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Stand By For Action! The Music Of Barry Gray

01/08/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Stand By For Action in the USA - or Buy Stand By For Action in the UK

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pub: Silva Screen Records SILCD1279. 40 tracks minutes. Price: about 9.99 (UK).

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Barry Gray's legacy to the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson TV series was a variety of musical styles and scores over ten series that are instantly recognisable from the opening chords. 'Thunderbirds' alone has the distinction of being an instant favourite even with the British military where it is still performed in its traditional march form when they do public performances. Can you think of any other TV show with such a distinction, let alone a show that was originally intended for children?

This compilation features the opening and ending tracks for all ten series from 'Four Feather Falls' through to the first season of 'Space: 1999' with selected tracks from within each series demonstrating Barry Gray's versatility and how they can stand without the episode to watch.

Each of Barry Gray's tracks are full-bodied, depthy and rather uniquely, don't repeat themselves in anything but dramatic tone. They certainly made the point that futuristic shows don't need anything but quality rather than using peculiar instruments long before John Williams got into doing a similar thing with some obscure 'Star Wars' films.

Picking out favourites from this compilation is tough mostly because they all have something. Even 'Four Feather Falls' and the less well-known 'Secret Service' have something about their music and the Anderson series would not have been as memorable as with it. True respect.

One of the things that really did impressed me was how clean the tracks are. By that I mean if you've acquired any of the tracks as MP3 or WAV tracks that being sourced from, shall we say, elsewhere then the lower harmonics are removed in the transfer. Here they are in all their glory bringing the body back into the music.

The ten page notes accompanying this CD make mention of a 'Supercar/Fireball XL5' compilation and 'Stingray' CDs in the works. It's a shame a similar consideration isn't being made for 'UFO' as the extra three superb tracks included here are probably the only way you're going to hear them.

Then again, the same could be said for all the Century 21 33 1/3" audio albums as well as I'm sure the younger generations would find them as fascinating as the DVD versions, more so as a couple of these weren't done on TV. If I have to be critical of anything with the notes is that as useful is the information about the TV series, it would have been handy to have included a brief biography of Barry Gray himself here.

If you haven't got any of the other CD compositions of Barry Gray yet, get this one as the taster to try the rest.

GF Willmetts

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