Ten More Soundtracks from Jason Patrick Woodbury

Ten More Soundtracks from Jason Patrick Woodbury


Though we covered plenty of ground during our lengthy talk about film scores and soundtracks – some might even allege we covered too much ground — there remain a few selections I meant to touch on but didn’t. Adam wisely suggested we take to the Cult Following blog to clear house, so here we go — ten more soundtracks worthy of your consideration and ears.

Popul Vuh – The Werner Herzog Soundtracks (1975-87)


Suppose I’m cheating a bit by including this boxset, which collects the soundtracks to Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Heart of Glass, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Fitzcarraldo, and Cobra Verde, featuring recordings by Florian Fricke and Popul Vuh, but they work so well taken as a whole. Think of the music as a German kosmische musik parallel to Argento’s giallo soundtracks by Goblin. Herzog’s films wouldn’t be the same without Popul Vuh’s mystic drones, shimmering soundscapes, and ecstatic melodies.

The Harder They Come (1972)


A Jamaican crime classic with an incredible soundtrack that helped popularize reggae around the world. Of course star Jimmy Cliff dominates the track list, but you’ve also got really incredible songs like Desmond Dekker’s rude boy anthem “007 (Shanty Town)” and “Johnny Too Bad” by the Slickers, whose album Breakthrough is worth tracking down on its own.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)


Probably the best known of Ennio Morricone’s classics – but still the one I go back to the most. I got into this right around the same time I began to explore the Latin-tinged indie rock of Tucson’s Calexico and the sounds of mariachi and conjunto, truly cinematic sounds that evoke the wideness of the American Southwest and Mexico.

Easy Rider (1969)


Forget about “Born to Be Wild “– it’s pretty good and all, but hardly the best thing on this soundtrack. For me it’s all about
Roger McGuinn’s reading of “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and “Ballad of Easy Rider,” which David Fricke said chronicled “the weary blues and dashed expectations of a decade’s worth of social insurrection.” And there’s more – the incredible Holy Modal Rounders’ selection “If You Want to Be a Bird (Bird Song)” and Jimi and the Electric Prunes and “Don’t Bogart That Joint.” It’s a great counter culture document, evoking the freedom the characters in the film are chasing after.

Midnight Express (1978)


Giorgio Moroder is experiencing something of a comeback lately thanks to his work with Daft Punk and upcoming album, and that’s great because the dude’s a true pioneer and deserving of the attention. His soundtrack for Midnight Express is one of my favorites, and its main theme, “The Chase,” was reincarnated as the theme song to overnight paranormal radio show Coast to Coast A.M. I love how ghostly and distant it sounds transmitted across the A.M. dial. late at night.

For All Mankind (1989)


A selection of cosmic Americana from Brian Eno, Roger Eno, and Daniel Lanois, synced to incredible footage from the Apollo missions. The pop music included, including Sinatra and Merle Haggard is great too, and there’s nothing as cool as the shots of astronaut Stuart A. Roosa enjoying a Buck Owens cassette in outer space.

Jackie Brown (1997)


Tarantino’s movies are usually love letters to the films he loves, and with Jackie Brown he goes so far as to directly quote one, playing Bobby Womack’s incredible “Across 110th Street,” which was the theme to the film of the same name, as he introduces Pam Grier’s character. He wrote the film with the music in mind, featuring the Delfonics’ stunning “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time,” Minnie Riperton, Johnny Cash, the Brothers Johnson, and more, and just like with all his films the songs serve to develop the characters and the world they inhabit.

Performance (1970)


The soundtrack to this Mick Jagger starring film oozes out of the speakers: Randy Newman sounds loose and unhinged, Merry Clayton twists her voice around atmospheric drones from composer Jack Nitzsche (she’s the star of the 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom), Buffy Sainte-Marie does an Eastern raga, the Last Poets contribute a proto rap and Ry Cooder adds country funk slide guitar to most all of it.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)


The tagline reads “It’s a grubby, violent, dangerous world,” and while Peter Yates’ adaptation of George V. Higgins’ 1970 novel is indeed unflinching and tough, George Grusin’s score is funky, nimble, and evocative. It’s a perfect crime soundtrack; play this while driving and you’re going to feel like a seedy gunrunner– if that sort of thing appeals to you.

The Wrestler (2008)


The Boss has contributed songs great songs to Philadelphia and Jerry Maguire, but nothing beats the ballad he wrote for Darren Aronofsky’s 2008 film The Wrestler. Coupled with Clint Mansell’s score, and incidental songs from Guns n’ Roses, Quiet Riot, and Lil’ Wayne heard throughout the film, Springsteen’s song speaks to the bruised beauty of Mickey Rourke’s character.