Disney Soundtracks – Alice In Wonderland

Walt Disney's Alice In Wonderland - All The Songs From The Original Motion  Picture Soundtrack (1962, Vinyl) - Discogs

Greetings, Glancers. Last time we enjoyed Cinderella’s various delights but I don’t have high hopes for this one. I’ve never liked Alice In Wonderland – not the Johnny Depp ones, not the book, and not any other I’ve seen. Which is weird, because I love weird and surreal and maybe everyone being off their nips on drugs. For whatever reason, Alice In Wonderland doesn’t do it for me – it tries to hard, it’s annoying to me. The Disney animation is probably my favourite version though. There’s a whole, steaming, crapload of songs to get through, so lets just get on with it.

Main Titles‘. Ugh, even the soundtrack doesn’t make sense, 12 names for each entry. This is your traditional Disney opening – brass, strings, harps, annoying choral voices. There’s no discernible difference between this intro and all the others.

Pay Attention/In A World Of My Own‘. This is a dreamy, string led piece and starts off rather sweetly. The cat noises are bizarre without having the images. I’ve never liked the vocal performances for Alice in these songs. This is a decent character intro song, but hardly a classic.

I’m Late‘. Fast, whistling, painful grunts. Scratchy vocals. Short.

Curiosity Leads To Trouble/Simple Impassable‘. Foreboding strings pave the way before sudden piano harp weirdness takes over. This is wonderfully experimental, a forerunner to Zappa et al. It then becomes a more traditional string piece – fast paced for a while, then slow, with various interludes. It’s not a piece that makes a lot of sense without the visuals though even if you haven’t seen the movie you can imagine what is happening.

The Sailor’s Hornpipe/The Caucous Race‘. You know the melody. This gets a Disney reworking, along with some other traditional pieces. Eventually the vocals come in, luckily not annoying. It’s a lot better with the visuals and doesn’t stand too well on its own as a song.

How D’Ye Do And Shake Hands/Curious‘ is filled with weird voices and noises. The music is scattershot and fast for the first half, slowing and calming for the second.

The Walrus And The Carpenter‘ continues the weird voices and noises. It sounds like Bugs Bunny. You should know by know that I don’t care for the accents. There are the usual instrumental interludes and the song flies all over the place with pace and timing and tone shifts – works in the movie, terrible as a standalone song.

Old Father William’ is an extension of the above, but only a few seconds long.

Mary Ann!/A Lizard With A Ladder/We’ll Smoke The Blighter Out‘ starts off like a Tom And Jerry cartoon. It’s over the halfway point that the vocals come in, but nothing worth mentioning.

The Garden/All In The Golden Afternoon‘ starts with piano tinkling before strings take control. It is evocative of a pastoral scene even if you haven’t seen the movie. Of course, like most of the track here there are spoken parts and just sheer weirdness which mean you will be unlikely to stick this on in the car. The singing part is okay, the voices are almost annoying, not quite. It ends with a jump scare.

What Genus Are You?‘ is educational and crap – just like school! With that piece of biting social commentary out of the way, we can say more accurately that this is all strings and a little bit of weird trumpet – the movie has some bits about biology. But not the dirty stuff.

A-E-I-O-U (Ray the Caterpillar Song/Who R U?)‘. Ugh, crap on a biscuit, this is taking a long time. This is a weird one, with wonky vocals and some sort of Eastern, mystical horn and percussive stuff going on. I hate to keep saying it, but it doesn’t work without the visuals. After some meandering, we get a spoken part which isn’t as creepy as it should have been.

A Serpent‘ is strings, lots of twiddling, you already know – worthless on its own.

Alone Again/’Twas Brillig/Lose Something‘ is more messed up stuff. The Cheshire Cat does stuff. It’s all pre-psychedelic but not very good. Some bouncy stuff, some tinkling stuff.

The Mad Tea Party/The Unbirthday Song‘ is maybe the most famous one here, but it’s still terribly annoying. The voices and all the high-pitched stuff just isn’t worth your time. Or the bills to fix your ear drums. Great in the movie, bad in any other situation.

The Tulgey Wood‘ at least sounds a little threatening. Bird noises. Strings. Blowpipe stuff, weird noises.

