Various Artists

Funky Soundtracks, Vol. 3

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This collection of soundtrack music walks through the same neighborhoods as previous Funky Soundtrack collections, but checks out some different street corners. The eerie sleaze of New York's 14th Street was captured like never before or after in Taxi Driver, and fans of the film probably don't need to be reminded that the Bernard Hermann soundtrack was one of the main reasons such a chilling effect was created. Souped-up rockabilly can also have a place in the action film genre, a fact that means this particular compilation is especially fun, following up the bleached-out Wayne Cochran with Quincy Jones' theme from Ironside. Of course there is lots of Jones, as is par for the course with this series. Despite his efforts to be the great American composition genius, Jones really seems at his best when hacking out quick bits of exploitative trash. It is really a misuse of that word, since a garbage scavenger would probably die in shock coming across high-powered music such as this, played by chopsy pals of Jones out for vengeance as well as extra cash. Another familiar participant is Lalo Schifrin, who created some of the most interesting scores for action films and television shows. There are also tracks from Roy Budd, Neil Hefti, and even Manfred Mann. An excerpt from The Odd Couple's soundtrack might not be a place one expects to find the funk, but in the post-Sanford and Son era, the situation comedy genre actually did become a stronghold for bass poppers. It is another aspect of that familiar period in wise-ranging musical anarchy beginning in the mid-'60s and drinking deep of the washed-out but still funky '70s. Something or somebody called the Tri-Lateral Committee is responsible for the sequencing and editing, and really deserves the Dirty Harry 45-magnum salute. The album is so well thought out in terms of programming that it almost plays like an extended composition, which if it was would represent one of the greatest musical compositions in history. There are many fantastic performances, however, heard here in a compilation context that actually makes each track sound more interesting than it is. Perhaps some of the material isn't even all that good, so mightily enhanced it is by this faultless production. Forget the "perhaps" part when it comes to Tom Scott's music for Starksy and Hutch.

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