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HEAR THE ORIGINAL RADIO SPOT PROMOTION HERE
The Liberation of L B Jones (1969) was German born director, William Wyler’s last project. His forty-five year illustrious career had generated twelve Oscar™ nominations for Best Director, winning three for Mrs Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives and the epic Ben-Hur.
Considering his three preceding films to L B Jones; Terrance Stamp inThe Collector, Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million and Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl, the choice of a story exposing the deep racism and violence of the USA’s Southern state of Tennessee was hardly ground breaking in the wake of sixties films like In the Heat of the Night and To Kill a Mockingbird.
The main story revolves around a black, rich, but old undertaker, Lord Byron Jones, played by Roscoe Lee Brown who wants a divorce from his younger siren of
a wife, Emma, played by Lola Falana.
The film requires and contains very little score as it made up of a series of intensive dialog scenes. Elmer Bernstein is credited with the score, but the few “soundtrack” cues contained in the film are short and not particularly listenable without their action images.
However, Elmer Bernstein wrote some wonderful “source” music which is used in three bar scenes emanating from the jukebox and as the music over the opening and closing credits. This source music that is released here as the film’s score makes up the cues on this LIMITED EDITION album.
While many of his scores contain a passing nod to jazz roots, this music for L B Jones is firmly from jazz / disco / funk stock and provides refreshing up-beat tracks that deserve snatching from obscurity. Lola Falana, discovered by Sammy Davis Jr, had a varied career as a dancer, singer, actress (she learnt Italian to star in spaghetti westerns) and even posed for Playboy magazine. She toured with Sammy Davis Jr and had a hit show in Las Vegas. She was nominated for a Golden Globe™ for her part in L B Jones. A bonus track included on this album (not featured in the film), ‘There’s A Man Out There Somewhere’, sung by Lola Falana became a minor hit in 1975.
To complement the exceptional tracks from L B Jones, the disc also contains a selection of Elmer Bernstein jazz / big brass themes that exhibit the composer’s love and expertise of flamboyant and bold music. The Rat Race (1960) stars Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds in a New York romantic Comedy. The 1987 TV comedy series Take Five starring George Segal was cancelled after only two episodes but leaves a frenetic Bernstein theme. The Joan Crawford thriller Sudden Fear (1952) supplies an exciting saxophone solo in ‘Radio Hysteria’. The theme for the TV newspaper drama Saints & Sinner (1962) is busy with a bongo drum emphasis. The final two tracks are better known Bernstein jazz themes:
Man with the Golden Gun (1955) and Walk on the Wild Side (1962).
Notes excerpted from liner notes by Andrew Keech
(C) Harkit Records