Review: The score for 1989's Casualties of War - a Vietnam War flick starring Michael J Fox and Sean Penn - is not one of Ennio Morricone's better-known soundtracks. Even so, it's still a masterful work, as this reissue proves. In typical Morricone fashion, there are moments of poignant reflection (all sweeping strings, twittering flutes and melancholic motifs), tension-filled themes, subtle looks towards to the composer's spaghetti western-era work, and driving, forceful and grandiose compositions where you can almost smell the napalm. In keeping with the film's setting, there are occasional nods towards traditional Vietnamese music, though these tend to provide aural colour amongst the cinematic orchestration and lilting strings.
Review: Champion sound! Sampled over 500 times but still funkier than a sleepover at Kanye's, The Mohawks "The Champ" enjoys gold status for this limited Record Store Day special. Flip for the instant horn-heaved call to arms "Sound Of The Witchdoctor". Fresh from 68, and still as bewitching... You might call this a magnificent 7" (not sorry)
Review: A serious RSD reissue here as Music On Vinyl reanimate the cult afro-funk's one and only 45" on Pye sub-label Dawn. Emphatic, layered, energetic and dizzying - just like their albums Afreaka and Roots & Offshoots - each cut is bewilderingly funky and soulful experience. The lead track is one of the best Screamin' Jay Hawkins covers ever pressed to wax, "Message To Mankind" tips a nod to the Tamla school of thought with a belting yearn for better times while "Fuzs Oriental Blues" is just a straight up savage blues jam with some firing Afro twists towards the finale. Stone cold; this one won't hang around for long.
David Bowie/The Rebels - "Revolutionary Song" (4:42)
Marlene Dietrich - "Just A Gigolo" (3:34)
Review: Here's something to get Bowie fans hot under the collar: a first worldwide pressing of the Thin White Duke's "Revolutionary Song", his only contribution to the soundtrack of 1978 West German flick "Just A Gigolo", in which he also starred alongside silver screen legend Marlene Dietrich. The song was recorded with a local band of musicians hastily dubbed "The Rebels" and sees Bowie in classic crooner mode, adding his distinctive vocals to a jangly, largely acoustic number that's effectively a folksy take on waltz. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy one of Marlene Dietrich's last ever recordings: an atmospheric cover of 1930s cabaret standard "Just A Gigolo" which ended up being the movie's title track.