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Joe 90

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Album Review

Annotator Ralph Titterton acknowledges at the outset that the '60s British marionette children's series Joe 90 "was not the commercial success of the [producer] Gerry Anderson series that preceded it," and that may help explain why Reynold da Silva's Silva Screen Records, in coming out with soundtrack versions of such other Anderson series as Thunderbirds, overlooked it for some time. But, like the other series, it employed Barry Gray as composer, and programs do not succeed or fail because of their music. Gray's work, collected here in more than 78 minutes of cues, is perfectly adequate, if not inspired. Gray is an eclectic who has no problem writing generic music for a chase scene or a thrilling climax, but who likes to throw in a lot of musical flavors. His main theme, with a twangy guitar leading the way, is very much of its late-'60s era, but he will also introduce any one of a number of unusual instruments — banjo, Spanish guitar, accordion — to change the sound of his music. And he uses quotes from the American and French national anthems as well as "The Volga Boatmen" to set the geography of his scenes. At other times, he will provide music in various styles, from classical to country. This is not great writing, but it no doubt worked well when applied to the adventures of the nine-year-old title character who roamed the world having science fiction/spy adventures.


Born: 1908

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '60s

The name Barry Gray may not mean much to the population at large, but a mention of some of the television series that he scored -- Fireball XL5, Supercar, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Thunderbirds, UFO, Space: 1999 -- will evoke instant recognition for those of a certain age (whether baby boomers or beyond). Although he was engaged in the writing of music for all manner of television programs and even a few feature films scattered between them, Gray inadvertently provided the "soundtrack"...
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