Joe 90
Original Television Soundtrack

Composer: Barry Gray
Silva Screen
RRP: £9.99
SILCD 1209
Available 15 May 2006

Joe 90 is generally regarded as a second string Gerry Anderson production - the poor cousin of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. This is a shame as the show benefits from some solid characterisation, a sense of humour and some great plots - three things that are missing, in large part, from Captain Scarlet.

Moreover, Joe 90 benefits from some truly great music - every bit as good as anything Barry Gray wrote for many of the other Supermarionation productions, and often better. While it's true that the score for the show doesn't boast the great matches and suspense music that graced Thunderbirds, it is still a body of work that contains some truly impressive pieces, many of which were reused for Space 1999.

The orchestration is richer than that used for Captain Scarlet, it has a really memorable theme tune, and there are one or two arrangements that wouldn't have sounded out of place in a major motion picture. Also, its age doesn't show - it could all have been recorded yesterday. It's fresh, fun, exciting and highly evocative.

The interesting things about much of the music is how it blends the main theme effortlessly into wildly differing settings - from romantic to action-packed - a trick that Barry Gray would feature regularly in his work for both UFO and Space 1999.

Sadly, not all the original tapes have survived the passage of time and there are rare moments when traces of distortion couldn't be digitally removed. Happily, this doesn't detract from a splendid CD which overall has a sound quality that we have come to expect from Silva Screen.

This is another great CD from a company that continually releases great CDs - discs that put other soundtrack labels to shame. So well done to everyone concerned with this release and can we have Stingray next?

Anthony Clark

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