Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The British Lion Orchestra aka Les Reed

THE BRITISH LION ORCHESTRA-The Girl On The Motorcycle/Theme From Girl On A Motorcycle (Souvenirs Of Stefan) U.S. Tetragrammaton T-1511 1968

The great Les Reed has a host of film scores under his belt and production tags (The Penny Peeps, Paul & Barry Ryan, Winston G etc) but my favorite will always be the shimmering, funky, kitschy soundtrack to the Alain Delon/Marianne Faithful celluloid turkey "Girl On A Motorcycle". Composed and arranged by Reed it was conducted by Denis Comper and Peter Knight (the latter had previously conducted the classical music on The Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed" LP). The soundtrack LP released on Polydor in the U.K. and was issued in the States on Bill Cosby's fledgling Tetragrammaton label (which he ran with his manager Roy Silver).  However the title theme was never issued as a 7" in the U.K. (or anywhere else for that matter that I am aware of) but here in the U.S. it was released in December 1968 as T-1511 .  Curiously the main title theme was the flip side to the confusingly titled "Theme To Girl On A Motorcycle (Souvenirs Of Stefan)". This track was later covered with lyrics by Dana Gillespie on her rare 1968 US only LP "Foolish Seasons" (London PS 540) and as a schlocky/dreadful 45 by French artist Mirelle Mathieu (which was incidentally produced by Les Reed).

"The Girl On The Motorcycle" is a powerful piece to those of you not familiar with it. Starting off with a revving motorbike and vibes it shifts into a kitschy little groove of Hammond and congas before the horns kick in with an uptempo swing and then it all powers down with strings that sweep in and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. And then its back to the organ and congas like an all night Swinging London party that never wants to stop.

"Souvenirs Of Stefan" is far less interesting.  It's not as uptempo and is more incidental music with it's muted trumpets, harpsichord and "romantic interlude" feel.  Next.

"I'm ready for my close up Mister Cardiff..." Marianne in "Girl On A Motorcycle".

RPM reissued the soundtrack on CD in 1996. Both tracks of this 45 are contained within.

Hear "The Girl On The Motorcycle":

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