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High Road to China (Soundtrack) by John Barry

Tracksounds Rating = 8/10

High Road to China (Soundtrack) by John Barry

Composed by John Barry
Orhcestrations by Al Woodbury
Ex.  Producer John J. Alexander III, Producer Ford A. Thaxton.
Promo Released May 2000

Track Title Time Rating Been Down that Road
by Christopher Coleman

Over the decades composer John Barry has established himself as the King of the Super-Romantic Theme.  Finally released after almost two decades have passed, High Road to China, supplies ample evidence as to why.

High Road to China provides many moments of emotion that can be found in a dozen or more of his other scores.  The beauty of Out of Africa, the freedom of Dances with Wolves and the danger of Raise the Titanic are but a few of them.  This 1983 score provides the listener with the trademark, attractive main theme and is repeated many, many times throughout the film and score- another Barry trademark.

The music matches the quality of those scores mentioned above, but what makes High Road to China a difficult score to review is that these same scores, without any problem, could  replace it.  Granted it preceded many of Barry’s better known scores, yet as film music fan’s we are subject to the order of release as we form our impressions and opinions of a score.  The better-late-than-never-release of this score, while appreciated, suffers because most have heard very similar work from Barry in his latter assigments.  This being the case, High Road to China offers less than it would have seventeen years ago.

Collectors who have clamored for this score or for Barry fans who want more of the same consistent work of his, High Road to China will surely satisfy.  The recording is not the crispest one will hear, but given the age of the masters, the  producers have done an adequate job. 

What this particular production does offer, are nine source cues, never before released.  A nice feature, to be sure.  From the Middle-Eastern, Mohamet’s Dance and Waziri, to the Dixie-land influenced, period tracks of Charleston, Love Me Tender, and Swinging at the Riverside, to a concluding harpsichord piece, Allemande from the Bach French Suite Number #5 in G Major, these tracks help to break the “high quality monotony” that sometimes accompanies a typical Barry score.   

The same elements that fans have come appreciate about Barry's music are plentiful in High Road to China.  For John Barry collectors, this release is a must.  At the same time, for those who have a substantial Barry collection and might be waiting for something a little more a-typical from the composer, High Road to China probably won't be the fit they are searching for.

From the Liner Notes

"For HIGH ROAD TO CHINA, John Barry has composed a musical score which combines the excitement and romance of the film with the nostalgic mood of the music of the Twenties.  The musical spectrum covers a potpourri of the gnere referred to now as "sounds" and is truly a musical adventure which enhances the spirit of the picture.

Tom Selleck

1 Main Title/ A Nasty Headache 2:10 ***
2 The Flying Lesson 1:17 ***
3 Look Out Charlie/ A Hurried Exit 2:10 ***
4 Onto Waziri/ Khan 1:27 ***
5 Escape from Waziri/ Even & Struts 3:18 **
6 On to India/ Arrival in Khatmandu/ Souls Approaches 4:25 ****
7 The Dogfight/ Journey to China/ Anymore Surprises/ The General's Cannon 6:11 ***
8 You'll Get Your Money/ One Eye Open 3:06 ***
9 Raid on Chang's Camp/ Finale & End Title 7:20 *
Source Music
10 Mohamet's Dance (Barry) 1:43 **
11 Waziri Source (Barry) 2:57 **
12 Salon Source 0:46 **
13 Charleston 1:27 **
14 Love Me Tender 3:55 **
15 When The Saints Come Marching In 2:14 **
16 Jeanie 2:23 **
17 Mill Stream 2:39 **
18 Revelry 2:12 **
19 Swinging at The Riverside 1:49 **
20 Allemande from the Bach French Suite Number #5 in G Major 3:30 **
  Total Playing Time 57:50    



 Originality 7  

Music Selection


Themes/ Composition


CD Length


Track Order




Final Score

Post your thoughts about High Road to China at The Dominium 

Other reviews:

I've always rather liked Barry's High Road to China; I admit that it's not the greatest Barry score ever written, but it is one of his most wholesomely enjoyable. It has a adventurous spirit that even his Bond scores don't really have, but also has that romantic edge that Barry is always so good at conjuring up.

Jonathan Broxton - Soundtrack Express

John Barry
John Barry

High Road to China (Soundtrack) by John Barry

High Road to China is not exactly a landmark work in Barry's cannon, but is certainly worth seeking out both for fans of his romantic work and his adventure scores, since more than most it combines the two styles very well indeed. It's one of those wonderful, epic action / romance scores that seemed to come along so often in the early eighties but so rarely appear these days.

James Southall - MovieWave


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High Road to China (Soundtrack) by John Barry


All artwork from High Road to China is exclusive property of  (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only.


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