Thursday, December 16, 2010

KUNG FU (1972) / MAN IN THE WILDERNESS (1971) [2010]

Kung Fu was a highly successful ABC-TV series starring David Carradine as a Chinese-American Shaolin priest who, having accidently killed the Chinese emperor’s nephew, finds himself a fugitive in the American West. Flashbacks to Carradine’s early training with his Chinese mentors, Master Po and Master Kan, were a unique feature of each show.
One of the series’ most evocative elements was its music—composed, arranged and conducted by Jim Helms. Using a modest, string-based ensemble augmented by “exotic” colors like recorder and harpsichord and rare percussion instruments such as Chinese temple bells and waterphone, Helms created a unique but subdued background for the show’s unusual blend of Western action and Eastern philosophy. Each episode also featured the series’ evocative signature tune, which the producer called “one of the prettiest themes in the history of television.”

After the success of the first season, Warner Bros. Records issued a “concept album” LP with music and dialogue from the show. Helms re-recorded his score with a larger (45-piece) orchestra for the music-only selections and an 8-piece ensemble for the dialogue tracks. This FSM re-release features authoritative notes by Jon Burlingame, including excerpts from interviews with Helms and several of his colleagues.

Man in the Wilderness was a gritty and violent survival movie starring Richard Harris as a grievously wounded fur trapper who fights his way back from near-death only to find a new peace with himself and his foes. To score the film, Harris chose his friend Johnny Harris (no relation), who had worked as an arranger and conductor on some of the actor’s pop vocal albums. The music is often spare, always moody and evocative, and occasionally muscular—the robust march which opens the film is balanced by a gentle and reflective theme (introduced on a music box) for the principal character. There is also a pioneering use of synthesizer in the music for the Arikara Indians. Liner notes by Jeff Bond and Alexander Kaplan include new interview comments by the composer.

Music and Dialogue From the Warner Bros TV Series: Kung Fu

Produced by JIM HELMS

Music Composed, Arranged and Conducted by Jim Helms

1. Caine’s Theme 3:13
2. (a) The Shaolin Temple (1:58)/(b) The New Student (1:31)/(c) Ten Times Ten (1:25) 4:54
3. The Ancient Warrior/Shawn’s Theme 3:16
4. (a) A Children’s Game (1:55)/(b) Divine Strength (1:14) 3:09
5. Alethea/Su Yen 2:45
6. Grasshopper 1:01
7. (a) Power of the Other (1:06)/(b) The Lotus Pond (1:48)/(c) One With Nature (1:02) 3:56
8. Dark Angel (Hymn) 1:57
9. (a) On Evil (1:38)/(b) The Peaceful Path (1:27)/(c) Time of the Soul (1:05) 4:10
10. King of the Mountain/An Eye for an Eye 2:45
11. The Search 1:36
12. Sign of the Dragon 0:11
Total Time: 33:25

Original Soundtrack From the Motion Picture:
Man in the Wilderness

Music Composed, Conducted, Arranged and Produced by Johnny Harris

13. Main Title (Capt. Henry Theme) 2:53
14. Zach Discovers Water 1:16
15. Shadows of Reckerys 2:26
16. Zach Makes His Bed 2:04
17. Zach’s Music Box 0:36
18. Zach Bass Theme 1:59
19. Mandam Massacre 1:44
20. Lost Horizons Part One 1:28
21. Lost Horizons Part Two 1:20
22. Henry Meets Redthorn 1:27
23. Henry Continues 1:08
24. Zach Goes Mountain Climbing 1:06
25. Survival Time 4:06
26. Zach Bass Theme 1:58
27. Zach Meets Redthorn 0:48
28. Zach Goes for Henry 3:18
29. Finale (Zach Bass Theme) 1:53
Total Time: 32:12

Total Disc Time: 65:44




  2. More Jim Helms here:


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