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on 10 August 2014
I was nobbut a lad when the first wave of spies hit screens in the sixties, I missed out on watching but remember being caught up in the residual excitement - the glossy 'Man From UNCLE' annual at the bottom of my christmas shopping. I got the same sense of childish glee when this CD dropped through my door - it's beautifully packaged and presented with extensive sleeve notes. But the content left me feeling disappointed and here's why. 'High Wire' (Theme from 'Danger Man') and the 'Man From UNCLE' theme here are not the originals. No big deal I suppose but the originals sounded so much better - likewise the James Bond theme is by 'Johnny and the Hurricanes' who get the twangy guitar intro right but when the brass section is meant to explode into the main theme, the band here attempt to play it on what sounds like a Stylophone. Which is just wrong. And it doesn't mention anything on the track listing that these aren't originals - I impulsively went with the purchase without checking. On the plus side we do get the original of the 'Mission Impossible' theme which can still send chills down my spine. And John Barry is featured elsewhere on the theme from the 'Ipcress File' which sounds effortlessly cool and a great choice for intro. 'The Look of Love' is another positive, as the sleeve notes point out from the film 'Casino Royale' (the first one) which was famously bad but the music was great. Which makes me think why not include the Bacharach 'Theme from Casino Royale' here as well which would have been fantastic. There are other great sixties spy themes missing which would have been worth an extra star if they'd been included, such as The Saint, Man in a Suitcase and The Avengers (possibly The Champions, Joe 90 and The Prisoner although it's a matter of opinion whether they were 'spies'). 'Wednesdays Child' (theme from 'Quiller Memordandum' is a pretty tune but the lyrics are fairly morose and not really much to do with spying. Matt Munro's girlfriend has left him so he moans he's 'Wednesday's child - full of woe - born to be alone' which won't get him any sympathy down the pub. The Supreme's 'Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine' is apparently the theme from a movie I don't remember seeing but it sounds hysterical and right up my street. According to the lyrics Dr. Goldfoot is a kind of mad scientist who has invented a machine which can make attractive bikini-clad girls out of nowhere. "The cutest girl in the whole wide world - and she behaves - just like a slave!" The Supremes refused to appear on stage at the Palladium with the Black + White Minstrels back in the sixties - they clearly didn't have the same principles about feminism. The rest of the CD appears mainly about whimsy (the theme from 'Get Smart' I assume is meant to be amusing but out of context sounds odd), and Shirley Bassey impersonators (Bassey impersonates herself on 'The Liquidator' and Susan Vaughan unwisely and clumsily tries to crowbar lyrics onto the 'Peter Gunn' theme). 25 tracks is good value and it does recapture the spirit and glamour of the spy genre's birth, but it could have been so much better.
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Featuring 25 spy-themed tracks from the cinema and TV of the Sixties when the world was obsessed with the very real threat presented by the Cold War, this is first class compilation from Ace Records. Given that it's not genre themed in a music sense, there are are many different styles of music on offer. From the seductive pop of Dusty Springfield's 'The Look of Love' to the icy cool of John Barry's 'A Man Alone' via a couple of Motown cuts from The Supremes and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and some big orchestral and easy listening tracks (and a healthy helping of kitsch!), there really is something for everyone. Perfectly sequenced and featuring extensive liner notes with reproduction images of film posters and record covers, it's an enjoyable and memorable 62 minute mission.
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I brought this cd not knowing the majority of tracks on it but more than this the ones I did know I thought I hated, so why did I by it? Is it because it has great front cover artwork and design, is it because you’re always guaranteed fantastic sound quality with any ‘Ace’ release and a great accompanying booklet. The answer is yes to both of those and what’s life without a gamble or two.
This compilation is the most ‘enjoyable’- not the best, greatest or musically world changing, just simply enjoyable. Packed with Themes/instrumentals which I normally hate but the ones included here are truly fantastic, which I had forgotten. The theme tunes to ‘Mission: Impossible’ and the ‘Bond’ theme are outstanding of course. Many of the vocal tracks are equally enjoyable – ‘Last of the secret agents’ by Nancy Sinatra, ‘Where the bullets fly’ by Susan Maughan, ‘The silencers’ by Vicki Carr (although I do prefer Patti Seymour’s version). Two really enjoyable tracks from Motown’s finest – ‘Dr. Goldfoot…’ by The Supremes and the title track by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Others from The Walker Bros the ever great Matt Monro are also very good. Overall, the compilation flows very well from one track to another, put it on and simply enjoy. Highly recommended (a surprise indeed) 10/10.
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I have to admit as a Bond devotee and lover of anything remotely I Spy/Secret Agent (or spoof of the same for that matter) - I was licking my chops in glee at this beautifully presented Ace Records CD compilation (best Audio too). And while there's so much to enjoy on here - I'd warn against over-excitement because in my view the replacement of original themes with lesser-known versions has in some cases shot the MI5 Jetpack Agent in the head. Here are the 005½ details first...

