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Straight to Hell - Returns
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Here's an expanded version of the soundtrack for this classic cult film, making its worldwide CD debut 17 years after its vinyl equivalent. Critics remain divided about the the movie - which starred a young, pre-Kurt Cobain, pre-Hole Courtney Love! It features otherwise unavailable performances by the late Joe Strummer, Elvis Costello, Pray For Rain and the original lineup of the Pogues with Shane MacGowan (all had acting roles in the film). It features almost twice as much music as the original vinyl album, none of which has been available anywhere prior to its release here! Film buffs may recall that this revered movie also featured Kathy Burke, Dennis Hopper, Grace Jones, Jim Jarmusch and Edward Tudor Pole.
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Not appearing this time are: "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" by The Pogues, and my personal favorite "Money, Guns And Coffee" by Pray For Rain. The track "The Killers" by Pray For Rain ran 2 minutes 55 seconds on the original, but on this new release was shortened to only 2 minutes. This is rather perplexing considering Straight To Hell Returns runs a total of 55 minutes 7 seconds, which would have left room for those other tracks to be included (since CDs can run a total of 79 minutes 59 seconds). I'm deducting a point from my rating of this CD because the missing tracks should have been included!
On the plus side, this new release contains a lot of short instrumental tracks from the film that were not on the original CD release in 1987, as well as some brief dialogue excerpts.
The film was a misunderstood classic, and the soundtrack of spaghetti western-style rock is wonderful: The Pogues, Joe Strummer, Pray For Rain, Zander Schloss, Elvis Costello's MacManus Gang, and even dialogue excerpts from Courtney Love before she was, well, I guess the word is "famous." If you're a fan of any of these artists, you'll love this assortment of songs...those not familiar with the film may not be able to absorb the atmosphere these songs and instrumentals create, so get the film on DVD and you'll appreciate the works of these artists so much more.
The liner notes claim this CD is to be considered the "official" soundtrack, while the first release of it back in 1987 was basically a "souvenir." I enjoy both releases immensely, but since I was listening to those other deleted tracks for nearly 20 years now, it's sad to not hear them this time around!
Just finished listening to the soundtrack loaded into iTunes, with the two missing tracks at the end and the missing Pray for Rain song sounds so out of place with the album! It really sounds like a pop remix of several of the Pray for Rain tunes elsewhere on this CD. I can see why that one was cut. Never noticed it so stringly without the full soundtrack to compare against.
The missing Pogues song turns out to be the same thing. Another pop remix, with a whole lot of audio clips which I assume are from the movie and simply blended with a Pogues riff. I mean the "The Good the Bad & the Ugly" starts with a drum track! then soon inserts electric guitar riffs? When did the Pogues ever use a drum machine and electric guitar? Yes, those two tracks from the original soundtrack don't belong here except as "bonus tracks".
The shortened version of "Killers" also seems to be attributable to only including on this release what was in the film. The version on the 1987 album has a reprise that just repeats the theme for another 58 seconds only to fade away at the end. The version on this CD has a crisp ending, and as such would make a better beggining to a film of this sort. Hard edges. If I were editing the film, I'd use the version on this new CD. The old version may have been "fluffed" for the original music release, as the two missing tracks seem to be.
Other than that, Todd's review sums it up!