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Svegliati e Uccidi
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Dagored / 2006 / 32:52

Svegliati e Uccidi is a crime drama made in 1966 by director Carlo Lizzani.  Beyond that, I don’t know much about it, but can report that it was given a “16” certification in West Germany.  Of course, I know it from Ennio Morricone’s music.  It’s often said by smug-looking people that it’s impossible to appreciate film music when you haven’t seen the film.  If that were the case, then 95% of the CDs on my (vast) Morricone shelf would be unappreciated.  It is not hard to appreciate this score, which begins with a brilliant song “Una stanza vuota” sung (in Italian, of course) by Lisa Gastoni.  It’s dark and powerful but lustfully alluring, a wonderful piece of mid-1960s Europop that oozes cool.  There’s a gorgeous guitar solo version of the piece later on the album.

There are a couple of wonderful themes in the score itself.  “Un uomo solo” is, as its name suggests, a great “lonely guy” theme, a melody being passed between various soloists which is full of a kind of macho determination but with a hint of smoky romance too, always accompanied by a little bass guitar riff.  The score’s main theme itself is a real gem, one of the stars of the show, a frantic explosion of brass with some gunfire sound effects that work brilliantly in adding to thrills.  It appears in closely-related form in several tracks – the distinctive vocals which accompany “La prima vittima” are prime Morricone, “Svegliati e uccidi” itself the purest expression of violent action, the reprise of the stylish piano effect from the opening song brilliantly contrasting with the electric guitar and frenzied brass.  Perhaps best of all is “Una troma a Dallas”, with a dynamic trumpet solo, pounding piano, great 60s Hammond organ and choir added to the action mix.  It’s such a wonderful track, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Quentin Tarantino uses it in a film.  Add in a nice piece of source music – “Sul lago di Lugano” – and you’re left with a fantastic album, one of the best of Morricone’s crime thriller scores of the period, which should appeal to fans of scores like Citta Violenta and Revolver (and in my experience the only people who are not fans of Citta Violenta and Revolver are people who have never heard them).  Dagored put out this 33-minute album in 2006, also available as a download; GDM released an extension, featuring numerous alternative versions of tracks already released, in 2012.

Rating: **** 1/2

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