Tony Hatch

Hit the Road to Themeland

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Although Tony Hatch might be most famous for producing Petula Clark and the Searchers, he was no stranger to the world of film and television themes prior to this mid-'70s release, having worked as a soundtrack composer in both mediums. This album presents 16 such themes, about half of them written by Hatch himself. Collections of themes, however, don't generally work as good albums, particularly when specially recorded interpretations are used rather than the originals, and when a bunch of them were done for series that have faded from memory. That's the case with this record, which despite some fairly cool period moments drags under the weight of some unmemorable tunes and arrangements. Unavoidably, so much at once starts to feel a little like being trapped in a room where the TV can't be unplugged. All that noted, if cherry-picked quite selectively, there are enjoyable highlights, like "Sportsnight," which jitters with all the drama you'd expect from something likely to lead into athletic events; the wistful string-and-horn-laden "Crossroads," and the sly swingster jazz of "Man Alive." Much of it's on the functional side, however, and no one needed to hear yet more undistinguished renditions of "Song From M*A*S*H," "The Odd Couple," and "Memories of Summer (Love Story Theme)."