Compilation: Going West – Two Guitars (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat featuring Carlo Pes & Barney Kessel, Giovanni Tommaso & Stefano Torossi, plus Roberto Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi
Sometime in the mid 1970s or so, London-based label Conroy Recorded Music Library released a series of Italian reissues on their Conroy Eurobeat imprint including Going West / Two Guitars, a compilation which features eight tracks from Easy Movements, an album by guitarists Carlo Pes and Barney Kessel did for Gemelli, three tracks from Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi’s Echoing America on SR Records, as well as compositions from Roberto Pregadio, one collaboration between Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi, and one from Fiorenzo Carpi.
Side A, subtitled “Going West,” consists of tracks with a Western theme opening with Fiorenzo Carpi’s “Barn Dance.” That harmonica and fiddle piece is followed by “Gunfighter,” a standout track credited to Roberto Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi that could easily have be an outtake from Micalizzi’s legendary Lo chiamavano Trinita’… soundtrack first released on Ariete in 1970. Pregadio’s solo composition “Saloon Gal Sal” is also included.
Upon closer examination, it seems “Gunfighter” is really “Ballata per un pistolero,” Roberto Pregadio’s theme for Il pistolero dell’Ave Maria (also known as The Forgotten Pistolero and Gunman of Ave Maria), a soundtrack composed with Franco Micalizzi in 1969. It was later used in several episodes of the U.S. cartoon show Ren & Stimpy–and reissued in CD by GDM under the title Il pistolero dell’Ave Maria (Gunmen of Ave Maria) in 2014.
Roberto Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi”s “Gunfighter,” aka “Ballata per un pistolero,” features a choir most likely I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni, meaning the solo whistler on this track could very well be Alessandro Alessandroni:
The remaining four tracks on the first side of Going West – Two Guitars include “Freight Car Rider,” “Plain Folks,” and “Rest Your Wagon,” all compositions by Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi that first appeared on their Echoing America album for SR Records in 1970–and reissued in CD by Cometa Edizioni Musicali in 2013.
The original titles of the three Tommaso-Torossi collaborations are “Dance Tomorrow” (renamed “Freight Car Rider”), “Slateridge Sunday Breakdown” (renamed “Plain Folks”), and “Six Miles From Blackstock” (renamed “Rest Your Wagon”).
Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi’s “Freight Car Rider,” originally titled “Dance Tomorrow,” is online:
At this time, neither Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi’s “Plain Folks” nor their “Rest Your Wagon” is online. However, a promo video prepared for the 2013 CD reissue of Echoing America by Cometa Edizioni Musicali includes an introduction to the whole album. A profile is also found in the Albums section of this site.
A vinyl reissue and/or digital release of this overlooked album is overdue. Hopefully, the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 brings some favorable news on this topic.
“Two Guitars,” the sub-title of Side B, features Carlo Pes and Barney Kessel’s “Lonely Walks,” “Both Ways,” “Swinging Partners,” “Running Notes,” “Hummin’ Dobro,” “My Winter,” and “Easy Movements,” the title track of the LP the tracks first appeared on. In addition, “South Border,” another Carlo Pes and Barney Kessel composition, is on the “Going West” side of the Conroy reissue.
A video for Carlo Pes and Barney Kessel’s slow bossa nova gem, “My Winter,” is on YouTube:
Stefano Torossi on Conroy
Conroy licensed all ten tracks from Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi’s Echoing America album, using three on Going West – Two Guitars (EURO 7) and the remainder on the Dramatic Backgrounds compilation (EURO 5).
Besides the pair of Conroy Eurobeat compilations, the parent label reissued Feelings (BMLP 143) in 1976, the milestone library music album initially credited to Jay Richford and Gary Stevan that features the music of composers Sandro Brugnolini, Gancarlo Gazzani, Puccio Roelens, and Stefano Torossi and was initially released by Carosello in 1974.
Among the various Feelings reissues, the Conroy LP is one of the most valuable. For example, the current median price of $477.74 for the album on Discogs probably understates the current value. The original vinyl of Going West – Two Guitars, long out of print and never reissued, is much easier to find. Copies can usually be found on Ebay and Discogs. The latter currently has five priced under 50 euro.
Many of the ten cuts from Sandro Brugnolini, Giancarlo Gazzani, Puccio Roelens, and Stefano Torossi’s Feelings can be found online including “Walking In The Dark”:
More from the Artists
The recording output of the contributors to Conroy Eurobeat’s Going West – Two Guitars LP is quite extensive, intersecting the genres of jazz, film soundtrack, and library music.
