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Bite the Bullet (Soundtrack) by Alex North

Tracksounds Rating = 5/10

Composed by Alex North
Performed by 
Released by Prometheus Records December 1999

Track Title Time Rating Dodgin' Bullets
by Christopher Coleman

Alex North has given Hollywood some wonderful music  throughout his long composing career:  Spartacus, Viva Zapata, A Streetcar Named Desire.  The Western genre, though, did not seem to bring out the talent he displayed in other films.  Along with Cheyenne Autumn and Man with a Gun, Bite the Bullet fails to make any significant musical mark on the listener.  While Viva Zapata is an all- time great film score and  whose story transpired in the same period as the classic western, the film and score do not fit in the western genre.

The disc is divided into three categories.  Aside from the sixteen tracks of film cues, there are two additional suites:  Mexico Source Music and March Suite. The Mexico Source music section features sub par performances of traditional Spanish song with mediocre vocals, at best, in Ole, Ole, .  The March Suite also offers an average rendition of Stars and Stripes and an accelerated U.S. National Anthem medley.

This disc starts off in average-western-score fashion with its Overture.  The description of this track could be echoed for several others.  It contains all of the music components one would come to expect for a western of the mid-seventies, yet somehow it fails to distinguish itself.  It lacks the boldness and character of a Bernstein western score, or the depth of a Morricone-western piece.

Maybe the most unique track is track 4, Badlands.  It is a bit of a suspenseful track with tuba accents.  At the onset of the track, it is low and rumbling.  The brass and woodwind sections enter shortly and provide an interesting contrast to the lower, darker end of the music.  By the conclusion; however, it rambles into the nondescript style of the Overture, and The Race.

Night Pause (track 7) and Old Timer’s Horse (track 8) provide a relatively nice “pause” for the listener.  Night Pause is a simple guitar melody found in many-a western, but it always works.  So it is with this piece as well as track 10, Respite.  Old Timer’s Horse continues to build on the simplicity of track 7 but adds music for strings and solo trumpet.

Bite the Bullet was produced at the tail end of the Western-film era, the mid-seventies, and it could be that North was looking to avoid copying any of the great western scores that preceded this film.  Actually, it wouldn’t have been too bad of an idea.  Of course, he employs those musical elements that comprise any western-score:  lonely guitars, bristling brass, marching drums, and the like. From that stand point, one could say that it sounds like any other western; however,  North just doesn’t sew them together in such a way that brings more than the slightest bit of intrigue., Considering all of the memorable Western-scores that came before Bite the Bullet and even some of those that were made right around the same time.   

If one is bent on collecting every Western score ever to be released then Bite the Bullet is something to collect, otherwise, there are plenty of other Western scores that will satisfy that portion of your musical appetite.

1 Overture 2:40 **
2 The Foal 2:26 **
3 The Race 1:53 **
4 Badlands 4:39 ***
5 Miss Jones 2:03 **
6 Desert Ride 2:20 **
7 Night Pause 3:05 ***
8 Old Timer's Horse 1:32 ***
9 Fun Ride 2:08 **
10 Respite 2:10 ***
11 Carbo & Luke 2:40 **
12 Sand Dunes 3:47 **
13 Bite the Bullet 2:17 **
14 Final Lap 2:43 **
15 The Winner 2:48 **
16 Clay and the Mexican 2:04 **
17 Prisoners 2:49 **
18 End Title 1:28 **
Mexico Source Music  
19 Ole Ole 1:25 *
20 River Medley 2:44 **
21 Mexican Dance #1 1:22 **
22 The Tooth 0:23 **
23 Xaixoco Xochiti 1:16 **
March Suite  
24 Stars and Stripes 1:54 **
25 National Emblem March 2:12 **
26 Drums & Bugles 1:34 **
27 The Caissons Go Rolling Along 1:11 **
  Total Playing Time 62:33    

Category

Score

 

Themes/ Composition

4  

CD Length

7  

Track Order

5  

Performance

5  

Final Score

5  
         

Other reviews:

Have something to say about this score?  If you would like to contribute please e-mail me your thoughts.  Keep in mind I am limited on space here so I can't publish everyone's comments...but do send them!  Thanks!

Composer Alex North

Composer
Alex North

Bite the Bullet (Soundtrack) by Alex North

Purchase this CD at

www.supercollector.com or www.screenarchives.com

 

All artwork from Bite the Bullet is exclusive property of Prometheus Records (c) 1999.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.