Original Soundtrack

Zachariah [1971]

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    8
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The soundtrack to the film Zachariah is a tough one. Though the James Gang and Doug Kershaw are splashed on the cover along with Country Joe & the Fish, White Lightnin', and the New York Rock Ensemble, it is the music scored and conducted by Jimmie Haskell which takes up seven of the 14 tracks. "Laguna Salad" and "Country Fever" are the two contributions by Joe Walsh and the James Gang, and that's really all the solid rock & roll you're going to get. Doug Kershaw's "Ballad of Job Cain" has him preaching over a fiddle, while Country Joe & the Fish give a nice barroom piano stomp on "We're the Crackers." "All I Need" by Country Joe is a cute little folk tune with mouth harp which follows Jimmy Haskell's loud "William Tell Overture." This version is akin to what Electric Light Orchestra did to "Roll Over Beethoven." If you think the music here is all over the map, well, it is. It almost feels like producer Bill Szymczyk and Jimmie Haskell were vacillating on how far they should go with the country and with the rock, and though they've tempered the mix, it isn't going to be a favorite disc of people who like one style of music over the other. The New York Rock Ensemble deliver a bluesy psychedelia, almost Quicksilver Messenger Service, while White Lightnin's "Shy Ann" is bluegrass. Jimmy Haskell follows the mix with mood music, and a pop conclusion in "Zachariah (End Title)." For collectors of film music, it is a solid effort. However, there's just a small taste for fans of the groups splashed on the front cover. The James Gang at least get to shoot up the joint as their music is the loudest and makes the most impact here, Joe Walsh having fun, as he usually does.

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