Various Artists

Western Film Themes: The Essential Album

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This mammoth two-disc set from Metro Doubles is generous, expansive, and mostly irrelevant. The 40 tracks that populate Western Film Themes: The Essential Album cover a lot of ground, and the always reliable Prague Philharmonic Orchestra does its best to replicate the majesty of the Old West on both the small screen ("Bonanza," "Wagon Train," "Lone Ranger") and the big screen ("Once Upon a Time in the West," "Silverado," "Hang 'Em High"), but these are not the original recordings. Had the packaging featured that fact more prominently (not just in small red print on the back cover), then this would be a fine and competent rendering of classic Westerns themes instead of a whole lot of snake oil.

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