UK released March 2014 - "Come Spy With Us: The Secret Agent Songbook..." on Ace Records CDCHD 1392 (Barcode 029667058421) gadgets out as follows (61:56 minutes):

1. A Man Alone (Theme From "The Ipcress File") - JOHN BARRY & HIS ORCHESTRA (1965 UK 7" single on CBS Records 201747, A)
2. Deadlier Than The Male (Title Song From The Film "Deadlier Than The Male") - THE WALKER BROTHERS (1966 UK 7" single on Philips BF 137, A)
3. Arabesque (From The Film "Arabesque") - THE VENTURES (1966 USA 7" single on Dolton 321, A)
4. The Look Of Love (Theme From "Casino Royale") - DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (1967 UK 7" single on Philips BF 1557, A)
5. Theme From "Danger Man" - THE RED PRICE COMBO with Orchestra (1962 UK 7" single on Parlophone 45-R 4789, A)
6. The Silencers (From The Movie "The Silencers") - VICKI CARR (1966 USA 7" single on Liberty 55857, A)
7. Secret Agent Man - AL CAIOLA (from the 1965 US Stereo LP "Al Caiola...Sounds For Spies And Private Eyes" on United Artists UAS 6435)
8. Who Needs Forever (Theme From "The Deadly Affair") - ASTRUD GILBERTO (1966 US 7" single on Verve 10457, A)
9. Theme From The Man From Uncle - THE CHALLENGERS (1965 USA 7" single on GNOP Crescendo 362, A)
10. The Last Of The Secret Agents (From The Film "The Last Of The Secret Agents") - NANCY SINATRA (1966 USA 7" single on Reprise 0461, A)
11. Mission: Impossible - LALO SCHIFRIN & HIS ORCHESTRA (1968 USA 7" single on Dot 17059, A)
12. Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine (Theme From The Film) - THE SUPREMES (1965 USA 7" single on American International 65-1335, A)
13. Our Man Flint - BILLY STRANGE (1966 USA 7" single on GNP Crescendo 367, A)
14. Wednesday's Child (Theme From "The Quiller Memorandum") - MATT MONRO (1967 USA 7" single on Capitol 5823, A)
15. Theme From "Get Smart" - BOB CRANE, HIS DRUMS & ORCHESTRA (1968 USA 7" single on Epic 5-10038, B-side of "Happy Feet")
16. We Should've (Theme From "Modesty Blaise") - CLEO LANE & RAY ELLINGTON (1966 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 704, A)
17. The James Bond Theme (Dr No) - JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES (1963 USA 7" single on Big Top 3148, A)
18. Burke's Law Theme - WYNTON KELLY (1963 UK 7" single on Verve VS 518, A)
19. Where The Bullets Fly - SUSAN MAUGHAN (1966 UK 7" single on Philips BF 1518, A)
20. High Wire (Theme From "Danger Man") - BRIAN FAHEY & HIS ORCHESTRA (from the 1967 UK LP "Time For TV" on Columbia Studio 2 TWO 175)
21. Bye-Bye (Theme From "Peter Gunn") - SARAH VAUGHAN (1965 USA 7" single on Mercury 72417, B-side of "The Pawnbroker")
22. Theme From "Where The Spies Are" - JIMMY SMITH (1966 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10382, A)
23. The Liquidator - SHIRLEY BASSEY (1966 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7811, A)
24. I Spy - ROLAND SHAW & HIS ORCHESTRA (from the 1966 UK LP "Themes For Secret Agents" on Decca Phase 4 Stereo PFS 4094)
25. Come Spy With Me - SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES (1967 USA 7" single on Tamla T 54145, A)
Tracks 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 23 and 25 are MONO
Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 20 to 22 and 24 are STEREO

