture all the spirit of the early cowboy movie scores we've experienced from the likes of Elmer Bernstein and Ennio Morricone.

"Mitch's Dream" opens the album with grand style; an initial solo for French Horns builds into a full blown performance of the original City Slickers theme, utilizing full orchestra and choir. It ends with a horrific (yet somehow hilarious) burst of dissonant orchestral strikes and Psycho-like strings which will surely wake your neighbors up. Then it's straight into the "Main Title", in my opinion one of the best pieces of music Shaiman has ever written. The non-stop 'cartoon-esque' excitement, combined with all of the movie's main themes, makes for one hell of a ride. Every 10 seconds there is a modulation, a transition into another theme, or simply a whole new orchestral color (Frank Bennett takes the wrap for this one!), and the accuracy of the orchestra is absolutely superb. Every rhythm is spot on, every note is perfect, and every stylistic flavor (whether it be "western", "cartoon" or "hip-hop") is faultless. For the huge finale, Shaiman inserts a full adult choir which adds just the right amount of depth to the main theme. A stunning ending to a superb composition (it's such a wonder that this track has never appeared on any compilation albums).

Track 4 is an interesting cue, combining the effects of harmonica, guitar, shaker, and finally saxophone (in mega sleaze mode!), whilst the following track (7) sees a return to the excitement of the Main Title, and really keeps the album on track. If there's one thing I like about this album it's that none of the tracks are too long. Especially pleasing is the fact that the producers of the album have chosen to avoid the Crimson Tide syndrome, taking any longer cues and dividing them up into shorter ones (using segues where necessary).

Although there are a number of smaller, intimate tracks such as "Oh! Brother", "Real Men" and "Look Who's Bonding Too", which carry the romantic scenes along very nicely, it is the larger cues that really make this album shine. Tracks like "Come and Get Me!" and "The Stampede" demonstrate Shaiman's ability at handling a full symphony orchestra, whilst "Let's Get That Gold!" shows a welcome return to his Sister Act efforts. I still get a huge grin on my face whenever I listen to the performance of the main theme in "The Stampede" - this is cowboy music at its absolute greatest! The only really evil track is "To The Bat Cave!", but in the context of the rest of the score it loses its scary aspect, which is a real shame because it's a great cue.

Track 17 starts off with a spooky woodwind motif that surfaces a few more times throughout the album. It then turns hopeful and for the first time we get a fully romantic version of the main theme, magically enhanced by the choir (this gets me tearful every time). What follows is one of the truly uplifting parts of the score as the orchestra goes through numerous variations of the "cowboy" theme (as I like to call it). However, the music soon turns sinister and we get the same "Bat Cave" type music all over again. Track 18 is a pure romance cue; quiet, peaceful and very pleasant to listen to. But be ready for the end as Shaiman inserts a full-on jazz section with whirling clarinets and funky brass, music that would later resurface in his score for The Out-of-Towners.

Shaiman saves the greatest musical moment for the last track, "Jackpot!". Eerie underscore eventually leads into the "cowboy" motif, played by stomping cellos, heavy brass and beefy piano. Then it's go, go, go as the music builds up more and more, the choir slowly entering for a glorious climax of the film's main themes. Overall, this is a great buy and a real treat for Shaiman fans who haven't heard any of his earlier works. The score works wonders in the film and definitely proves Shaiman to be a serious entry in the Hollywood scoring scene. Fun, fun, fun! ****






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