I used to mess around with breaks & samples on this hand help looper thing I had but never did much. I’ve started mixing samples up a bit again and this is a first attempt. I have a lot to learn about building a track, creating a decent drum pattern, etc but I’ll share my efforts on the way.
In the late 70’s German library label Sonoton released this six LP consecutive set.
Here’s a 32 track ‘best of’ in glorious FLAC for your lovely ears.
When I was 5 I sat cross-legged in Miss Blackwell’s class in the main assembly hall at my junior school watching the Schools programmes and remember vividly the credits for ‘Stop, Look, Listen’.
The theme tune to ‘My World’ stayed with me for years and when I bought a copy of ‘Happy Pastimes’ on Themes blind many years later I instantly recognised the music.
I was born in the year that News at Ten adopted a KPM track, ‘The Awakening’ as it’s theme tune and this music theme, along with ‘Mastermind’, ‘Dave Allen at Large’, ‘This is Your Life’ and may others filled my head with sounds that have stayed with me until now.
When i was 10 I was watching ‘Grange Hill’ and wondering why ‘Give Us a Clue’ on ITV had the same theme tune.
TV and music have always been important to me. At 10 I was recording onto cassette my favourite TV programmes and listening to them again and again. Consequently incidental music and themes found their way into my head more and more. To this end I can hear just a second or two of something and instantly it sparks in my brain as recognition.
When I was 15 videos were big. We had rented a video recorder from Radio Rentals in town in the pre-video shop days- no one could afford to buys one back then. The shop had only a handful of Intervision tapes and I soaked up Dawn of the Dead, Rabid, Shivers, Carrie, etc multiple times.
Why was I hearing the ‘News at Ten’ theme in the middle of ‘Beyond Atlantis’ and why was ‘Mastermind’ playing in ‘Delirium’?
In the middle of a video boom we could watch anything. All the horrors my big brother and sister had seen at the cinema and told me about. I was wagging school to watch ‘The Exorcist’ at my mates house and watching films that would have otherwise been forgotten forever if VHS & Betamax hadn’t saved their sorry asses.
When I was 20 I was at art college and as old cassettes came up for sale at car boots and markets I got more and more into video nasties and cheap exploitation films. I love these films. I was a big record collector; hip hop, house, funk, soul & jazz as well as film soundtracks. I started to record some of the music from the videos as there were no soundtracks ever released for these films. I’d listen to these on my two deck stereo in my room.
When I was 25, against my better judgement I found myself a huge fan of Australian soap drama ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’. I had a whole new bunch of friends which were in two camps really and both of these would come back from a club and watch Prisoner. Whichever bunch of friends I was with I couldn’t get away from it. I had labelled it as rubbish and never watched an episode, even though I was a massive fan of the Women In Prison genre.
I started to secretly like it. I had to back down as I had vehemently moaned about them making me watch that shit so many times. Then I started to love it and secretly video it to watch myself. I was hooked on it. And the music.
‘Prisoner’ was an hugely successful Australian drama aired between 1979 and 1986. It told the story of the inmates and officers of the women’s prison Wentworth Detention Centre. It broke barriers with storylines of rape, incest, lesbianism (daring at the time), hangings, murder, etc. They were banging out two hours a week so it was soap standard production but the whole thing pulled me in and I loved it. Murder, violence and death pretty regularly, fights and riots, women swearing and sticking it to the man. I was in.
My favourite cues:
Fugitive: Already familiar to me from ‘The Retriever’s I loved this. (@40 mins)
Industrial Sabotage: I was desperate to find this and it took a while. KPM all along (of course it was). (@36 mins)
‘Prisoner’ used library music through it’s entire run of eight years and 692 episodes, using more than 1, 400 different library tracks to help tell it’s story. Initially producers asked Allan Caswell to score some music for a 16 part series and these can be heard in the early episodes but once it ignited and they want to long running serial the use of library cues became the norm.