The 24-page booklet is beautifully laid out - crammed to periscope depth full of Spy Novels, Sixties Paperbacks, Film Posters, label repros of original 45's from the UK and US (even a Japanese issue of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.") and period evocative Sheet Music. Inbetween all that visual richness is superlative and informative liner notes by long-time archivist TONY ROUNCE who has for my money written some of his best descriptions on records and their murky history here (and that's saying something). The attention to detail is stunning. If you take the artwork for the CD and look to the top left - they've changed GREAT PAN from the paperback cover of Casino Royale into GREAT ACE as a very clever homage to the iconic artwork of the Swinging Sixties (the paperback is featured in the booklet). Every page is a feast. The rear is a full-colour plate of the "A Man Alone" sheet music showing Michael Caine in Harry Saltzman's film adaptation of Len Deighton's "The Ipcress File". The business as ever from Ace...

We should talk about the audio quality - this may indeed be the 'best' sounding Ace Records CD I've heard in nearly 10 years of reviewing (the audio is off the charts good for most tracks) and compiler Tony Rounce/Remaster Engineer Nick Robbins have made some genius choices in the sequencing too. But as a downside it's worth reiterating what I said earlier. When you go to the Bond Theme - it's not the John Barry original but a crap take from Johnny & The Hurricanes - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme isn't Hugo Montenegro but the lesser Challengers version and Patrick McGoohan's Danger Man is by Red Price and not the Bob Leaper version we all know and love. And the two Soul inclusions of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Supremes sound utterly ludicrous, forced and out of place instead of being fun or even good (others may love them and want them for sheer rarity value). Edwin Astley's "Danger Man" used in 47 episodes between 1964 and 1968 isn't used - but as Rounce explains it wasn't available for licensing. And I suspect that this may have been the case for many of the bigger names and tunes.

Having said that goodies include Bob Crane's slyly hip "Get Smart", Lalo Schifrin's cool masterpiece "Mission: Impossible", Bacharach's gorgeous "The Look Of Love" and the so Sixties opener "The Ipcress File" by the incomparable John Barry - all fabulous. But I would have preferred anything from "You Only Live Twice" rather than Nancy Sinatra's half-hearted "The Last Of The Secret Agents". Better is "Secret Agent Man" by Al Caiola (the American name for the "Danger Man" TV Series) and Matt Monro's version "Wednesday's Child" from "The Quiller Memorandum" (by John Barry) sounds unbelievably good too. Unexpected gems include Sarah Vaughan's lyrically sassy version of the Henri Mancini instrumental "Peter Gunn" theme and the witty "Modesty Blaise" theme sung by Cleo Lane and Ray Ellington clearly enjoying their inner secret agent. The Roland Shaw full-on Sixties Jazz and Strings version of "I Spy" is a blast too.

What a ride! Upon my Blofeld Dug Out Volcanic Lair but I'm looking forward to Volume 2. And should Ace Records choose to accept their mission - for round two we'd like more John Barry - say "Here Comes Nancy Now!" from "The Knack" or "Little Nellie" from "You Only Live Twice", maybe "Hawaii Five-O" by The Ventures, "Thinking Of Baby" by Elmer Bernstein ("Staccato" US TV Theme) with "Search For Vulcan" by Leroy Holmes (an instrumental Bond mimic) and of course Lalo Schifrin's stunning "Bullitt" theme - to name but a few. I'm sure they're working on their Aston Martin DB9 of a CD as we speak.

Did you know that Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) had to weekly fight the diabolical forces of Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (T.H.R.U.S.H.)? I can tell you now that James Bond's women had to fight THRUSH on a daily basis too. But we won't go into that. See you next time around 007...
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I have to admit as a Bond devotee and lover of anything remotely I Spy/Secret Agent (or spoof of the same for that matter) - I was licking my chops in glee at this beautifully presented Ace Records CD compilation (best Audio too). And while there's so much to enjoy on here - I'd warn against over-excitement because in my view the replacement of original themes with lesser-known versions has in some cases shot the MI5 Jetpack Agent in the head. Here are the 005½ details first...

