“Secret Reunion”: Dainty, Angelic

How interesting (though not surprising) to learn that the vocalist on the previous track by Ennio Morricone is the same one featured here on this tinkly and mesmerizing instrumental – “Secret Reunion (Lucky Theme)” – from Bruno Nicolai‘s soundtrack for an Italian spy thriller in the James Bond style, Agente Speciale:

“Secret Reunion (Lucky Theme)”     1967     Bruno Nicolai

These soprano vocals, described by Richie Unterberger as “dainty, angelic easy listening,” belong to Edda Dell’Orso and can be found on Chris Barrus‘s revolutionary 166-song mix of sounds from 1967.

Agente Speciale LP

Zero to 180 tags this song as a “vocal instrumental

“My Name is Nobody”: Soundtrack for a Cipher

I would love to know exactly how Ennio Morricone instructed his vocalists to yip and mew and emit all sorts of silly sounds, as on the title track to the 1973 Sergio Leone film, Il Mio Nome è Nessuno (My Name Is Nobody):

Vimeo lists musician credits for this soundtrack album – including a whistler, I love it:

Voice: Edda Dell ‘Orso & Franco Cosacchi

Whistle: Alessandro Alessandroni

Choir:  I Cantori Moderni Di Alessandroni

Flute: Marianne Eckstein

Mouth Organ: Franco De Lelio

Trumpet: Gino Agostinelli

Guitar: Bruno Battisti D’Amario

12 Strings Guitar: Silvano Chimenti

Piano & Keyboards: Arnaldo Graziosi

Synthesizer: Giorgio Carnini

Percussions: Vincenzo Restuccia


Henry Fonda plays an aging gunslinger who wants to retire peacefully in Europe

Il Mio Nome e Nessuno album cover

Zero to 180 is delighted and honored to have received a message from Silvano Chimenti, – Italian guitarist, composer and conductor, who played on this recording – in October, 2019 that you will find appended to this piece (in Italian).  Thanks to Zero to 180’s mother, who provided the following translation:

“Finally something written exact … Indeed in the main theme that accompanies almost all the film, the guitar and a 12 ACOUSTIC string (not an electric) Ed and The Allegro Folk Arpeggio was invented by me, the theme was directed by the great BRUNO NICOLAI.  I believe in the International Recording Studio.  Thank you!”

Bruno Nicolai’s mesmering “Secret Reunion” — from the soundtrack album for the 1967 Italian spy thriller, Agente Speciale — coincidentally enough, happens to be the subject of Zero to 180’s very next piece, you might recall.

Light in the Attic – a ’boutique’ record label famous for “deluxe album reissues” – reissued Ennio Morricone’s 1973 soundtrack album on black vinyl with new artwork, including a poster with flyers and lobby cards, “especially released for Record Store Day 2015.”

“Tar and Cement”: Eco-Soul or Soul-Folk?

In the course of putting together a funk & soul mix, I previewed for consideration the songs on a 1960s Capitol Records compilation album entitled, Super Soul-Dees!  Volume 2:

Super Soul-Dees LP

One song in particular seemed to stand apart from the other tracks:  “Tar and Cement” by Verdelle Smith.  Certainly, Capitol’s 1960s soul roster skewed toward the pop end of the spectrum, but even this tune caught me by surprise with its folk-y sound and especially its lyric:  a cautionary tale about the deep hit to the spirit that can occur when we convert nature’s beautiful landscapes into urban spaces.

As it turns out, “Tar and Cement” is an English-language version of an Italian pop song, “Il ragazzo della via Gluck,” originally sung by Adriano Celentano.  Both songs were released in 1966, and Verdelle Smith’s version even went Top 40 here in the States — although you never hear it on oldies radio.  Why is that, I wonder – it’s a beautiful vocal and great tune:

“Tar and Cement”     Verdelle Smith     1966

Based on this Australian’s first-hand account, it would appear to be true that Verdelle’s version, indeed, really did go all the way to the top of the National pop charts in Australia.  “Tar and Cement,” after its initial 1966 single release, indeed, would be the title track of a 1967 EP release in Australia, as well as New Zealand.  EMI/Capitol would even release the song in Africa — says 45Cat:  “Rhodesia chart entry (within the Top 10) 21 January 1967 with a #3 peak.  South Africa chart entry 23 September 1966 with a #15 peak.”

Australian EP                                         New Zealand EP

Verdelle Smith bio from reverse side of EP

ABC Adelaide‘s investigative team, “the Baldies” — who had previously located Melanie Coe (young lady who inspired the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home“), Dolores Erickson (model on the cover of Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass’s Whipped Cream album), and Ronnie Rondell (the man on fire on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album — tracked down Verdelle Smith in 2008 [includes audio of their conversation].

Verdelle Smith

Bonus video link to cover version by Françoise Hardy