From episode 1, as drug addicted Sally Lee is chased down the corridors by screws Meg Jackson and ‘Vinegar Tits’ Vera Bennett with Brian Bennett’s ‘The Plot’ bursting out of our TV speakers to the final notes of Richard Harvey’s ‘Four Winds’ as the gate finally closes in episode 692. Bruton and partularly KPM were used heavily by the music editors on the show. De Wolfe were used in the middle period and labels like Sonoton, Sound Stage, Selected Sound, Intersound, Parry, Golden Ring and one track from Conroy made up the Wentworth playlist.
I noticed that I recognised some of the music from ‘Rabid’, ‘Shiver’s, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘Scream For Vengeance’. ‘The Retriever’s’, ‘Delirium’, ‘Getting Even’, ‘Chocky’, the ‘Solpadeine’ advert, ‘The Sweeney’, ‘Columbo’, ‘Deep Throat’, ‘Shoestring’, ‘Girls On Top’, ‘The Hanged Man’, ‘The Famous Five’, etc, etc. I had these on cassette and listened to them in my bedroom.
Around this time I was making short films (usually a killer on the loose) with my mates. I had an on-the-shoulder VHS camcorder that recorded directly on to a full sized VHS cassette. We filmed things chronologically and edited in camera. We would go back to mine and while they sat drinking tea I would put music on it and then we’d piss oursleves laughing at the finished product. The music I used was from soundtracks (‘Carrie’ bucket scene sped up) or some track recorded from ‘Prisoner’ or an exploitation or horror film. I still had no idea what a library track was at this point even though they were all around me.
Alongside this CD had come out and I was buying lots of soundtrack type stuff- ‘Easy Tempo’ compilations, ‘Dusty Fingers’, ‘Mood Mosaic’, etc. I was heavily into obscure films and buying imported magazines and fanzines. I was importing Italian soundtracks left and right and buying all the Lucertola Media and Crippled Dick CDs, one of which was the superb ‘3 Films By Jess Franco’ of which an edited down version became the much celebrated ‘Vampyros Lesbos’ CD.
When the ‘Sound Gallery’ came out it was another compilation in the vein I loved and this was really the start of my library music experience. Here was a stream of KPM tracks that I hadn’t yet linked to all this incidental stuff I was always listening to.
Library music came to me in big in two strands.
A ‘Prisoner’ fan had a couple of CDs that had some ‘Prisoner’ music on and I had to have them. I so wanted to have the tracks without the bits of dialogue, the squeak of a door or the sound of car doors slamming over them. I found out they were Bruton CDs from Zomba music so I got on the phone and got some CDs sent to me.
I was amazed.
Track after track I recognised not only music from ‘Prisoner’ but also from films, TV shows and adverts. It might seem silly to you now but this was pre-internet and I had no conception that these had once been records or how they’d been distributed. A woman at Bruton told me that these CD compilations were of hand picked tracks that they felt still might have commercial appeal (at that time in the 90’s). They weren’t ‘archive’ releases but more a chance to get a bit of money out of old stock tracks I guess. Anyway I loved them.
By the time I got ‘Drama/Crime’ and heard what I didn’t yet know was BRJ 2 ‘Drama Montage’ I was ecstatic. Here they were; so many of the tracks I had craved for years in crisp CD quality: ‘The Plot’, ‘In Danger’ (used in ‘Prisoner’ and ‘Scream For Vengeance’) and so many more.
At around the same time my fellow funk collector mate heard a KPM library LP played at a London record fair and couldn’t believe what he heard. The Mohawks ‘The Champ’ had been a massive record for us for years at all the clubs we went to and we knew now that The Mohawks were in fact a crew of studio session musicians recording for labels like KPM.
He hit gold when a mate of ours spotted an ad in our local paper; an old gentleman selling a load of KPM records. My mate had a car so went and picked up 100+ LPs for £20, including both Big Beats, the Flamboyant Themes, etc, etc.
I went around his house and we went through them. The geek in me was creaming his Levi Sta-press as LP after LP delivered the goods. Beats, breaks, basslines, organ grooves, killer riffs. I wanted to kill him I was so jealous.
