CD: FSM Vol 2 #4
Lyric by Hal David
Vocal by Mama Cass

  1. The Good Times Are Comin' (Main Title) (2:17)
  2. Men Walk (1:55)
  3. Stocking Feet (1:35)
  4. Missionary Ridge (1:29)
  5. Round-Up (1:34)
  6. Outhouse Sprint (0:54)
  7. Candle and Bed (2:46)
  8. Old Friends (2:57)
  9. The Good Times Are Comin' (Monte Alone) (3:03)
  10. Across the Prairie (1:54)
  11. That Old Box (2:57)
  12. Sit Him High (4:44)
  13. Epilogue (1:08)
  14. The Good Times Are Comin' (End Title) (1:21)
  15. The John Barry Saloon (14:48)
  16. Wedding Source (2:36)
  17. The Good Times are Comin' (3:19)
  18. Score Outtakes Suite (7:01)
  19. The Good Times are Comin' (single version) (2:54)

Monte Walsh

cover art for Monte Walsh

1970


The Movie

When the Italians start making better westerns than Americans, you know it's time to pack it in. In the late 60s it became fashionable to write stories about the "dying" west and the end of the era. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid started it (in my mind) and The Shootist ended it. In between a lot of people tried their hand at this sub-genre, and this is one of them. Lee Marvin and Jack Palance are aging cowboys who see that their days are numbered—modern fencing and railways eliminate the need to herd and move cattle cross-country. When Mitchell Ryan gets laid off, he turns outlaw to make ends meet. Jack Palance gets married and becomes a store keeper. Ryan robs it and unintentionally kills him, and that sends Lee Marvin out for revenge.

So-so movie. It wasn't all hard stares and tobacco juice through clenched teeth. It had humor and pathos, but the Revenge portion just seemed like they did it because it's a western and people should be shot. I think it might have been a more interesting story if they'd gone elsewhere with it.


The Music

The title theme, "The Good Times are Comin'" sets the tone of the movie in a lot of ways. The lyric,

There's gonna be a place for us
A place where we belong
'Cause to stand outside just looking in
Has got to be all wrong
The good times are comin' . . .

is both purposeful and wishful—with an acknowledgement that things probably won't be getting better.

I'll quote Film Score Monthly for more on the music:

or the rest of the score, Barry adopted a European approach (despite the American subject matter) in that he wrote several distinct themes, repeated as appropriate, rather than a great deal of connective tissue. No less than three themes pertain to the movie's cowboy protagonists: a bold, brassy and purposeful theme which shines in a mustang round-up sequence; a goofy theme with harmonica and guitar for the cowboys' lighter moments of tomfoolery; and a haunting, bittersweet theme (often for solo oboe or harmonica) which reflects upon their uncertain future. Additionally, there are two major setpieces: a beautiful, Midnight Cowboy-meets-American folk theme for a poignant exchange between Monte and Chet ("Old Friends") and a 007-styled climax, complete with minor brass chords and clanging marimbas ("Sit Him High").

Release Notes

This obscure movie never got an LP release, though the title song, "The Good Times Are Comin'" made it onto some compilations. It wasn't until Film Score Monthly got hold of it that it saw a CD release in 2001.