Following its recent reissue of Sonny and Cher’s Good Times! soundtrack, Varese Vintage has turned its attention to another neglected release uniting the worlds of cinema and pop. The 1979 romantic drama Voices featured a score by Jimmy Webb and performances by The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings and the teenage duo of Andy and David Williams (nephews to the elder Andy Williams) as well as, on its non-Webb tracks, Willie Nelson and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. This Friday, the long out-of-print Planet Records soundtrack album, overseen by Planet head Richard Perry, comes to CD for the very first time.
Director Robert Markowitz’s film was adapted from the true life story of Susan Davidoff, Miss Deaf America of 1976. It starred Amy Irving as Rosemarie, a young deaf woman hoping to become a teacher, and Michael Ontkean as Drew, a truck driver dreaming of becoming a singer. Their unlikely love story is at the heart of the picture which also featured Alex Rocco, Viveca Lindfors and legendary acting teacher Herbert Berghof in supporting roles. Webb was enlisted to provide both songs and the orchestral score.
Burton Cummings has the lion’s share of the songs on Voices, including its central theme “I Will Always Wait for You.” The big, sweeping soft-rock ballad (on which Cummings dubbed Ontkean as Drew) is heard in both vocal and instrumental versions. Cummings also performs the dramatic “On a Stage,” sung from Drew’s point-of-view in a musical theatre-esque fashion, and the seedy “Drunk as a Punk,” performed by Drew and his band in Voices. Andy and David Williams perform the tender, inspirational “The Children’s Song,” heard in an emotional sequence when Irving’s character dances and signs the song for her students. Like “Rosemarie’s Theme,” it’s reprised in a distinctive instrumental version as well.
Two songs used as source music in the film are heard on the album, too: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Anything That’s Rock and Roll” from their 1976 debut; and Willie Nelson’s rendition of the jaunty Cindy Walker/Bob Wills classic “Bubbles in My Beer” from Shotgun Willie (1973). In addition to its vocal tracks, Voices includes several evocative instrumental cues such as the fragile “Rosemarie’s Theme,” funky “Disco If You Want To,” brash and boisterous “Family Theme,” sultry, glistening saxophone-led “On the River,” and brief but lush “Rosemarie and Drew.” The album concludes with the triumphant “Rosemarie’s Dance” leading into a vocal reprise of “I Will Always Wait for You” by Cummings.
The score to Voices effectively supports the film for which it was written while standing on its own as a typically lovely set of songs and melodies from one of America’s most significant songwriters and storytellers. Varese’s reissue has been remastered by Chas Ferry and Daren Chadwick, and features liner notes by Jim Lochner in the insert. Voices is available this Friday, August 12, and can be ordered at the links below!
- I Will Always Wait for You (Theme from Voices) – Burton Cummings
- Rosemarie’s Theme
- Disco If You Want To
- The Children’s Song – Andy and David Williams
- Family Theme
- Anything That’s Rock and Roll – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- I Will Always Wait for You (Instrumental)
- On a Stage – Burton Cummings
- Across the River
- Bubbles in My Beer – Willie Nelson
- Rosemarie and Drew
- Drunk as a Punk – Burton Cummings
- Rosemarie’s Dance/I Will Always Wait for You (Reprise) – Burton Cummings