Very Good Advice‘ starts with choral voices that I hoped were gone for good by now. This is what, 15 years since Snow White and choral voices are still a thing. God, how long does that mean we’ll have to cope with Adele for? Alice talks/sings to herself. It’s almost a song.

Whom Did You Expect‘ has some speaking then some strings. It’s over in under a minute.

Painting the Roses Red/March of the Cards‘ has more whistling and diddly dumming. It feels like something the Seven Dwarves would sing. It’s just the same jingle repeated to death with some spoken parts in between. It gets more zany and jazzy towards the end.

Marie the Queen of Hearts/Who’s Been Painting My Roses Red?‘ continues the above, kind of. It’s a slower, stompier version with more shouting.

A Little Girl/Let the Game Begin/I Warn You Child‘. I’m down to single words now. Strings. Honking. Crap.

The Trial/The Unbirthday Song (Reprise)/Rule 42/Off with Her Head/The Caucus Race‘. Six minutes. Noise. Stampede. Bits of other crap to make one almighty crap.

Beyond The Laughing Sky‘ is the first deleted song, so that must mean we’re almost done and I can hibernate once more. This actually sounds like a song, maybe because all the surrounding madness has been removed. Second star. I’m sure this would have been roont had it been included (incloont?)

Dream Caravan‘ is okay. Zoom gally gally sounds like something that I would say. Possibly while hiding in your bushes.

I’m Odd‘ – aren’t we all? Again this is better than anything in the actual movies.

Beware The Jabberwock‘ starts out a little creepy, as it should. It quickly becomes a very standard piece of guff, as if they’re selling cigarettes in a TV ad.

So They Say‘ is a song. There is a clear melody. It’s nice enough, good have been turned into something decent.

If You’ll Believe In Me‘ features characters who didn’t make the final cut. Therefore the song doesn’t make it. It’s average stuff and sounds like something that would have been wrecked by the insanity of the orchestration.

Beautiful Soup‘ is another cut due to cut characters. The melody is nicked but the song comes straight from the book.

Everything Has A Useness‘ is more cigarette selling jingle crap.

Curiosity‘ is a song almost at the end of this post.

‘Humpty Dumpty‘ is almost like you would sing it, but with added piano.

Speak Roughly To Your Little Boy‘ is this time selling pepper.

‘Will You Join The Dance?’ No. No I will not.

After the greatness of Cinderella, this is pure muck. There isn’t a single track worth listening to on its own and while none of the music is particularly good it is certainly experimental, influential, and fits while watching the film. Skip it. Looking on Youtube I found what appeared to be even more deleted songs. My mind is now bereft so I can do no more. Comments etc.

Disney Songs – Cinderella

Cinderella Soundtrack (1950)

Greetings, Glancers! As promised we’re 100% back on familiar ground as Disney hauled its considerable ass out of the trenches of the 1940s and kicked off its second Golden Age with every young girl’s favourite, Cinderella, a tale of automotive pumpkins and foot fetishists. That means we get to listen to at least two songs which have been absorbed into our collective consciousness, and a bunch of other, probably feeble efforts. And look, there’s some lost tracks too! I’m skipping the instrumentals.

‘Main Titles’. Oh, these Main Title songs are always terrible. They’ll be abandoned soon enough. This starts with triumphant horns and the weird ‘Cinderella, you’re as lovely as your name’. First, it’s a pretty horrible name. Secondly, isn’t it a hurtful name too and pretty dirty – Cinders – Cinderella? Somehow the vocals don’t annoy as much as most of the other Main Title efforts and the music is quite sweet – one of the better introductory songs.

‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’. It’s true… a dream is a wish your heart makes. All my dreams are about zombies. Everyone knows this, everyone loves it. It’s one every youtube Disney Princess attempts. It’s still lovely. The arrangement of the original is a little dated but still allow you to drift into fantasy. I could do without the extended introduction and just have the actual song. It’s a classic.

‘Oh Swing Sweet Nightingale’. Damn, I forgot this one and it always gets stuck in my head for hours – the only problem is that it’s the stepsisters’ version which gets stuck. As with any time this happens, the only way to cure myself is to sing it myself – cue nasal, off tune stepsister wailing aye-yae-aye!

