This CD contains eighty minutes of themes and incidental music written by Barry Gray for Gerry Anderson's TV series of the 1960s and 70s. The CD is accompanied by a generous and colourful set of sleevenotes comprising fourteen pages about the series and the music, but not enough about Gray himself and how he came to write for Anderson.
I was born in 1965, so for me this CD was purchased for the music from `Thunderbirds' and thereafter. But Gray's musical style is clearly evident right near the beginning in his work for `Supercar' (1961), where riffs from the title song would appear later in music written for `Thunderbirds'. Similarly, a four-note sequence in the music for `Stingray' often appeared in `Space 1999'. But Gray was no mere musical regurgitator, as he clearly continued to come up with some great themes in differing styles and arrangements that suited the period when each series was first conceived: in this way, he was always hip!
Although many of the earlier tracks are in mono, remastering has done wonders for the sound quality. I was disappointed to find that the `Thunderbirds' set on this CD does not include the theme used when the boys get into their ships, but at least I have a thrillingly-arranged version recorded by Geoff Love and his orchestra on his `Star Wars & Other Space Themes'. (And I consider that Geoff Love's arrangement of the `UFO' theme is actually better than the original.)
For the second series of `Space 1999', the producers brought in Barry Wadsworth to provide a new theme. That music too is very good, but somehow - as with much else of that second series - the changes made meant that something was missing. Barry Gray was thus the auditory `face' of Anderson's programmes, and was just as much a genius as many of the rest of the technical team.