Various Artists

Spaghetti Westerns, Vol. 2

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Another two-CD compilation of spaghetti western soundtrack music, equal to the first volume of the series in its breadth and quality. With 63 tracks from 1965-1973, there's so much ground covered that it's doubtful every selection will be to every listener's liking, even if you're a big fan of the form. A lot of these were taken from films that were never released outside of Italy, and indeed over half of the material has never been previously available on recordings. One big plus is the presence of five pieces by Ennio Morricone; "The Hellbenders," his 1966 theme to the movie of the same name, is an especially irresistibly mournful gem. The rest is given over to composers like Luis Bacalov, Piero Paccioni, and Roberto Pregadio, names which are almost unknown in the U.S. It's not just for genre specialists, though. From the unbelievably blunt, poker-faced vocalizations of ham-fisted lyrics to the dramatic orchestral vistas, there's a lot of catchy, funny, and/or just plain beautiful music here, whether you enjoy the films it was used for or not.

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