Various Artists

The Thriller Memorandum

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"24 Cracking Shots of Leather Armchair Mood Swingers Inspired By the World of International Espionage," recorded between 1962-72. If you've got any interest in '60s spy movie soundtracks beyond a James Bond/John Barry collection, consider this compilation essential. Mostly instrumental (with the occasional vocal thrown in), it's got the immaculate production, blaring horns, snappy adventure riffs, twangy guitars, and thick throbbing bass riffs that are the genre's most compelling trademarks. A bunch of leading British orchestrators contribute a track or two, including John Schroeder, Tony Hatch, David Lloyd, Mike Hurst, David Whittaker, and Mark Hurst. While instrumentals like David Lloyd's "Live & Let Die" and Ken Woodman's "Twelve By Two" are standouts, the highlight is the dramatic, sultry rendering of "The Silencers" by Patti Seymour, who delivers the silly innuendo-laden lyrics with the fire of early Lulu at her gutsiest. Intelligently assembled '60s spy music compilations are surprisingly thin on the ground, making this CD, complete with informative liner notes, all the more valuable. Incidentally, this includes the original 45 version of the theme to "The Saint," by Edwin Astley.

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