Not only this but my head for a tune was buzzing. He’ was dropping the needle and I was hearing ‘News at Ten’, ‘Grange Hill’, ‘Mary, Mungo and Midge’, ‘Noseybonk’, ‘Vision-On’, music from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, ‘Torso’, ‘Mastermind’, ‘Delirium’, ‘Beyond Atlantis’, etc, etc, etc
And ‘Riot’ that I loved from ‘Prisoner’ and ‘The Sweeney’.
I needed some bargaining power to get my mitts on this record that had ‘Riot’ on it.
By the time the ‘Blow Up: Exclusive Blend’ was out in the mid-90’s I already had most of the tracks on cassettes form Paul’s records and was on the hunt for library records of my own. I spent a good twenty years of my life in record shops. Everyone hated going anywhere with me because I had to go through everything if i found a record shop or second hand shop.
I asked at a big record shop at a local town and the woman said her landlord had offered her a pile of these and she’d turned them down. She gave me his number so my mate Emma drove me to where he worked and there sat a huge pile of records. 800+
He wanted £130 for them but I felt disappointed as I went through- none of the killer hammond organ green sleeved KPMs I was looking for. It was just a pile of Bruton, De Wolfe, Rouge, Hudson, Chappell, Firstcom, Sonoton, etc. My heart sank but I bought them anyway thinking there might be something good in there. At this time it was all about the 60’s kitsch, funky sound- no one was chasing head nodding drama beats.
I got home and started ploughing through them. It sounds stupid but i hadn’t really put two and two together and wasn’t expecting to find all the ‘Prisoner’ tracks I’d wanted but that’s what happened. After my first needle-drop stint I had found 150 ‘Prisoner’ incidental tracks. This was way before YouTube when I only knew one person who had ever found a ‘Prisoner’ track. He had heard some music on a reconstruction of the Carl Bridgewater murder and contacted the production company to see what it was. It was ‘Breaking Out’ from Themes International; initially on LP TIM 1037 ‘Street Level’ but more recently on one of KPMs archival ’60’s & 70’s’ CD releases. I had similarly found ‘Funky Feeling’ from the Bruton BRH 04- ‘Disco Happening’ LP, by calling ITV to ask about the disco music I heard in a ‘Girls On Top’ episode that I’d also heard loads in ‘Prisoner’. I was calling old TV studios, hospitals and the labels themselves trying to get old records. Someone at KPM told me they had skipped ‘several tons’ of vinyl… doesn’t bear thinking about.
I was jumping for joy as a track I LOVED was there amongst the piles and piles of records. ‘Computer Crime’ was a ‘Prisoner’ standard, used multiple times over the years, most notably during a big fight in the 1982 cliffhanger ‘fire’ episode. It had been worth £130.
It was in this haul where I first heard the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ cues too. I found nine or ten LP’s that had music Romero used in this film I loved and had seen again and again. I even faxed De Wolfe about them releasing a soundtrack and they suggested I find a publisher and get back to them. I wish I had as years later the music did get a CD release and do really well. I got offered a lot of money for these DOTD records but kept hold of them. I hooked up with Chris in Pittsburgh via on online forum. He had a handwritten cue sheet for DOTD and between this and my records were able to start putting the soundtrack together. The cue sheet had loads of errors which resulted in me buying a few records (directly from De Wolfe at £18 each at the time) to find there was no Dawn tracks on them. I think Romero had chopped and changed the soundtrack a few times in post production and it gives a flavour of tracks he was considering and threw out. I recorded the tracks and sent to Chris and he compiled a homemade compilation which soon after started being sold online at £25 per CD.
‘Mask of Death’ also appears in episode 375 of ‘Prisoner’! (@7 mins)
Every time I went back I found more and more good stuff. I started listening to the LPs in their own right. The BRI series, many of the De Wolfe LPs I enjoyed having on in the background and I started to record the best stuff on to cassettes.
