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Machine Gun McCain
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • GDM CD Club / 2010 / 71:46

A Mafia drama released in 1969, Machine Gun McCain starred John Cassavetes as Hank McCain, who rather unwisely decides to raid a Mafia-run casino in Las Vegas with Britt Ekland shortly after being released from a 20-year stint in prison.  Ennio Morricone’s score is centred around the song “The Ballad of Hank McCain”, a somewhat silly affair (sung, I think, by Jackie Lynton, but it’s hard to be sure) which could only be from the 1960s.  Its dramatic lyrics are sung so earnestly (“No-one knows better than McCain, Life’s a dirty game, Very very hard to win, No-one knows better than McCain, How to disregard the pain, Never never let it in” etc).  It’s most entertaining, though not really enough to justify the number of appearances it makes (no fewer than three times on the original 30 minute album, and several more on the extended versions – I think once would probably have been enough).

Much of the album is made up of surprisingly light music.  The gentle jazz of “Defilee” is lovely, bringing to mind similar pieces in some of John Barry’s Bond scores around the time.  “Come Quando Fuori Piove” is a typical piece of light European instrumental pop, a relic of another era but an appealing one.  The dramatic highlight is certainly the actual main title (the third track), a typically explosive piece of orchestral writing from Morricone which I often with he had explored more within the body of the score itself.  I know that this type of light lounge album appeals to a lot of Morricone fans though I think the original half-hour album is perfectly sufficient; more than doubling its length for the most comprehensive issue (from GDM) did it more harm than good, I think.  *** |

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