‘The Work Song (etc)‘. This collection has some good moments. Gus Gus and co are pretty funny, and even though the vocals are a mixture of a constipated butcher who’s been punted in the testiculars and Alvin and The Chipmunks, they’re still more tolerable than all that 40s choral shite. The main problem with this track is that it’s over nine minutes long and has all the instrumental interludes included – take all that out and you’ve got a better four minutes.

‘Where Did I Put That Thing/Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo’. This is the second classic. If you don’t know Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo then I don’t know what to say to you. It’s nonsense, but every decade or so such a nonsensical song comes around and sells by the gazillion.

‘Reception At The Palace/So This Is Love’. The first part is actually a pretty great piece of music, accentuating the regal and wonder. So This Is Love is a bit of a forgotten classic – everyone’s heard it, but it gets overshadowed by A Dream. It fits well with Cinderella’s dreamy persona, her vocals are good, his are not, and it’s all very lovely again.

I’m In The Middle Of A Muddle’. Can I just reiterate how cool it is that all these extra songs are released so many decades later. How many people have grown up with these movies, thinking they know everything about them, and having them become part of the very fabric of each person, and then BOOM, here’s a song that was cut from the movie. That’s why I love DVDs and the like so much – all the extras which may take five or ten or fifty years to discover – only to make you fall in love again. So, I’ve never heard this. This is a jaunty piano piece, I’ve no idea who is meant to be singing this in the movie, or where it should appear, but it’s pretty good fun. There’s another, jazzier version of it which suggests it is Cinderella singing.

‘I Lost My Heart At The Ball’. Another piano intro and decent vocals. It’s a demo so it’s plain and simple. This is another nice song. Cinderella is a short movie, I’m sure they could have squeezed this in somewhere.

‘The Mouse Song’. Jeepers, these are all good. Not amazing, but good fun. This is more piano led wackiness. Funny lyrics too, it reminds me of Animaniacs.

Sing A Little, Dream A Little’. I’m done, guys, I’m done. As idiots say. Another fine lost song. It’s a wonder they didn’t rework these for a Cinderella re-release or later movie.

Dancing On A Cloud’. Y’all already know. It’s just plain piano and vocals again, but this one is extra fine. I could do with better male vocals though. Maybe the other non-demo version has them… nope.

The Dress That My Mother Wore’. You’re killing me – how many of these are there – there’s more cut songs than songs which actually appeared in the movie. Fine, these demos are all a little samey, but I put that down to them just being demos. This is a bittersweet one which enhances the character of Cinders.

‘The Face That I See In The Night’. This starts with a bloke instead. There’s some female ‘oohing’ in the background. Again, this would have been better with a full version. There is a full version, but it’s contemporary and loses something.

There you go, probably the best Disney soundtrack so far and an unexpected bunch of extra songs which were unexpectedly good. Let us know in the comments what you think of the Cinderella soundtrack and if you have any favourites.

Disney Songs – The Adventures Of Ichabod and Mr Toad

Ichabod & Mr. Toad Soundtrack — JLH Omnimedia

Greetings, Glancers! I mentioned in my last Disney post that we’d be back on familiar ground with this movie. That’s partly true – we don’t have a list of miniature skits here, but it is still a package movie given that it features two separate stories. Moreover, has anyone even watched this movie in the last fifty years or so? So it probably isn’t familiar to most people. There aren’t many songs here either, so this will be a quick post (Qwost?).

Intro Theme‘ is your standard 1940s crap. You already know. Too many voices, terrible singing, no melodies. Lots of jazz. It even has some whistling.

Merrily On Our Way To Nowhere’ is an actual song, thank phuck. It’s not great though, at least it it delivered with panache – the lyrics are basically a list of English towns and counties, and there isn’t much to say about the melodic quality.

Ichabod Crane‘ features someone saying ‘Gadzooks’. The lyrics poke fun at how Ichabod looks, but again there is terrible choral singing and a white page where the melodies should be.

Katrina‘ has some semblance of melody, but it’s too weepy, dreary, and old timey to enjoy. Luckily it’s under two minutes long, like everything else here.

