Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)


 
1. Billy (Main Title Theme) 2. Cantina Theme (Workin' for the Law) 3. Billy 1 4. Bunkhouse Theme 5. River Theme 6. Turky Chase 7. Knockin' On Heaven's Door 8. Final Theme 9. Billy 4 10.Billy 7

 

Like many of the soundtracks I review, I don't base my opinions on the quality of the music featured, but rather how much the artist (who's name is listed as the performer) resonates through the songs emulating their particular style. In other words, the music may be good and everything, but a lot of times I can't really tell if it's the artist that's responsible for the songs since there are a lot of instrumentals, interludes, etc.

Such as the case here. This is the soundtrack to the Sam Peckinpah western from the early 1970s. Dylan had been on sort of a "Western" kick for a few years now, so it's not too surprising that he's spearheading this project. Most of the music here is instrumentals with that "old west" feel. A lot of acoustic guitars, harmonicas, pianos, etc. and only a few songs have Dylan actually singing at all. The recording seems a tad crude as well. Careful listening reveals a lot of of studio "noise" in the background and in one song I can even faintly hear someone coughing. Maybe this was par for the course for analog recordings in the early 1970s, and it's not really that much of a distraction.

Many songs seem to be thrown together, and most either have the name "Billy" as the sole title along with a number (Billy 4, Billy 7, etc.) or the word "Theme" at the end of the title (River Theme, Bunkhouse Theme, etc.)

The album does have one obvious classic, and that's the tune Knockin' On Heaven's Door which is presented here in its original form. I only say "original" because this song has the unfortunate distinction of being probably the most overplayed (not necessarily overrated) song in the history of popular music.

Dylan was in the movie as well. Reviews were mixed.


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