As MiniDisc took over I was starting to find out where to find records and making MiniDisc compilations and playing them as I walked to and from work. I found ‘Drama Montage’ 1 and 2 at £40 each on a website in the early pre-eBay days of the internet. It seems like a massive amount to pay back then but I had to have them to see what other tracks were on there. I started to think like a music editor and was buying stuff based in the track descriptions or anything that sounded remotely dramatic or suspensey.
At this time I was buying 80’s drama and synth stuff for 50p because people were looking for the killer funk stuff. My mate rightly predicted that all the stuff I was into might become collectable in a few years and people would be chasing it and that’s what happened. Once beat makers and producers started using library music in their tracks people were ravenous for it. I was able to spot obscure library cues in hip hop tracks only because they were so familiar to me from TV shows.
I was buying records from De Wolfe directly (£18) and I bought a copy of every Amphonic for £2.50 each from them directly. Erica Dale found the last ‘Small Group and Synthesizer’ for me behind a large plant pot in their offices, after initially saying every copy had gone.
At the time the Gap ad was using ‘Wild Elephants’ from that LP.
The labels themselves created strews of Kitsch archive CD releases and this led to many commercial released CDs too. I started getting large amounts of records and focused mainly on KPM, Bruton and De Wolfe. I bought loads of records at 50p or a £1 and KPM in particular I had many a small haul of them for a pound a pop. No one wanted the 80’s ones seemingly.
In March 2010, now in my 40’s I started a blog, the first retro-teque and started sharing rips of the records I had. My recordings were awful, flat compressed 128kbps flies but I didn’t know how to do anything else. Back then we were just happy to hear it. I made a load of compilations collating all this stuff I had been listening to for years.
I also, alongside this had a website detailing the ‘Prisoner’ music. http://www.prisonermusiccues.com or something similar. I got bored of doing both and in November 2012 I scrapped them and started a small message forum/ board for library music. At the time I was bouncing between the-breaks, verygoodplus (formerly vinylvultures), ‘The Sweeney’ board, the ‘Prisoner’ board and I wanted one place where I could post an ID request or a shout out for a particular track. I had intended to change the name later and did suggest themoodcreators but people said stick with librarymusicthemes as it did what it said on the tin.
I continue to buy vinyl but on smaller scale. The last haul was only a couple of years back. 180 records for £30 (I did have to drive miles to collect them though). The pictures didn’t look like much but I took a punt.
And what a punt it was.
There is still some good shit out there. This haul bought me so close to a complete KPM set so I just had to go for it. Ever the completest.
The music forum has grown and I never imagined there were 100’s of people who like this stuff. I had only imagined a place with about 30 people who I probably already knew but now with one place to go instead of many.
At 50, I continue to love and learn more about library music. New fans keep coming out of the woodwork and I keep finding new tunes.
At 60, maybe I’ll have a full run of De Wolfes and that elusive Bruton catalogue I wished I’d bought when it came on eBay………
Keep Digging. Keep loving the music!
1 Mini Link 11 – Johnny Pearson
2 The Awakening – Johnny Pearson
3 Cock Of The Roost – D. Jackson
4 A Hippo Called Hubert – Joe Griffiths
5 Mini Movement – Johnny Pearson
6 Glad Gadabout – Johnny Scott
7 Goofy – Cliff John
8 The Free Life – Alan Parker
9 Brass Monkey – John Cameron
10 Chicken Man – Alan Hawkshaw
11 Mini Link 10 – Johnny Pearson
12 The Good Word – Johnny Scott
13 Gala Performance – Laurie Johnson
14 Approaching Menace – Neil Richardson
15 Studio 69 – Alan Hawkshaw
16 Motivation – Alan Parker
17 Darkside – Brian Bennett
18 Summer’s Coming – Keith Mansfield
19 Time Zero – Hervé Roy
20 Mask of Death – Jack Trombey
21 Pop March – Johnny Pearson
22 In Danger – Brian Bennett
23 Unease – David Lindup
24 Funky Sunrise – Duncan Lamont
25 The Plot – Brian Bennett
26 Funky Feeling – Miki Antony/Barry Blue/Tom Parker
27 Riot – Johnny Pearson
28 Industrial Sabotage – Johnny Pearson
29 Fugitive – Johnny Pearson
30 Breaking Out – Ray Russell
31 Computer Crime – George Fenton/ Ken Freeman
32 The Four Winds – Richard Harvey
33 Life Of Leisure – Keith Mansfield
34 Wild Elephants – James Clarke
I’ve always loved two things- unusual films and their soundtracks. When I discovered library music I was amazed to recognise so many tracks; all from old 60’s 70’s films I’d grown up watching.