Ballroom Dance‘ sees Ichabod and Katrina dancing while everyone else watches one with jealousy. It has a spoken intro, everything else is spirited, light, and fast instrumental. No singing though.

The Headless Horseman’ is a spooky poem, good for Halloween. This one isn’t to bad, but it’s spoiled by the choral singing. Shocker.

That’s about it. Does the other story even have any songs? I don’t care. We need to get onto the good stuff. Next time, I promise! We’ll be back on track!

 

Disney Songs – Melody Time

Melody Time (1948) Soundtrack OST •

Like the final abdominal clench-and-release while sitting on the John the morning after a night of debauchery and curry, Melody Time marks our final visit to the Disney Package film soundtracks. We close with a whopper though, a film split into seven segments, each with their own song and style. It is a cheaper, more commercially viable Fantasia, but no-one remembers it. There is good and bad, and while the shorts should entertain the kids there won’t be much for adults outside of those curious in the history of the thing.

Melody Time’ is a pretty poor opener – lots of swooning violins and choral ‘do do dos’. Quaint melodies and lyrics sung smoothly – so not my thing in other words.

Once Upon A Wintertime’ is one I’m very familiar with as it features in one of those Mickey Mouse Christmas DVDs my girls have – the animated part that is. The song is less familiar to me as the Mickey DVD updates it to some other song. It’s slow and boring, then becomes grating and annoying, then becomes boring again – melodies are all over the place and most of the vocal performances are painful.

Bumble Boogie‘ starts off fast and furious and builds upwards from there. Lightning fast keys and sudden trumpet blasts keep this one heart and threatening pace. It’s a purely instrumental piece, outside of the spoken word intro, but it’s the best piece so far.

Johnny Appleseed‘ is a short one. Thankfully it isn’t too bad – I mean the singing is weird and sounds a little like Mickey Mouse after his nuts dropped, but it’s over before you know it so it doesn’t have time to hurt or entrance you.

Little Toot‘ sounds like a euphemism for almost any bodily expulsion. Musically, it has a chorus line flavour but reminds me mostly of what I imagine was played into up market department stores in NYC in the 50s. The music and lyrics do sync nicely with the animation – the lyrics basically are the story for the most part. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of variance in the melody or instrumentation, aside from the storm section where the brass and percussion become more prominent. It’s another one where is is difficult to separate the music from the action and listen for its own merits.

‘Trees‘ is another instrumental with spoken element – a simple tribute to a tree. More weepy, awful choral singing which just reminds me of a church dirge. Too slow and sleepy for me, and I can’t past those voices. Once the single voice part comes it is too little too late, but that part is significantly better – still not great though.

Blame It On The Samba‘ starts out with more bad bad bad choral singing. It gets a little better when the pace picks up but the vocals remain shitty throughout. There are long instrumental sections here which work fine on screen but not so well when you’re blasting down the motorway. That organ does rip though – you’ll get some interesting quizzical looks if you blare that part out the car window in a packed town centre.

Pecos Bill’ is pretty funny – I always laugh at the horse’s ‘ya-hoo’. Some amusing lyrics, the vocals are a little better while still falling back on old choral habits, though we do get some yodeling. The song has a brief slow section as Bill wanders through the desert, before picking up again for some questionable lyrical content.

Blue Shadows On The Trail’ closes the soundtrack – another Country/Western song, a soulful ballad taking a wistful look at the old cattle rustlin’ days of yore. It’s another song with would benefit greatly from having one vocal, not all the backing crap. Nice whistling and howls.

As with all these package films there is a variety of musical themes but considering each as a whole there isn’t much to distinguish between them – we have a bunch of interchangeable South American or Country songs which rarely differ from on another. No single song from this, or any of the other package soundtracks, sticks out as a Disney classic or even a good song. Don’t worry though, we’ll be back on more (sort of) familiar, sturdy ground next time around.

Let us know in the comments if you like anything from Melody Time or if you agree with my thoughts!

