Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chart Song Cinema: Sometimes a Great Notion (1970)

"All His Children" (1971) - Charley Pride with Henry Mancini
Written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Henry Mancini
LP: Sometimes a Great Notion (soundtrack)
45: "All His Children" / "You'll Still Be the One
Producer: Jack Clement
Label: Decca (LP); RCA (45)
Charts: Billboard Hot 100 (#92); Billboard country (#2)

The 1971 Paul Newman film Sometimes a Great Notion (which had the much better overseas title of Never Give an Inch) put Ken Kesey's Oregon logging novel, with its gorgeous fir trees and coastal scenery, to the big screen. If early seventies media tended to splash its feet in post-sixties cultural bewilderment, this film submerged itself, with every development—all the way to the closing credits—feeling like a gasping lunge through political and interpersonal complexity. Charley Pride's theme song, written by composers who excelled in memorability, was surprisingly forgettable, and the odd paired billing of Pride and Mancini (who also gave his arrangement scoopfuls of stock background vocals) only added to the entire project's murkiness. What makes "All His Children" special, though, is Pride's final note, which sputters with knowing exasperation. (Cross-posted at The Song ID Blog) ("All His Children")

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