Wednesday, November 11, 2015

William Friedkin's 'Cruising' film soundtrack to make CD debut

On Nov. 27, the Audio Fidelity label will release the soundtrack to Cruising, the 1980 William Friedkin film starring Al Pacino.
The controversial movie has become an underground cult classic, and the dynamic soundtrack (featuring performances by Willy DeVille, John Hiatt, Rough Trade, The Cripples, Mutiny and The Germs) is making its first-ever appearance on CD in a limited run.
Cruising is about a series of violent New York murders. The victims all frequent clandestine Manhattan leather bars in which gay men gather to dance, drink, do drugs and make pairings while enveloped in an S&M world of leather, boots, whips and chains.
When Friedkin announced plans to set a movie in that milieu, and to film it primarily on location, the New York gay community rose up in protest. Cruising, they said, would present a distorted view of gay life. Upon the film's release, gay activists had public protests against the film. However, critical opinion of it has warmed over the years as the film has been reassessed.
One of the best parts of Cruising is its gritty soundtrack. The film's score was compiled by the late Jack Nitzsche, who was one of the most prolific film orchestrators in Hollywood. Nitzsche was best known for being Phil Spector's arranger, and shared credit as the co-creator of "The Wall of Sound". Jack also worked with Neil Young on Harvest and was a keyboard player on many mid-1960s albums by The Rolling Stones. More recently, Nitzsche was seen in the well-regarded documentary The Wrecking Crew.
Most of the songs on the Cruising soundtrack are a mix of rock, glam and disco music. The tracks complement the time period and setting extremely well and offer a glimpse of an un-idealized 70's scene. While the music included is not the feverish disco that has come to stereotype gay musical tastes, there is some serious dance floor stomping here in addition to several raw and spirited tracks by various punk, funk, rock, pop and soul artists.
Nitzsche was excited about working with the proto punk Germs as well as Willy DeVille and as a result of this record went on to produce some of their best material including three Willy DeVille albums beginning in the late 1970s: Cabretta (1977), Return to Magenta (1978), and Coup de Grâce (1981). Nitzsche said that DeVille was the best singer he had ever worked with and that talent is on display in this original motion picture soundtrack.
Track listing:
1) Willy DeVille - Heat Of The Moment
2) The Cripples - Loneliness
3) John Hiatt - Spy Boy
4) Madelynn Von Ritz - When I Close My Eyes I See Blood
5) Mutiny - Lump
6) Rough Trade - Shakedown
7) Willy DeVille - Pullin' My String
8) Germs - Lions Share
9) The Cripples - Hypnotize
10) Willy DeVille - It's So Easy
Produced by Jack Nitzsche
Mastered for this SACD by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
Every leather-styled package includes a 12-page booklet with complete credits and dramatic photo stills from the movie.

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