Disney Songs – Saludos Amigos

Saludosposter

Saluso- Salad ass – que? ‘What the balls is Saludos Amigos’, I hear you bellow. It’s a Disney movie, you ignorant! Yeah, some guy who didn’t like the fact that some other guys were allowed the same rights and freedoms that he was afforded decided to tear up most of the world back in the 1940s. Ha! How we all laugh now, nothing like that could ever happen again because no-one like that would ever rise to power agai- yeah, you see where I’m going with this. Everyone was strapped for cash in those days, even the mighty Disney, and while the rest of the world was being sent to die or being killed in their homes, somebody had to keep making entertainment, albeit on a tighter budget. Step forward the rarely remembered Disney package films – movies which were really a series of existing and/or new shorts, bundled together to keep the kids slightly less terrified of the mess adults make of the world until Uncle Sam and Squinty Old Churchill had sent Mr Hitler off to the Shite Gig In The Dirt (killed him).

Saludos Amigos was the first of these such films, a weird one which clearly panders to South American audiences and attempts to ease frictions, while reminding insular US patriots that those south of the border actually had running water, electricity, and weren’t still herding around in the jungle undergrowth eating each other or whatever. It also has some songs. These ones:

Saludos Amigos‘ opens with dramatic violins but rapidly descends into the usually torrid male vocals of the time singing about friendship, before fading out of sight and mind.

Aquarela do Brasil’ features Donald getting pissed on the local sauce, his hiccups setting the beat. There’s then a bunch of trumpets and samba stuff and singing – if you live in Britain and watched any of the 2012 World Cup, you’ll have heard this song – ‘Brazil! Brazil!’ etc.

Tico-Tico‘ is more hyperactive Samba, with rolling beats and whistles and all the rest. There’s a lot of other instrumental music in the movie, but this one stands out a little more.

Not a lot to say about these then, and only worth another listen if you’re into South American oldies. They’re never going to make anyone’s playlist outside of the most ardent flag-waving Disney cultist but like all of Disney’s stuff it’s worth a one time watch or listen.

Let us know in the comments what you think of this one!

Disney Songs – Bambi

Ba ba ba ba ba Bambiiiii! Well, this is going to be a short one. You know, I maintain that Bambi still has some of, if not the best animated animals ever. There are so many moments in the film that still astonish – the subtle twist of an ear or way an animal walks – all perfect. In the musical department… not so much. Not that you expect a film like this to have memorable songs. Lets go.

Love Is A Song‘ is an Oscar nominated song, but what does it really have to do with the story of Bambi? The vocals are weird and old timey, but the actual melody of the title is memorable. The rest of the song is the usual mix of dreary choral voices and strings that sends me up the wall, across the ceiling, up the chimney, and beyond.

Little April Shower‘ is probably the most obvious stand out song here, mostly because it is so catchy. Even the creepy childish voices singing don’t hurt it much. This is definitely a song to hear a good singer cover. It all gets a bit muddled with the multiple voices coming in, but that suits the scene and what is going on in the movie.

Lets Sing A Gay Little Spring Song‘ deserves one statement only. All together now – WTF!

Looking For Romance‘ is a weird one – more weird semi operatic vocals with blasting strings. I quite like the chorus though, again it would be better with just one voice – a good voice.

So… the Bambi soundtrack is one to skip, at least the songs. Some of the other music is great – especially the music that tells you Man (Jaws) is coming. And the movie itself is fabulous. Can’t win ’em all. Let us know in the comments if there are any favourites here.

Disney Songs – Make Mine Music

Disney's “Make Mine Music” on Records |

Make Mine Music. It sounds like the sort of thing a perverted hipster would say to the local tavern wench:

‘What’ll it be, love?’

<With a tip of his Fedora > ‘Make mine music’ <wink wink>

<He is then inexplicably attacked and devoured by a travelling troupe of warthogs>

If you don’t think that’s apt, then you’re forgetting that this movie actually has a segment about a Fedora. Lets just do this.

Make Mine Music‘ has another early Disney choral voice intro. Lots of violins doing one thing, lots of male and female vocals doing their best ghost impressions.

Blue Bayou‘ is much nicer, but the backing vocals are just as bad as ever. There’s something quite nice and dreamy about it, but in the vast Disney canon it’s not one you’ll remember.

All The Cats Join In’ does sort of have vocals, well hums and grunts and ‘doo di doos’. It’s a bouncy Jass cut by Benny Goodman and co. The real vocals come out in the second half – not quite as bad as the choral stuff, but still not great. It’s pretty funky though.

