Most Morricone purists will probably view this collection as a sham, but -- as an FYI -- it was released back in 1968 around the time that Hugo Montenegro's version of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" was a chart smash. These versions are really quite excellent. I find myself enjoying these just as much as the originals. The tracks are beautifully arranged with Montenegro's pop flair (organs, guitar, trumpets and stirring albeit dated vocals). In some cases, Montenegro's interpretations are even more punchy and emotional than the originals (I know I'm treading on hallowed ground here). Aside from the above hit single, highlights include the gorgeous rendition of "A Fistful of Dollars", the frenetic, jazz-flavored "Aces High" and the Duane-Eddyish twang on "The Vice of Killing".
I love Morricone's originals, but these versions are just as magnificent. My only complaint is that the album is so short (around 29 minutes...so typical for its time). Hugo Montenegro released another album of western-themed songs around the same time that should have been included.