Around March or April 2010 I made RT 111 – Audio Nasties and then made four more with RT 140 – Audio Nasties 5 being posted up Dec 2010. The ‘Video Nasty’ cover art featured were: Cannibal Man, Bloody Moon, Island of Death, Anthropophagus the Beast & (Don’t Ride On) Late Night Trains.
They were made up of library tracks used in low budget films, video i-dents, commercial soundtracks, etc.
Volume One features music from: The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Beyond the Darkness, Contamination, Shogun Assassin, Sinful Dwarf, Cannibal Ferox, Last House on the Left, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Anthropophagus the Beast, Last House on Dead End Street and lots more.
Volume Two features music from: Russ Meyer films, John Waters’ films, Doris Wishman films, Expose and a stream of Italian ‘nasties’.
Volume Three features music from:Meyer, Romero & more.
You get the picture….
Quality is as trashy as the films themselves ranging from 128 thru 256 with some at 320. These were all done long before I had a better system for recording. One day I will re-do them but someone requested them so here they are as is, circa 2010.
‘Funky Junky’ was an old compilation I did right at the end of, just after the original Retro-Teque or in early 2013.
01 – Django 80 – Glenn Phidick
02 – A Song For An Individual – Simon Park/ J. Roberts
03 – Man In Charge – Bill Loose
04 – Esope – C. Chevalier
05 – City Activity – Johnny Scott
06 – Precinct 86 – Robert Cornford
07 – Pleasure Pulse – Mike Moran
08 – Production Line (b) – Wolfgang Kafer/Koda
09 – Rhythm Stress – Adrian Baker/ Roy Morgan
10 – Funky Ocarina – Reg Wale
11 – Watch the Birdie – D. Faure
12 – Baggage Boy – Ray Davies
13 – The Slink – Johnny Hawksworth
14 – Funky Junky – Paul Rey
15 – Sailing Along – Trevor Bastow
16 – Low Motion – P.Merrick/S.Haseley
17 – So Softly – J.Sherylee
18 – Siamese Cat – Brian Bennett
19 – Creepy Crawley – Harold Smart
20 – Happy Flutes – Johnny Scott
21 – Live Action – Herbert Chappell
22 – Looking For Tomorrow (inst) – Peter Reno
23 – Midnight Theme – C. Monk
24 – Big City – Johnny Hawksworth
25 – Dusky Rhythm – Bunny J. Browne
I started the first Library Music Themes forum (or LMT as it became known) in 2012. I ran it alone for years and invited a couple of others to help with admin; to share it more than for necessity as it wasn’t a lot of work.
When it came to forum 6 the decision was made to invite someone in to help us create a more robust forum that would be less vulnerable. Unfortunately this person helped us and has now booted us all out so I want people to know I no longer run the forum- I have no voice there. If I try to ask about it in a post he doesn’t post it up so I have been silenced on the board I set up nearly 5 years ago. It feels sad to end like this. Years of passion, years of sharing my thoughts, knowledge and rare LP’s has just disappeared. As I can’t be heard on the board I hope some of you will find this post and hear what has happened and know that the person on that board is nothing to do with me. It annoys me to see my banner and the row of De Wolfes as the background pic. These are mine and still my stamp on the place but that is all of me that’s there now unfortunately.
To be clear, I am not asking for anyone’s loyalty. I actually don’t care who runs it so long as it is run respectfully of it’s members. When I was in charge no one was banned, not one post was deleted and I never had a crossed word or nasty PM from or with any member ever. I was totally open and didn’t deal with problems behind closed doors. THAT IS MY ISSUE. I don’t like the locked posts where no one can reply so one person tells everyone how to behave, deletes you if you don’t and keeps the facts from the other members. That is why I am unhappy.
