Tompall & the Glaser Brothers


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In 1969 Tompall & the Glaser Brothers fulfilled their contract with MGM, and as an incentive to re-sign offered to score the company's newest film, the racially charged drama Tick...Tick...Tick.... The film's producers scrapped the existing soundtrack and replaced it with previously released songs from the Glaser Brothers' back catalog, with the exception of "Theme from Tick...Tick...Tick...," which was written by fellow country outlaw and frequent Tompall collaborator Hoover. Unfairly lumped into the blaxpoitation genre, the film follows a newly elected black sheriff, Jim Brown, and his predecessor, George Kennedy, as they struggle to unite a bigoted and polarized Southern county. Director Ralph Nelson utilizes these songs much in the same way that Mike Nichols built The Graduate around the music of Simon & Garfunkel. Characters chase each other through empty fields and townies bake in the heat of summer on rickety porch swings, all the while propelled by the Glaser Brothers' tight country-folk. Outstanding versions of "All That Keeps Ya Going" -- also by Hoover -- and John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" add a level of amiable compassion to the film that would have buckled under the weight of an orchestral score. However, it's the banjo-fueled title theme that makes this sought-after soundtrack so appealing, as it manages to mix country, soul, and a gospel-tinged chorus into a sepia-toned snapshot of the '60s that is genuinely moving.

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