Lalo Schifin, Music From Mission Impossible, Dot DLP-25831, 1967
This is a real TV Soundtrack. Unlike the fleshed out Jazz songs from the similar I Spy, the Mission Impossible music seems to be mostly incidental or background music. There’s the marvelous theme song for the show of course, but the other tunes were clearly meant to be played underneath a scene from the show where someone is doing a car chase or evading a gunman.
That doesn’t mean it’s bad! The 1967 release date of the record meant that the very 60s instruments like the harpsichord and the sitar are featured through. They are obviously tweaked into a strange mysterious drama sound, but it’s really great background music. Lalo Schifren, despite the German sounding name, is very much an Argentine composer, and he used the influences of Tango and Samba in his long list of Hollywood credits. The Theme From Mission Impossible has just been added to the Grammy Hall Of Fame.
The original owner of this copy of this somewhat rare record, Judy Short, obviously kept her copy flat, which created some pretty strong ring wear. Like most soundtracks, I think this was an impulse purchase and once she grew tired of hearing the theme song, she stopped playing the record. It plays flawlessly, especially on Side Two which may never have been played. This record used to be fairly easy to find, but since Tom Cruise made a film franchise out of it, the original record is disappearing from bargain bins. I didn’t have to think twice about picking up Judy’s record for $2.
Cost: $2, $328 Remaining
Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space, Dot DLP-3794, 1967
This is by far the most expensive record I’ve featured in the nine months I’ve been writing this blog. I got it at a record show in Eugene, Oregon and I was able to talk the seller down from $15 to $12. I’ve gone for a week and not spent $12 on records, so this is a big deal for me. But ooooh, what a record this is. It’s a true cult classic, the subject of a million blog posts already, and I felt that my little column wouldn’t be complete without featuring it. I’ve also never seen one in person, just online, where it trades for much more money. As I write this, there’s a still sealed original copy listed for sale at $799. This one isn’t perfect, but it’s still in it’s 50 year old shrink wrap and it plays great.
The people who buy this record generally don’t but it for the music. Trekkies like to collect anything related to their favorite show and this record is certainly a must for any Star Trek fan. It also didn’t sell well in it’s original run, so there aren’t many on the market. It’s only “logical” that demand will always outstrip supply on this puppy.
But that’s a shame because the music is really, um, far out. The producer and arranger, Charles Graem, later had a fairly big hit with the theme song to the low budget horror soap opera Dark Shadows, and I hear elements of the Graem Sound all through this album. Nimoy seems to be almost an afterthought, he’s not even on every track, but he talk-sings his heart out. I’ve played this one quite a bit in the 10 days I’ve owned it, and it will live long and prosper in my collection.
Cost: $12, $337 Remaining
Billy Vaughn, A Swingin’ Safari, Dot DLP-25458, 1962
Sometimes it’s just nice to return to a simpler era. Like when you could fly to a poor African country and kill a lion. But seriously, like the lion hunt, popular orchestra records are definitely from a bygone era.
Billy Vaughn was one of the biggest band leaders still having hits into the 1960s. But he wasn’t the only one. Ray Conniff, Mitch Miller, Henry Mancini, Lawrence Welk and Bert Kaempfert all had big hits in the 60s. In fact, A Swingin’ Safari was a Kaempfert recording that was a huge hit around the world, except in the US. Vaughn’s re-recording peaked at #13 and the album cracked the top 10. The Beach Boys’ Surfing’ Safari, and the Wipe Out band The Surfaris both worked the freewheeling thought of safari into their music because of this one.
It’s fun bouncy music, and you really can hear the size of the orchestra. There’s tons of big studio echo, and it’s a shame that no one really makes records like this anymore. The good news is, I sometimes think that I’m the only one who feels this way. They’re so cheap, and usually in really great shape that you’ll probably find a lot of them in discount bins and thrift stores. Save some for me, but buy them.
Cost: $2, $470 Remaining