If you watched network television in the 1970s, or have since come to explore cop and detective series of the period, you will have come across Quinn Martin Productions. QM was basically the go-to company for action-adventure television and essentially dominated network television throughout the 1970s. Perhaps its most memorable series were The FBI (1965-1974), Cannon (1971-1976), The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977), and Barnaby Jones (1973-1978). Producer Martin also hired some of the finest names in the business to provide music for these programs often taking a personal interest in the end results. He kept a massive collection of the series music which has now been archived with the Film Music Society. This is the source material for La-La Land’s latest release featuring an interesting collection of music from across eight different series.
Disc One has plenty of things to recommend the set on its own. The first is the pilot episode for Barnaby Jones, “Requiem for a Son” which features one of Jerry Goldsmith’s finest television themes and his score for the pilot episode. The music certainly helps cement the thematic thread across these tracks which include a bumper, three main title versions, end credits, and a few experiments of ideas for “Barnaby”. A second episode, score by Bruce Broughton, is also a nice addition. The first disc is filled out with music for the short-lived Dan August (1970-71) which finds Dave Grusin fully utilizing his jazzier side.
Music from Cannon is perhaps the greatest highlight from disc two. John Parker’s memorable theme anchors the pilot movie and an episode from season one, “The Salinas Jackpot”. The disc opens though with music from another short-lived series, Most Wanted (1976-77). Lalo Shifrin’s main title for the series is unique in its use of synthesizer and the rhythmic pulses here will also date the music a bit. The score explores some of the classic 1970s cop music styles of his more familiar film work. Filling out the disc are some themes for shows that never really connected with audiences. It is a rare chance to hear music by jazz arranger Duane Tatro (The Manhunter), a Nelson Riddle theme for Caribe, as well as an early Patrick Williams theme for Bert D’angelo/Superstar. David Shire’s main title and end credits for Tales of the Unexpected bring things to a close.
What really stands out across the two discs are the ways these different composers bring their own style and create a unique soundscape for a host of genre scores. That the music is actually further engaging even if most sequences tend to be brief is actually even more reason to consider making this trip down memory lane. The sound is excellent and the booklet does a good job of summarizing the overall programs and some of the music here without the track-by-track analysis which is unnecessary here. It is worth noting that the second volume of music from Quinn Martin series is now also available from La-La Land.