Without You‘ is a bit of a downer, especially after the previous segment. It has a really great intro though, the first thirty seconds especially, before the violins start in earnest. If you’re a regular here then you already know my feelings about smooth male vocals and all that warbling, crooning stuff. I’m sure a lot of wives and mothers and sons and husbands and kids were having these thoughts in WWII, so this feels like a suitable ballad.

Casey At The Bat‘ has those terrible voices again. Again, with an updated vocal performance this might be okay but I just can’t get past the singing here, it’s just awful. There’s a fast part, and a slow part – both have their moments, but sort out the singing, seriously.

Two Silhouettes‘ is Dinah Shore. Annoying and whining violins blot out the good parts. The melody is inconsequential, but at least the singing is better, even if she does sound half cut and half asleep.

Peter And The Wolf’ has the music you all know, with a recital by Winnie The Pooh himself. He introduces the characters and associated instruments and the story itself. It’s fifteen minutes long.

After You’ve Gone‘ is Benny Goodman again – more fast paced jazz, this time clarinet and piano led. The animation is nuts, and so is the music.

Johnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet’ – I told ya. This one is actually quite sweet. There is a great version out there where the vocals have more character and the music isn’t as grating. It feels like a Christmas song. The Andrews Sister original is a little lighter, not as romantic, and of course has the needless choral sound.

Willie The Operatic Whale’ has not-operatic vocals, just some guy pretending. The performance is still very good, but the song is nonsensical by itself – without the visuals. There isn’t much in the way of melody, though it’s pretty long so some pieces are more melodic than others – ‘mama’s little baby’ for example.

Another forgotten entry in the Disney canon and another bunch of forgettable songs. There isn’t one I would recommend out of this lot, but by all means you should see the movie to get the full experience.

Disney Songs – Dumbo

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You know, I’ve no idea when I first saw Dumbo. I mean, it must have been when I was young but I don’t have any real memories of watching it as a child and as such it’s one of the Disney movies that I’m not overly familiar with. It lacks that important connection – that tie that binds a film to your brain, heart, and soul because you saw it in your youth, regardless of whether or not it is a piece of crap. There’s really only one song I know well from the list below, and it’s not one I like. In my last post I mentioned songs to take with you to the next world – landing on a new planet armed only with the essential cultural artifacts of Planet Earth and sharing them in a non-preachy, non-hostile, non-colonial manner with the…. natives. You see where I’m going with this.

Look Out For Mr Stork: It’s that choral style of singing that gets me. I just can’t enjoy vocals like these, there’s something lodged in my psyche which won’t allow it. So dreary, even though it’s meant to be funny and light. Along with the visuals the song works, but on its own it isn’t strong enough.

Casey Junior: A diving attack of brass and strings gets this off to a romping start. It’s mostly an instrumental, though that train’s voice is damn creepy. Just when we think it’s over, those annoying vocals come in again – they are short-lived this time around, so it isn’t so bad.

Song Of The Roustabouts: Well, now. Is it racist? Is it about racism? Is it a sign of the times? Am I just a PC libtard leftie self hating safe-place-needing sheeple for daring to think about such things? I don’t know. But I do know it’s not a very good song – more like a simplistic chant. Was that racist too?

Baby Mine: Well, that’s more like it. Sort of. The singing is a little too whiny and the less said about the backing vocals the better. Still, it’s a rather lovely little lullaby.

The Clown Song: A jaunty, French sounding song, but not a lot to it. Entertaining filler.

Pink Elephants On Parade: Yes yes, it’s all rather disturbing to watch. As a song it plods along with a sort of threatening pace and tone. It’s over a minute before the weird vocals begin, men putting on ‘They’re coming to get you, Barbara’ voices and ranting. At one point it goes all Middle Eastern, then it becomes a flighty little dance, then a rumba or something. Then it goes crazy. Then it ends.

When I See An Elephant Fly: Hmm. More confusion. Hmm. The song isn’t great either.

So, only two songs worth mentioning and neither of those I would consider very good. I’m not even sure I would call any of the songs here essential – not essential enough to bring to another world and spread as Gospel anyway. Onwards and upwards!