Various Artists

Shut It!: Music from the Sweeney

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Although it is little known in the United States, The Sweeney was an English answer to American cop shows like Starsky and Hutch that became wildly popular in the U.K. during the early to late '70s. A key part of the show's charm was its funky soundtrack music, which combined music library instrumentals with material specially commissioned for the show. This music has finally been given a definitive retrospective with Shut It! Music From The Sweeney and the result is a delight for fans of funky music library sounds that overflow with fuzzy guitars, wild analog synth, and plenty of throbbing basslines. Highlights include Harry South's "The Sweeney (Opening Version)," which adds a twist to its brassy jazz sound with some surprisingly hard-rocking electric guitar solos, and Peter Reno's "Contact," which allows a spacy, thick synthesizer lead to take flight over a churning, funky rhythm section. There are also a few cuts that break up the album's overall jazz-funk mood with different textures: the best of these are Johnny Pearson's "Pop March," which undercuts its orchestral march melody with some unexpected hard rock drumming and guitar work, and John O'Brien-Docker's "Freak Out," a fuzzed-out guitar rocker that lives up to its title. Several of the instrumentals are as short as one or two minutes, but this doesn't work against the album because album supervisors Mike Kenwood and Robert Fairclough bridge the shorter pieces with well-chosen dialogue soundbites from the show that enhance the album's gritty feel. The package is rounded out with a surprisingly detailed set of liner notes that give plenty of information on both the show's history and the musicians who supplied its score. All in all, Shut It! Music From The Sweeney is a solid and entertaining collection that is likely to please both lounge buffs and fans of action-oriented 1970s soundtracks.

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