Blazing Saddles

John Morris

 
" Hey! The sheriff's a nig... [church bell tolls] "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the limited release

Of all the comedies director Mel Brooks wrote, none was so belovedly hated like Blazing Saddles. Unheard of at the time, the racial foul disgusting humour wasn't that appreciated by the executives of Warner Brothers, but audiences saw the potential of the director's wit more when it first premiered. Now Blazing Saddles stands as one of the director's most humorous movies ever, placed even before his Young Frankenstein movie in the top 100-list of biggest comedy movies ever.

Trusty Mel Brooks composer John Morris was always on board early on to spoof the comedy with a more serious note. For Blazing Saddles, Morris had the opportunity to compose several melodies for several songs. Two of those melodies would become the two main songs of the movie. The main song Blazing Saddles (performed by Frankie Lane) would become the tribute to other Western songs while the other song became a funny ballad for the town itself, resulting in a vulgar finale.

The main title song appears in "Signature / Main Title" and surely is a great classic song. It was nominated for on Oscar in 1974. The other ballad "Ballad of Rock Ridge" is funny due to the wonderful change from soft to dangerous, and due to the foul humor in the witty lyrics. Both tunes will appear as dominant underscore for the entire film, and while both tunes appear in numerous variations, it is somewhat sad that only these tunes dominate almost the entire musical score.

The main theme in "Hoop-Dee-Doo", through harmonica in "Wagon Train Flashback" and "Bart Returns", the more feisty "A New Rock Ridge" and "Voodoo you Do / The Big Fight / The French Mistake" and the choral supported "Noble Farewell / Finale", the theme is all over the place. The ballad appears less, for instance in "Alky 1-2-3 / Ballad of Rock Ridge / Desperado Registration / Night Camp Tent". The only notable exception is "Mongo", a dangerous new motif for the bad guy (which sounds an awfully lot like the Dark Helmet theme of Spaceballs). The comical song "I'm Tired", the gay tune "The French Mistake" and the spoof "I get a Kick out of You" are the amusing other tunes in the movie.

Considering Blazing Saddles holds so little thematic material, it is no wonder numerous bonus cues (and mere instrumental versions) must make the score appear bigger than it in fact is. The bonus cues are always nice to have but considering they only churn out the same tunes, they are hardly necessary.

This makes Blazing Saddles a somewhat difficult purchase to warrant. While the 2 main songs (and themes) are so fun to hear after all this time, they also make for the only memorable thematic material of the entire album. And hearing so many variations in so little time is not something I want to repeat time and time again. For that his more inventive and rousing Spaceballs is so much more fun to discover. And considering it comes from the same label, you might want to check that one out instead.

Tracklisting

1. Signature / Main Title * (2.33)
2. Ballad of Rock Ridge (2.08)
3. April in Paris (1.06)
4. Hoop-Dee-Doo (0.41)
5. Wagon Train Flashback (1.09)
6. Transitions (0.25)
7. Mongo (0.35)
8. Merrily We Roll Along (0.10)
9. I'm Tired ** (5.29)
10. Bart Returns (0.56)
11. Alky 1-2-3 / Ballad of Rock Ridge (sad) / Desperado Registration / Night Camp Tent (1.37)
12. A New Rock Ridge (0.55)
13. Voodoo You Do / The Big Fight / The French Mistake (1.47)
14. The Studio Fight / Graumann's (2.17)
15. Noble Farewell / Finale (2.41)

Bonus Tracks
16. Signature / Main Title (instrumental / choral version) (2.33)
17. Ballad of Rock Ridge (instrumental) (2.02)
18. I'm Tired (instrumental) (5.13)
19. The French Mistake (instrumental) (0.14)
20. Finale (instrumental) (1.58)
21. I Get a Kick out of You (performed by Cleavon Little) (0.37)
22. Hail to the Chief (0.11)
23. Sprightime for Hitler (0.12)
24. Bar Source (0.39)
25. The French Mistake (extended album version) (0.33)
26. Signature / Main Title (instrumental solo version performed by Frankie Lane) (2.40)

* Performed by Frankie Laine
** Performed by Madeline Kahn

Total Length: 41.31
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 7 votes - average 2.5/5)

Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1072 (limited release 2008)

Conducted by

John Morris

Orchestrations by

John Morris & Jonathan Tunick