UK released March 2014 - "Come Spy With Us: The Secret Agent Songbook..." by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 1392 (Barcode 029667058421) gadgets out as follows (61:56 minutes):

1. A Man Alone (Theme From "The Ipcress File") - JOHN BARRY & HIS ORCHESTRA (1965 UK 7" single on CBS Records 201747, A)
2. Deadlier Than The Male (Title Song From The Film "Deadlier Than The Male" - THE WALKER BROTHERS (1966 UK 7" single on Philips BF 137, A)
3. Arabesque (From The Film "Arabesque") - THE VENTURES (1966 USA 7" single on Dolton 321, A)
4. The Look Of Love (Theme From "Casino Royale") - DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (1967 UK 7" single on Philips BF 1557, A)
5. Theme From "Danger Man" - THE RED PRICE COMBO with Orchestra (1962 UK 7" single on Parlophone 45-R 4789, A)
6. The Silencers (From The Movie "The Silencers") - VICKI CARR (1966 USA 7" single on Liberty 55857, A)
7. Secret Agent Man - AL CAIOLA (from the 1965 US Stereo LP "Al Caiola...Sounds For Spies And Private Eyes" on United Artists UAS 6435)
8. Who Needs Forever (Theme From "The Deadly Affair") - ASTRUD GILBERTO (1966 US 7" single on Verve 10457, A)
9. Theme From The Man From Uncle - THE CHALLENGERS (1965 USA 7" single on GNOP Crescendo 362, A)
10. The Last Of The Secret Agents (From The Film "The Last Of The Secret Agents") - NANCY SINATRA (1966 USA 7" single on Reprise 0461, A)
11. Mission: Impossible - LALO SCHIFRIN & HIS ORCHESTRA (1968 USA 7" single on Dot 17059, A)
12. Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine (Theme From The Film) - THE SUPREMES (1965 USA 7" single on American International 65-1335, A)
13. Our Man Flint - BILLY STRANGE (1966 USA 7" single on GNP Crescendo 367, A)
14. Wednesday's Child (Theme From "The Quiller Memorandum") - MATT MONRO (1967 USA 7" single on Capitol 5823, A)
15. Theme From "Get Smart" - BOB CRANE, HIS DRUMS & ORCHESTRA (1968 USA 7" single on Epic 5-10038, B-side of "Happy Feet")
16. We Should've (Theme From "Modesty Blaise") - CLEO LANE & RAY ELLINGTON (1966 UK 7" single on Fontana TF 704, A)
17. The James Bond Theme (Dr No) - JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES (1963 USA 7" single on Big Top 3148, A)
18. Burke's Law Theme - WYNTON KELLY (1963 UK 7" single on Verve VS 518, A)
19. Where The Bullets Fly - SUSAN MAUGHAN (1966 UK 7" single on Philips BF 1518, A)
20. High Wire (Theme From "Danger Man") - BRIAN FAHEY & HIS ORCHESTRA (from the 1967 UK LP "Time For TV" on Columbia Studio 2 TWO 175)
21. Bye-Bye (Theme From "Peter Gunn") - SARAH VAUGHAN (1965 USA 7" single on Mercury 72417, B-side of "The Pawnbroker")
22. Theme From "Where The Spies Are" - JIMMY SMITH (1966 USA 7" single on Verve VK 10382, A)
23. The Liquidator - SHIRLEY BASSEY (1966 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7811, A)
24. I Spy - ROLAND SHAW & HIS ORCHESTRA (from the 1966 UK LP "Themes For Secret Agents" on Decca Phase 4 Stereo PFS 4094)
25. Come Spy With Me - SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES (1967 USA 7" single on Tamla T 54145, A)
Tracks 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 23 and 25 are MONO
Tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 20 to 22 and 24 are STEREO

