Review: Rio Lobo
3 / 5 Stars
If you think of Western movies, chances are a few of them might just star "The Duke", a.k.a. John Wayne. Wayne became the iconic cowboy, appearing in western after western. He worked with legendary director Howard Hawks five times, the last of which was a film called Rio Lobo. Basically a partial remake combining elements of Hawks's Rio Bravo and El Dorado, Rio Lobo followed the cliché Western storyline of an evil land baron, oppressed townsfolk, the hero and his sidekick, and so on. A "veteran" of the Western movie score, composer Jerry Goldsmith was tapped to provide the lyrical underscore to the film.
From the opening "Main Title", performed entirely on guitar, the lyrical motif sets the groundwork for the rest of the score to follow. In fact, this theme is featured in most of the tracks. Performed with guitar, flute and orchestra (building throughout the cue), "Captured" is a nice example of it's use. A secondary, more heroic fanfare is first heard in "New Arrival", peformed on brass. In "Unexpected Gun", Goldsmith employs some unconventional electronic effects to add some creepiness to the scene.
Amidst all of the soft lyrical music, there is of course, the action music. Tense moments in "Plans / The Raid" build to a point (around the 4:30 mark) that included some wonderful counter percussion and melodic syncopation that reminded me a lot of what Goldsmith would write 20-years later in The Shadow. A frenzy of action and orchestra is heard briefly in "Cordona's Capture", resulting in quite an exciting (but short) cue.
This is a rather enjoyable Goldsmith score, replete with guitar, brass duets, sweeping strings, a harmonica, and interesting percussion. Basically, it's your average Western. The sound quality ranges from mixed to good; some of the cues are in stereo, and the rest are in mono, and there is some noticeable tape hiss every now and then. But don't let that get in the way of your decision whether or not to get this album. Released by Prometheus records, and available at http://www.soundtrackmag.com/, it's really something that most Goldsmith aficionados should consider picking up; for everyone else, it's a coin toss.
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