The Music Of Laurie Johnson Vol. 2: The Professionals
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- Laurie Johnson is responsible for some of the best-loved TV themes ever: “The Professionals”, “The Avengers”, “Top Secret”, “Echo Four Two”, “Animal Magic” and “This Is Your Life”, to name but a few. But in his long career he has also written many film scores, classical works and suites for military bands.
- Following on from the great success of “The Avengers” 3 CD set, this is the second volume in a series collecting together Laurie’s extraordinarily varied output. As with Volume 1, this set is compiled, fully annotated and mastered from the original mastertapes by Laurie Johnson himself, and packaged with photos from his own collection.
- Disc 1 contains seventy-eight minutes of music from the TV series “The Professionals” (currently showing eight times a week on ITV 4 until 2010), which aside from the theme tune, makes its debut on CD.
- Disc 2 features Laurie’s fabulous themes for TV shows and his film scores, along with some early singles and his orchestral concert hall work “Concerto for Trumpet, Tenor Sax and Orchestra”. Disc 3 collects some more of his adventurous works for military bands, including “The Battle Of Waterloo”, with narration by Lord Bernard Miles.
|| ||The Professionals Theme (Main Titles)|
|| ||Theme Version A|
|| ||Theme Version B|
|| ||On The Trail|
|| ||Stopover (six cues)|
|| ||Fugitive (five cues)|
|| ||Foxhole On The Roof (two cues)|
|| ||Hijack (three cues)|
|| ||First Night|
|| ||A Hiding To Nothing (two cues)|
|| ||Dead Reckoning (four cues)|
|| ||The Ojuka Situation (nine cues)|
|| ||Need To Know (five cues)|
|| ||The Gun (nine cues)|
|| ||The Professionals Theme |
|| ||Television Themes (Jason King / Top Secret / Echo Four Two / Happy Go Lively [Ren & Stimpy]|
|| ||Early Singles (Drum Crazy / Jamboree / Lullaby Of The Leaves / Winter Wonderland)|
|| ||Film Scores: The First Men In The Moon Suite|
|| ||Ibsen's Hedda Suite|
|| ||Concert Hall Work: Concerto For Trumpet, Tenor Sax And Orchestra|
|| ||‘Three Paintings By Lautrec’ Suite|
|| ||‘Colours For Concert Band’ Suite|
|| ||The Battle Of Waterloo|
|| ||‘The Wind In The Willows’ Tone Poem|
Johnson is responsible for some of TV’s most enduring themes. This three-CD set follows the success of Vol. 1, which was based around his work on The Avengers. This time, it’s The Professionals, and the whole of the first CD comprises themes and incidental music recorded for the Seventies drama. CD two features more themes and scores, including Ren & Stimpy and Top Secret, while a third CD rounds-up Johnson’s military band output.
Trinity Mirror, August 08
Laurie Johnson studied at the Royal College of Music before embarking on a very successful career as a composer and arranger of TV theme tunes, including The Professionals, The Avengers and This Is Your Life. His one big success in the pop charts came in 1961, with Sucu Sucu from the TV spy serries Top Secret. This nicely packaged triple-CD boxset has on disc one music from The Professionals (currently being repeated on ITV4). Disc two features themes from other TV shows and movie scores, while disc three collects together some of Johnson’s more adventurous works for military bands.
HMV Choice, August 08
‘Iconic three-disc tele-tunes set from legendary composer’
Following his collection from The Avengers, legendary TV composer Laurie Johnson devotes his second back-catalogue volume to the 1970s action series The Professionals, whose dynamic, wacca-wacca electric guitars and big-band brass motifs, ensured that it was one of the iconic tele-tunes of the period. Much of the 70 minutes of incidental music is available here for the first time. The second disc features a selection of other top TV themes, among them Jason King and Top Secret, as well as cues from such feature scores as The First Men In The Moon and Hedda. Finally, disc three contains such diverse concert suites as Three Paintings By Lautrec, Colours For Concert Band and The Battle Of Waterloo, all of which confirm the composer’s versatility.
Record Collector, October 08
The Professionals follows up the successful Laurie Johnson lost Avengers set from late last year. The big draw here is, of course, The Professionals unreleased music: 52 tracks of it on disc one. Chosen by Johnson from just 10 of the many episodes, we have sleuthing funk, heavy brass punch-ups, quick thinking incidentals and more, offering a broad collection of sounds for all tastes. The other two discs in the set are crammed with further Johnson compositions, soundtracks, library, early jazz singles, concert hall work and a Royal Military Spectacular. Fascinating, but there’s just too much of it to take in. A release of The Professionals on its own would have been more than enough.
Shindig, December 08
If there’s one thing the 1970s got spot-on, it was TV themes to accompany tyre-screeching tough guys. The Professionals was the apogee of this iconic sound, and its theme tune opens this three CD set.
The first CD is all selected incidental music from The Professionals’ five-year lifespan. Johnson, who co-ordinated the reissue project himself, has chosen his favourite pieces. Most of these musical vignettes are effectively reminiscent of Bodie and Doyle’s TV scrapes and, occasionally, there are extremely groovy too.
The other two CDs are more haphazard. While ‘50s singles such as ‘Drum Crazy’ are welcome punchy blasts, the lengthy classical suites can be a bit of a chore. Still, whether its 25 seconds of car chase music or a 25-minute score for ‘The Battle Of Waterloo’, Johnson’s pieces are superbly constructed and meticulously buffed, and this collection does his wide-ranging talent full justice.
Journal Into Melody, November 08
Earlier in this issue you will have read Peter Burt’s praise for the first volume in this series in his “Back Tracks” column. I have been collecting Laurie Johnson’s recordings for over fifty years, so you could say I am also a little biased! But who can fail to be impressed by the sheer musicianship, and astonishing versatility displayed in these three CDs. And don’t forget that this is just the second volume in an ongoing project, which makes Laurie’s massive contribution to music even more astounding. Perhaps the big selling point for TV addicts will be the music from “The Professionals” stretching over 52 cues. Laurie has worked personally to unearth these from his own private collection, otherwise they would probably have been neglected and, perhaps, lost forever. The famous “Professionals” theme is there, of course, but it is all the other music cues that are so fascinating. The second CD focuses on Laurie’s TV themes, early singles, film scores and concert hall work. The final piece features The London Big Band and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Laurie Johnson, with Guy Baker (trumpet) and Tom Whittle (tenor saxophone). Malcolm Laycock’s booklet note says it all: “The work received a standing ovation at the concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I think it is one of Laurie’s great achievements, a work of outstanding emotional depth and resonance which connected to everybody in the audience at the concert. It is simply sublime, it soars, it is triumphant, it is inspiring”. Laurie had his grounding in military music and it is clearly very important to him. The third CD concentrates on this side of his creativity, and features the London Brass Chorale and The Band of the Coldstream Guards conducted by Laurie Johnson – Three Paintings by Lautrec Suite; RAF Central Band and RAF Squadronaires conducted by Laurie Johnson – Colours For Concert Band Suite and The Battle of Waterloo. The final track is actually orchestral, with Laurie conducting his tone poem The Wind In The Willows. I know that it is Laurie’s wish that his music should be available to those interested at a reasonable price. He is not out to make money from this project, which is obvious when you see that each CD inside the box set has its own booklet, crammed with notes and photographs. Many of us would happily pay £30 for a set like this, but you should be able to find it for a fraction of the price. On behalf of your legion of admirers, all I can really say is a heartfelt and sincere “Thank-you Laurie – for everything”.