Bond Back in Action
Artist: Nic Raine
Genre: Film Soundtrack
Year: 1999
Record Label: Silva Screen Records, Ltd.

SSD-1100 (1999). Various themes from the James Bond films Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever. Music composed by Monty Norman, John Barry; arranged and conducted by Nic Raine. Stereo. CD running time: 74:14

Damned Rodan's Album Review

Rating (out of 5): 

The 60s and early 70s saw a number of "cover" versions of the James Bond themes on LP, some of them quite kitschy; the best of them was surely The Return of James Bond by Roland Shaw and his orchestra. It featured not only the main themes from the Bond movies but a significant amount of incidental music (as well as a few themes from other spy films)—a bonus that could rarely be found on other albums. Bond Back in Action is quite reminiscent of the latter, although it seems to lack some of the Shaw orchestra's finesse. Conductor Nic Raine has reconstructed the music to interesting effect (the original score manuscripts have been lost, according to the CD notes); most of the tracks differ somewhat from their original recordings, usually just enough to make them interesting in their own right; for what it's worth, none of them would ever be mistaken for the real things. At the time this album was recorded, the previously unreleased tracks were quite a novelty; now that the remastered original soundtracks are available, the novelty lies more in the musical interpretations by Nic Raine than in the presence of the tracks themselves.

The initial idea for Bond Back in Action was to record previously unreleased selections from the Bond scores, but the producers decided that this approach would not be commercially feasible. Therefore, they opted to incorporate numerous unreleased tracks and some of the more "popular" cuts into suites—an effect that, on the whole, works rather well. Bond Back in Action 2, which covers music from the Moore years through GoldenEye is also available, but I do not yet have it for review.

The recording quality of Bond Back in Action is generally good, although the orchestra occasionally seems to stumble—something you'd never hear on an official soundtrack release. However, Vic Flick himself, guitarist for the original James Bond theme, makes an appearance on this album to reprise his solo. The Bond theme is nicely done, if somewhat sparse-sounding compared to the original. And the unreleased cuts from Dr. No still stand out as unique, since the remastered soundtrack does not include new material.

Several of the pieces are quite faithful to the original, especially the full-bodied arrangements from Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. The tracks from From Russia With Love seem to be the weakest, most being played at a faster and more erratic pace than the originals. Every now and then, the orchestra hits an off-key note in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, most notably in "Gumbold's Safe Break" and "Bond Meets the Girls" which—until the recent remastered CD—had never been heard on an album before. Still, the cuts are entertaining and I have to give the producers credit for caring enough about the incidental tracks that have been essentially "lost" over the years. The album ends with an excellent instrumental of the title theme from Diamonds Are Forever.

The CD comes in an all red case and contains a booklet with notes on each movie and some information about the soundtrack cuts. It makes for an intelligent, listenable package, and—until recently—the only source for some of the Bond film music without dialogue and sound effects in the bargain. 

CD Tracks
*Previously unrecorded

Dr. No (Monty Norman)
1.  The James Bond Theme — Featuring Vic Flick (Guitar)
2.  Dr. No Suite: Death of the Tarantula*/Killing the Guard*/Death of Dr. No*


From Russia With Love (John Barry)
3.  Main Title (Lionel Bart/John Barry/Monty Norman)
4.  The Zagreb Express*/Gypsy Camp
5.  The Golden Horn
6.  Girl Trouble
7.  007 Takes the Lektor


Goldfinger (John Barry)
8.  Into Miami/Alpine Drive
9.  Dawn Raid at Fort Knox


Thunderball (John Barry)
10.  The Bomb/Cafe Martinique (Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
11.  Fight on the Disco Volante/Death of Largo-Finale


You Only Live Twice (John Barry)
12.  Bond's Funeral*/The Human Torpedo*/Mountains and Sunsets
13.  The Wedding/James Bond Averts World War III/Capsule in Space


On Her Majesty's Secret Service (John Barry)
14.  This Never Happened to the Other Fellow/Gumbold's Safe Break*
15.  Bond Meets the Girls*/Who Will Buy My Yesterdays?
16.  Escape From Piz Gloria and the Ski Chase*


Diamonds Are Forever (John Barry)
17.  Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd*/Moon Buggy Ride
18.  Blofeld's Laser*/Killing Wint and Kidd*
19.  Diamonds Are Forever