Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale/They came to save the world and win the gal at Casino Royale! Six of them went to a heavenly spot, the seventh one is going to a place where it's terribly hot...
Hal David's lyric captures just a small fraction of the insanity of Charles K. Feldman's 1967 Casino Royale, the big-budget comic extravaganza and cult favorite that was "too much...for one James Bond!" And so, David Niven as James Bond was joined by 007s of all shapes and sizes (and genders!), and even by his nephew, Jimmy Bond, portrayed by Woody Allen. But the remarkable swingin' sixties score by Burt Bacharach was too much for one soundtrack album, too. Back in 2011, we told the tale of the film here, so if you haven't caught up with this Bacharach bacchanal, do click, and join us later. Back? Good. Following the original LP on Colgems, two CD reissues on Varese Sarabande, a DVD-A from Classic Records, a deluxe 2010 expanded edition from Kritzerland, and a comprehensive 2012 double-disc reissue from Quartet Records, the latter label is taking another gamble at Casino Royale - this time for its landmark 50th anniversary in a limited edition of 2,000 units.
Though the film is hardly canon for the long-running series of 007 films, its greatest asset is a score that can stand alongside the best of the official Bond scores composed by the legendary John Barry. Dusty Springfield sang the Academy Award-nominated "The Look of Love" over a scene in which Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress are cavorting, as viewed through a giant fish tank; Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass contributed the instrumental title theme. And those are just the tip of the iceberg of Bacharach's incredibly melodic, deliriously delightful, altogether wacky score. The remastered original stereo album opens this 50th Anniversary Edition, followed by additional cues in mono. Additionally, a special bonus track has been appended to this 1-CD, 35-track presentation: vocalist Mike Redway's promotional single version of "Have No Fear, Bond Is Here" originally released on Deram Records. It makes its CD debut here.
To bring this reissue to life, Quartet has turned to producer/restoration engineer Chris Malone. A veteran of such projects as Intrada's Breakfast at Tiffany's and Hatari! , and Kritzerland's It's a Wonderful Life, Malone was kind enough to share the story of this new Casino Royale with The Second Disc.
Malone began his work on the project with a quest for the best possible elements. He explains, "Quartet's owner, Jose Benitez, very gracefully accepted my insistence in leaving no stone unturned as we searched for the first generation three-track session tapes. Regrettably, these original elements seem lost to time but Jose had the patience of a saint entertaining my desire to contact several vaults and people we thought might help unearth something new. Unfortunately, no one will actually hear the result of those efforts, because we were ultimately only able to use what we started the project with on day one. But it was critically important to me that we try just in case."
In the absence of those three-track masters, Malone turned to the best available source: "We worked from a transfer of the two-track album master that was made before it was damaged many years ago. I wasn't particularly keen in using copies that were further generations away or had their own quirks such as the bunched stereo image on the tapes in the vaults of Sony in Spain. We also worked from M-G-M vault elements of the split monaural dialogue, music, and sound effects tracks to secure additional sequences. This was the same element that Quartet used in 2012; however, we approached it with a different artistic viewpoint." He elaborates, "The first immediate difference that listeners will hear is that the monaural tracks are presented in true mono rather than having stereo ambience applied. The second difference is that I didn't want to restrict the dynamic range of either the stereo album or the mono bonus tracks. This allows the music to breathe and sit in its own space. You might have to turn your volume up more than normal but I think listeners will find it less fatiguing."
Why does Malone believe that Bacharach's score for Casino Royale endures 50 years after its original release? "This score continues to fascinate because the original 1967 vinyl issue still finds pride of place within an audiophile's record collection," he opines. "It's easy to see why. It's a wide and spacious recording with different recording techniques applied to many of the different sequences. The treble and bass extension is also quite extraordinary for its time--and we didn't want to alter that too much. I was fortunate to be able to track down Jack Clegg, who was the recording engineer that did three films together with Burt Bacharach at the famous CTS Studios in London. He was wonderfully gracious with his time and shared some lovely recollections about his work in the industry. This became the icing on the cake for what had become a really special project to me. I was then able to write a piece that covers more the technical aspects that anyone can freely read on Quartet's website."
What are Malone's own favorites from the album? "Aside from the instantly recognizable title tune, Dusty Springfield's vocal is the standout for me. It's so intimate, close, and her diction is phenomenal. What's great is that we have the stereo album version and the mono film version on this release to compare and contrast. Aside from the obvious editorial differences, listeners might like to identify minor phrasing differences too!" Herb Alpert's striking, catchy title theme is also heard twice on this release, once in mono and once in stereo. Malone continues, "The big sound of 'Sir James' Trip to Find Mata' and the fun of 'Gymnasium Training'--with its twanging wooden ruler--are also immediately memorable. But really, it's all great fun."
Chris concludes, "Since its release, I can now listen back to it as a fan like everyone else and marvel in the magic combination of Burt Bacharach, Dusty Springfield, CTS Studios, Jack Clegg, and the zany antics of the film that inspired it all." Now, we all can enjoy the results of his sonic wizardry, too. Quartet's new Casino Royale features a 20-page booklet with liner notes by Jeff Bond, and it is available at the label's own website as well as at Screen Archives. You can visit Chris Malone at his website here! Check out the full tracklisting below!
The Remastered Original Album (Stereo) (Colgems LP COSO-5005, 1967)
- Casino Royale (Main Title) - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
- The Look of Love - Dusty Springfield
- Moneypenny Goes for Broke
- Le Chiffre's Torture of the Mind
- Home James, Don't Spare the Horses
- Sir James' Trip to Find Mata
- The Look of Love (Instrumental)
- Hi There, Miss Goodthighs
- Little French Boy
- Flying Saucer/First Stop Berlin
- The Venerable Sir James Bond
- Dream On James, You're Winning
- The Big Cowboys and Indians Fight at Casino Royale/Casino Royale (Reprise) - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Bonus Tracks (Mono)
- Casino Royale (Main Title) - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
- Open Cars Converging/To the Bond Chateau
- The Black Rose
- James Bond in Scotland
- The Widow Duty of Lady Fiona/Wassail
- The Grouse Shoot
- Mimi's Lament
- Gymnasium Training
- The Look of Love (Film Vocal) - Dusty Springfield
- Proposals, Super 8 and Costumes
- Sir' James Trip to Find Mata/Temple Dance
- Sitar Background
- Old Berlin House/Mata Hari School for Spies
- Bond Arrival in France
- Vesper in the Shower
- Le Chiffre's Magic Act
- Vesper's Kidnapping
- End of Torture Sequence
- Fight in Casino Manager's Office/Dr. Noah's Headquarters/The LSD Room
- The Big Fight at Casino Royale (Film Version)
- Seven Bonds in Heaven/End Title (Have No Fear, Bond is Here) - Mike Redway
- Have No Fear, Bond is Here (Single Version) - Mike Redway (Deram DM 124-A, 1967)