Guitarist Carlo Pes rich career in music begin in 1945, debuting with Enrico Simonetti and Bruno Martino. He later joined Maurizio Majorana, Roberto Podio, and Antonello Vannucci to form I Marc 4 (or just Marc 4), a group responsible for numerous TV and film scores in the 1960s and 1970s. Pes stayed in the United States for an extended period in the 1970s, playing with musicians like Chet Baker, Stéphane Grappelli, and Toots Thielemans. In the 1980s, he formed Swing Sextet of Rome, which included pianist Roberto Pregadio.
“Hyde Park,” features Carlos Pes on guitar, Maurizio Majorana on bass, Roberto Podio on drums, and Antonello Vannucci on piano and Hammond organ, along with vocalist Edda Dell’Orso, on a composition which initially appeared on I solisti di Armando Trovajoli, I Marc 4’s 1969 LP on SR Records.
I Marc 4 and Edda Dell Orso’s “Hyde Park” is here:
As a teenager in the late 1930s, Barney Kessel first started playing guitar with the local dance bands in his native Oklahoma. The innovative jazz guitarist later played in the 1944 film Jammin’ the Blues with a group featuring saxophonist Lester Young. In 1947, Kessel played at a recording session with Charlie Parker’s New Stars. In fact, from 1947 to 1960, Barney Kessel was the top rated guitarist in the United States according to readership polls in magazines such as Down Beat, Esquire, and Playboy.
In 1964, the Barney Kessel Trio performed “One Mint Julep” live in the Netherlands. The trio features Kessel on guitar, Stan Levey on drums, and Buddy Woodson on bass:
Kessel was also a top session player and member of The Wrecking Crew, the group of Los Angeles-based musicians who were behind some of the biggest pop hits of all time, as well as working on jingles, television shows, and films. For example, in January 1966, Barney Kessel is credited with playing mandolin on the opening bit of The Beach Boys’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” while the next year he played bass on Mr. Spock’s theme, first used in the Star Trek episode, “Amok Time”:
Giovanni Tommaso, like Barney Kessel and Carlo Pes, also played with Chet Baker. In fact, it was as a member of Quintetto di Lucca that Tommaso first played with Baker in 1959. Giovanni Tommaso was also a member of Quartetto di Lucca, with Giampiero Giusti on drums, Antonello Vannucchi on vibes, brother Vito Tommaso on piano, and Tommaso on bass. In 1972, Tommaso formed Perigeo, a progressive rock group.
A live clip of Perigeo performing “Azimut”, the title track from their 1972 debut album, remastered by RCA in 2015, features Bruno Biriaco on drums, Franco D’Andrea on keyboards, Claudio Fasoli on clarinet, Tony Sidney on guitar, and Tommaso on bass:
In the summer of 2015, Giovanni Tommaso also appeared on a brand new release by vocalist Jasmine Tommaso, Nelle mie corde. The album is the second by the talented singer who also happens to be the daughter of Giovanni and the niece of pianist-orchestra leader Vito.
A short clip with excerpts from the album features Claudio Filippini on piano and Fender Rhodes, Giovanni Tommaso on double bass, Marco Valeri on drums, and Jasmine Tommaso on vocals:
Pianist and composer Roberto Pregadio did more than fifty musical scores including his Il pistolero dell’Ave Maria soundtrack with Franco Micalizzi in 1969. A well-known media personality, Pregadio teamed up with partner Corrado Mantoni for a TV program that lasted from 1968 through 1997, and joined Gerry Scotti on a radio show broadcast through 2007.
In 1972, Roberto Pregadio composed the soundtrack for director Silvio Amadio’s giallo film Il sorriso della iena (Smile Before Death).
“Iena Sequence,” composed by Roberto Pregadio and featuring Edda Dell’Orso on vocals, is here:
Composer and conductor Franco Micalizzi first achieved fame for his score of the Western Lo chiamavano Trinità… (They Call Me Trinity) in 1970. His dozens of soundtracks include the main theme for the 1976 crime film Italia a mano armata (A Special Cop in Action), another example of his success in Italy’s poliziottesco genre. This was later re-used in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, released in 2007.
Fans of the HBO TV Series Curb Your Enthusiasm may recognize Micalizzi’s composition “The Puzzle,” which like Guido Cenciarelli, Massimo Catalano, and Stefano Torossi’s “Thrills And Spills,” was often used on the show and then appeared on the soundtrack released on CD by Mellowdrama.
Franco Micalizzi’s memorable spaghetti Western composition “Lo chiamavano Trinità… (They Call Me Trinity),” featuring vocalist Annibale, is online: