Space Cowboys

Original Soundtrack

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Space Cowboys Review

by William Ruhlmann

Clint Eastwood has a reputation for putting together good musical sources for his films, and his song choices for Space Cowboys, the tale of four aging fighter pilots sent into space to prevent a satellite from damaging the earth, maintain his track record well. A fan of both country and jazz, Eastwood has indulged both tastes, assembling a basic backing band consisting of arranger/conductor/pianist Gil Goldstein, organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassists Dennis Irwin and Bill Street, and drummer Bill Stewart; choosing pop songs of various vintages that comment wittily on his protagonists and their situation ("Still Crazy After All These Years," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Take It to the Limit [One More Time]," "Young at Heart," "The Second Time Around"); and matching them to country singers like Willie Nelson and Chad Brock and jazz instrumentalists like Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau. It all works beautifully, off-screen as well as on. Nelson, of course, is a past master at this sort of genre hopping, while the jazzmen find things to do with sometimes unlikely material such as when Mehldau takes on Neil Young's "Old Man." And concluding with the Frank Sinatra/Count Basie recording of "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" is, as Eastwood says, "kind of a no-brainer" that works as well as the other material. This soundtrack album stands on its own and will make a good souvenir for those who have seen the film.

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