This was the first compilation I made for Retro-Teque in March 2010. It had so many of my favourite tracks from over the years. Back then the records were less available, less was known about the sources and there were still undiscovered gems.
01 – Telex |Derek Scott
02 – Presentation |Johnny Hawksworth
03 – Bases Loaded| John Cameron
04 – Drover |S.Haseley/ E.Marving
05 – Stratos Main Theme |Simon Park
06 – Airport People| James Clarke
08 – Brass Bullet ||Dave Richmond
09 – The Big Climb| Paul Kass
10 – Assault Course| Johnny Pearson
11 – Enterprising Smithy |Barry Stoller
12 – Kogonok| Trevor Duncan
13 – Digitman |G. Borreani
14 – Sight & Sound 7D |Nick Ingman
15 – Hit Man |John Hawkins
16 – Tristar |Andy Clark
17 – Solar Mood |Simon Park
18 – Night Flight |Mike Vickers
19 – Blood On the Flowers |Preston James
20 – Plug In |Frank McDonald /Chris Rae
A home made Rabid soundtrack of about 5 tracks was one of the first original Retro-Teque posts back in 2010. Here’s an upgrade of 17 tracks at 320.
When you first get into library music a wonderful thing occurs….
You pick out a record and drop the needle across the vinyl of unfamiliar titles and artists. Then however suddenly the synapses in your brain are alight with electricity as ‘fucking hell- that was used in ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ comes out of our mouth. You have heard this tune a 100 times and it is lodged right in there.
Your brain holds it and now is the time. It’s here and you have it. Have it to listen to, without the talking over it. Crisp and clear for your hungry ears.
It’s like when hip hop fans pick up some old records and out of the vinyl and into their ears pops a sample they know so, so well but have never heard the source of. It’s an audible thrill.
I have experienced this 100’s of times and some of the fruits are here in this Halloween Mix. Not the usual scary sound mix but if you’re a horror fan with an ear for soundtracks you will recognise some of these….
01 – Telex| Derek Austin (Alpha Films I-dent)
Dialogue- Evil Dead
02 – Pulse of Terror| Lewis Stern (Rabid)
03 – Saturn| Tony Hymas (The Thing trailer)
Dialogue- Rabid trailer
04 – String Machine| Neil Richardson (I Spit On Your Grave trailer)
Dialogue- I Spit On Your Grave trailer
05 – Rooms in a Museum| Eugene Cines (Shivers)
Dialogue- Night of the Living Dead trailer
06 – Cold Sweat|David Lindup (Torso)
Dialogue- Linda Blair:Exorcist
07 – Hippy| Alan Parker (Torso)
Dialogue- Last House On the Left trailer
08 – Nuclunaire| Patrice Sciortino (Rabid)
09 – Darkside| Brian Bennett (Delirium/ Scream For Vengeance)
10 – Mad Puppet| Goblin (Deep Red)
Dialogue- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre trailer
11 – Scarey I| Derek Scott (Dawn of the Dead)
12 – Checkmate| Dick Walter (Intruder)
13 – Time Zone| Herve Roy (Rabid)
Dialogue- Friday the 13th
14 – Dread & Danger| Syd Dale (Deep River Savages trailer)
15 – The City Wakes Up| Ennio Morricone (Cannibal Ferox trailer/ Bird With the Crystal Plumage)
Dialogue- Last House On the Left trailer
16 – Now You’re All Alone| David Hess (Last House On the Left)
17 – Neurotic Bird| Roland DeCande (Dawn of the Dead)
18 – Dawn Odyssey| Dave Fanshawe (Last House on Dead End Street)
Dialogue- Rabid trailer
19 – Trap Door|David Lindup (Rabid/ Kingdom of the Spiders)
20 – Psychopath| Dennis Farnon (Bloody Moon trailer/ Screamtime)
21 – Jazz Charleston| Erik Markman (Evil Dead)