Soundtrack to Star Trek: The Motion Picture | Inside Star Trek
This two-CD set should greatly please fans of the late Gene Roddenberry, the original “Star Trek” TV series and the first Trek film. Disc One includes an expanded release of Jerry Goldsmith’s grand orchestral soundtrack to the 1979 feature film (nominated for a “Best Original Score” Oscar in 1979), in celebration of its 20th anniversary. An additional eight tracks (25 minutes) of music not available on the original release of the soundtrack are included. Disc two is a never-before-available on CD rerelease of Inside Star Trek, a 1976 spoken word “documentary” album that, among other things, finds series creator Gene Roddenberry interviewing William Shatner on his relationship with Captain Kirk, and interviewing Spock’s father Sarek (in character) on the origins of his half-human, half Vulcan son.
Much of the disc was recorded in front of a live audience with Roddenberry discussing “Star Trek” and other television projects. Also of interest to science fiction fans is Roddenberry’s six-minute interview with the late Isaac Asimov about “Star Trek” and writing science fiction. One of the best moments on the disc though, is Roddenberry’s comical take on letters from network censors. To describe to the audience what sort of memos he used to get from the network about scripts for “Star Trek,” Roddenberry reads a fictional letter from a censor on a television production of “The Bible” where the censor takes issue with the actions of the “God” character, of his son “practicing medicine without a license” and more. The disc is introduced and closed with newly recorded messages by Nichelle Nichols (Lt. uhura) who proclaims that Roddenberry was a “visionary of the future” who “left us a legacy of hope, hope and belief that humankind would rise to moral heights matching their technological achievements.”
Midnight Oil’s hour in the radio sun with “Beds Are Burning” and “Blue Sky Mine” is now nearly a decade in the past, but a few weeks ago the band released a new album that has some of the best rockin’ guitar riffs they’ve ever jammed on. Redneck Wonderland finds a surprisingly vibrant Midnight Oil seeking to reinvent its sound and the result is tighter guitar crunches and vocalist Peter Garrett melding his distinctive voice more comfortably (and contemporarily-sounding) into the mix.
The title track is one of the best rock jams this reviewer has heard in months and “Concrete” would stand in with the best of the current industrial/grunge bands. But Midnight Oil isn’t a band of youngsters anymore, and they don’t sustain that kind of manic energy throughout this entire disc. “Drop In The Ocean” includes a full orchestral treatment and “Cemetery In My Mind” sounds like a vintage mid-tempo Oil anthem, with an underpinning of social commentary that’s perhaps a little more subtle than their usual when Garrett sings: “locked in the mall in a state of fright/looking for salvation in a car headlight/but you can’t have what you can’t buy.” Much of this album, in fact, deals with the damning homogeneity of humanity’s sprawl, from “Redneck Wonderland”’s complaint that “the streets are clean, nothing gets away/I can see the beauty treatment draining from your face” to “Concrete”’s cry that “Cement fingers, they are clutching/the emissary of trash decorates the way/no wild acres you can see, yearning to breathe/concrete you don’t free my soul.”
The disc also includes two songs previously released on the band’s greatest hits compilation of 1997, “White Skin Black Heart” and “What Goes On.” Midnight Oil’s militant Greenpeace-friendly musical attack may be currently out-of-style, but this album shows a Midnight Oil that still has substantial bite.
This World Is Not My Home
Well, it’s a dozen years too late, but at last we have a compilation of some of the best (and lost) of short-lived cowpunk band Lone Justice (1983-’87). Led by Maria McKee, who has since entertained a more successful solo career and including Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers) and now famed-producer Marvin Etzioni, in the mid-’80s Lone Justice merged the cowpoke twang of C&W with the urgency of Los Angeles punk rock. Lone Justice was more accessible than contemporaries Throwing Muses and Fetchin’ Bones, who worked in the same mode with “psycho-twangy” female vocalists, but despite this, Lone Justice still achieved only mild success with its two albums and title track singles, the Petty-penned “Ways To Be Wicked” and the just-missed-the-Top-40 single “Shelter.”
The 17-track compilation includes those songs, the Bo Diddley beat rave-up “East of Eden,” and 10 tracks never before released, including four songs recorded before the band’s signing to Geffen Records, a song Bob Dylan penned and played with the band called “Go Away Little Boy” recorded in 1984, and a live version of “Sweet Jane” with Bono guesting on vocals that was recorded during the band’s 1985 tour with U2. This is a must-have for fans of Lone Justice and McKee, and a great revisitation for newcomers to the fresh, high energy innovation of the mid-’80s Los Angeles music scene.