Press Release from Caldera:
Caldera Records is proud to present the original film recording of Roy Budd’s score for the film “Soldier Blue.” Ralph Nelson’s violent western starring Peter Strauss, Candice Bergen and Donald Pleasance, is both an indictment against the US army that was responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre as well as an allegory to the My Lai Massacre.
How the former child-prodigy Roy Budd, the then 22-year old from Croydon, secured the gig for “Soldier Blue” is by now widely known, not least because the composer himself would share the anecdote with great wit in interviews: Upon hearing that the director was looking for a composer to score his upcoming western, Budd supplied him with a tape of his work as a showreel. Unbeknownst to director Ralph Nelson and others involved in hiring the composer, none of the music featured on said showreel was actually composed by Budd. Instead, he had taped compositions by Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin and Henry Mancini.
Unsurprisingly considering the selection, Nelson was convinced Budd was the right choice to score “Soldier Blue.” Budd delivered a memorable, energetic and varied score that can bear comparison with Goldsmith’s, Bernstein’s, Schifrin’s and Mancini’s efforts from the time. It is an astonishing work, especially considering it was composed by a 22-year-old. Its mix of differing musical elements and styles is particularly noteworthy, in that Budd pays homage to the classic Americana of Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein while employing jazz and pop music sensibilities with a strong sense of rhythm. In that sense, “Soldier Blue” is not dissimilar to Quincy Jones’ groundbreaking “MacKenna’s Gold” and Piero Piccioni’s “Minnesota Clay,” which fused symphonic music with jazz as well as pop elements, and thus introduced a new approach to the western genre. It is not surprising that several compositions for “Soldier Blue” were re-recorded in pop arrangements and released on PYE Records, with which label Roy Budd was under contract at the time.
We are delighted to finally make Roy Budd’s original film recording for “Soldier Blue” available. The recording was long considered lost before we unearthed the mono copies from Budd’s estate, in a storage container in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately, a few pieces were missing (such as ‘Fields of Green and Skies of Blue’), while only a short selection was available on a separate stereo tape. We have included those pieces as a bonus. The 53rd CD-release of Caldera Records features a detailed booklet text by Stephan Eicke and elegant artwork by Luis Miguel Rojas. The CD was mastered by Richard Moore and produced by Stephan Eicke and John Elborg.