The 24-page booklet is beautifully laid out - crammed to periscope depth full of Spy Novels, Sixties Paperbacks, Film Posters, label repros of original 45's from the UK and US (even a Japanese issue of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.") and period evocative Sheet Music. Inbetween all that visual richness is superlative and informative liner notes by long-time archivist TONY ROUNCE who has for my money written some of his best descriptions on records and their murky history here (and that's saying something). The attention to detail is stunning. If you take the artwork for the CD and look to the top left - they've changed GREAT PAN from the paperback cover of Casino Royale into GREAT ACE as a very clever homage to the iconic artwork of the Swinging Sixties (the paperback is featured in the booklet). Every page is a feast. The rear is a full-colour plate of the "A Man Alone" sheet music showing Michael Caine in Harry Saltzman's film adaptation of Len Deighton's "The Ipcress File". The business as ever from Ace...

We should talk about the audio quality - this may indeed be the 'best' sounding Ace Records CD I've heard in nearly 10 years of reviewing (the audio is off the charts good for most tracks) and compiler Tony Rounce/Remaster Engineer Nick Robbins have made some genius choices in the sequencing too. But as a downside it's worth reiterating what I said earlier. When you go to the Bond Theme - it's not the John Barry original but a crap take from Johnny & The Hurricanes - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme isn't Hugo Montenegro but the lesser Challengers version and Patrick McGoohan's Danger Man is by Red Price and not the Bob Leaper version we all know and love. And the two Soul inclusions of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Supremes sound utterly ludicrous, forced and out of place instead of being fun or even good (others may love them and want them for sheer rarity value). Edwin Astley's "Danger Man" used in 47 episodes between 1964 and 1968 isn't used - but as Rounce explains it wasn't available for licensing. And I suspect that this may have been the case for many of the bigger names and tunes.

Having said that goodies include Bob Crane's slyly hip "Get Smart", Lalo Schifrin's cool masterpiece "Mission: Impossible", Bacharach's gorgeous "The Look Of Love" and the so Sixties opener "The Ipcress File" by the incomparable John Barry - all fabulous. But I would have preferred anything from "You Only Live Twice" rather than Nancy Sinatra's half-hearted "The Last Of The Secret Agents". Better is "Secret Agent Man" by Al Caiola (the American name for the "Danger Man" TV Series) and Matt Monro's version "Wednesday's Child" from "The Quiller Memorandum" (by John Barry) sounds unbelievably good too. Unexpected gems include Sarah Vaughan's lyrically sassy version of the Henri Mancini instrumental "Peter Gunn" theme and the witty "Modesty Blaise" theme sung by Cleo Lane and Ray Ellington clearly enjoying their inner secret agent. The Roland Shaw full-on Sixties Jazz and Strings version of "I Spy" is a blast too.

What a ride! Upon my Blofeld Dug Out Volcanic Lair but I'm looking forward to Volume 2. And should Ace Records choose to accept their mission - for round two we'd like more John Barry - say "Here Comes Nancy Now!" from "The Knack" or "Little Nellie" from "You Only Live Twice", maybe "Hawaii Five-O" by The Ventures, "Thinking Of Baby" by Elmer Bernstein ("Staccato" US TV Theme) with "Search For Vulcan" by Leroy Holmes (an instrumental Bond mimic) and of course Lalo Schifrin's stunning "Bullitt" theme - to name but a few. I'm sure they're working on their Aston Martin DB9 of a CD as we speak.

Did you know that Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll from the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) had to weekly fight the diabolical forces of Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (T.H.R.U.S.H.)? I can tell you now that James Bond's women had to fight THRUSH on a daily basis too. But we won't go into that. See you next time around 007...
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on 28 April 2014
TONY ROUNCE NEEDS TO BE CONGRATULATED FOR COMPILING THIS WONDERFUL CD OVER AN HOUR OF 25 GREAT TRACKS FRM 60S IN GREAT SOUND.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 10/10
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on 17 July 2014
Memories prompted this purchase as I had an LP Vinyl of similar tracks. Most of the tracks were very good and matched my memories if the old LP. A good purchase
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on 26 July 2014
A different compilation but well worth adding to your collection.
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on 22 August 2016
Excellent product and service
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on 15 October 2014
love music would recommend
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