MUSIC FOR MONSTERS, MUNSTERS, MUMMIES & OTHER TV FIENDS / ARTIST: MILTON DELUGG & HIS ORCHESTRA / LABEL: REAL GONE MUSIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
For the last few decades, the only way to hear Milton Delugg and His Orchestra's 1964 LP, Music for Monsters, Munsters, Mummies & Other TV Fiends, was to either pay outrageous second-hand prices or to track down any number of iffy bootlegs releases. Thankfully, Real Gone Music has reissued the album on vinyl for the first time ever, just in time for Halloween.
While modern listeners have become accustomed to television scores and theme music receiving deluxe releases, featuring as much of the programs' music being available as possible, far fewer such things occurred in the 60s. While one might've been lucky enough to snag full LPs of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or Mr. Lucky, that was due more to the fame of the composers – Hugo Montenegro and Henry Mancini, respectively – than the programs themselves.
Thus, it fell to any number of orchestras or session bands to recreate the music of television theme songs for albums such as this. There was the occasional LP chockablock with nothing but thematically-similar TV themes such as Mundell Lowe And His All Stars' TV Action Jazz!, with eight tracks all centered around action-oriented programs of the time, granted. However, even Neal Hefti's Batman theme was the only actual piece of music from the 60s program included on the LP. The other eleven “Hefti Bat Songs” are just standard pop instrumentals of the era, with slight nods to the theme song's guitar riff.
And so we come to Music for Monsters, Munsters, Mummies & Other TV Fiends, which is a combination of TV Action Jazz! and the Batman theme LP, as well as something else entirely.
There are five theme songs on the record: The Munsters, The Addams Family, Bewitched, Alfred Hitchcock Presents – better known as Charles Gounod's “Funeral March of a Marionette” – and The Outer Limits, along with seven monster motifs based around the classic creatures such as Dracula, mummies, and ghouls.
The Munsters theme is slowed down and presented almost as a cha-cha, while the Addams Family theme gets a big, brassy update, making it something akin to Charles Addams by way of My Three Sons or The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Bewitched is turned into a slice of classy cocktail jazz. The Hitchcock and Outer Limits themes are played mostly straight, but definitely bigger and bolder than the originals.
The originals are where Delugg and his merry band of musicians really shine, however. It's especially on “Theme For The Creature From Under The Sea” that the band really gets a chance to go for broke. The song is absolutely gorgeous, and the Bass VI guitar gets this wonderfully liquid reverb, sounding as if it were recorded underwater. It's an exotica gem, and the highlight of the album
The Real Gone reissue was pressed to 900 copies of “Ghoulish Green” vinyl, which is a nicely ghastly green splatter. As with much of Real Gone's reissues, it features a straight reproduction of the original sleeve. That's a good thing, given that the Jack Davis cover art is so absolutely wonderful. It's busy in the best possible way, giving the listener something to really examine as the record spins by. The record was mastered at 45rpm, giving the grooves a little more room to breathe, and it sounds absolutely excellent.