Preempting the more popular Casino Royale by a year, 1966's The Liquidator spoofs the Bond movies that dominated box offices throughout the decade. And in lieu of Burt Bacharach's at times predictably ribald soundtrack to the former film, arranger and composer Lalo Schifrin keeps things basically straightforward and swinging on The Liquidator. As is the case with John Barry's Bond albums, Schifrin kicks things off with a bravura vocal rendition of the title track, here featuring none other than the brightest of Bond singers, Shirley Bassey (this almost trumps her "Goldfinger" performance). Then, filling out the bulk of the album, he deftly lays down an instrumental mix of crime jazz ("Riviera's Chase"), Getz-issue bossa nova ("Boysie's Bossa Nova"), strings and flute ballads ("Tilt"), and Hammond B-3 boogaloo ("The Bird"). Taking a few cues from Mancini, Ellington, and Bacharach, Schifrin fashions a fetching lounge backdrop here, with enough of the way of original and sophisticated touches to make it worthy of the competition.
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