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Label:
Name: FILM SCORE MONTHLY
Number: FSM1306

Cleopatra Jones/Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1973/1975)
Limited Edition of 3,000 Copies.
Composed by: Dominic Frontiere, J.J. Johnson, Joe Simon

View CD Page at FSM Site (More Details)

Cleopatra Jones was one of the most memorable characters to emerge from the 1970s “blaxploitation” genre. Played by six-foot-two Tamara Dobson, she was a female African-American version of James Bond, starring in two adventures for Warner Bros. where she battled villainess drug lords in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, respectively.

The original Cleopatra Jones (1973) introduced the character as an international secret agent stamping out the narcotics trade. She runs afoul of “Mommy” (Shelley Winters), a lesbian kingpin who targets her L.A. inner-city charity, the B&S House, for retribution. Cleo returns home to fight Mommy’s henchmen and corrupt white cops; Bernie Casey co-stars as her love interest.

The soundtrack to Cleopatra Jones (released on Warner Bros. Records) was a collaborative effort of two R&B artists from the Spring Records label, Joe Simon and Millie Jackson, and score composer J.J. Johnson (himself collaborating with Carl Brandt). Simon’s “Theme From Cleopatra Jones” kicked off the LP and film with a groovy ode to Cleo’s prowess, while two of Jackson’s performances, “Love Doctor” and “It Hurts So Good,” were taken from her concurrent record album for Spring. Combined with two additional (and previously unreleased) source cues by Roger Kellaway (sung by Pattie Brooks), the Cleopatra Jones soundtrack is a minor-masterpiece of the “symphonic funk” fusion that identified the genre.

Cleo returned in Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975) for a blending of “blaxploitation” with the burgeoning kung fu genre. Shot in Hong Kong (and a co-production between Warner Bros. and Run Run Shaw), Cleo teams with a local secret agent (Tien-Ni, billed as “Tanny”) to battle a drug kingpin known as the “Dragon Lady” (Stella Stevens).

Unlike most of the “blaxploitation” films, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold did not involve an African-American recording artist—although you wouldn’t know that by listening. Veteran composer Dominic Frontiere provided a pulsating, funky score with exotic instrumentation for the Far East setting (and martial arts action) in the best tradition of Lalo Schifrin’s seminal Enter the Dragon, as well as a groovy title song, “Playing With Fire.”

This 2CD set is feast of Cleopatra Jones tracks: Disc one features the Warner Bros. Records album program to Cleopatra Jones followed by a new program of solely the dramatic score by J.J. Johnson and Carl Brandt (including several previously unreleased cues). Disc two features the complete Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold score by Dominic Frontiere, as well as bonus tracks of instrumental and alternate-lyrics versions of the main title. Disc two closes with additional selections from the first film: extended versions of the Joe Simon title song, as well as the aforementioned Roger Kellaway source cues.

The entire 2CD set is in excellent stereo sound, with liner notes by Scott Bettencourt. Complete track-by-track commentary can be found, for free, online at our website (presented here for space reasons). 

track list

    Click on track TIME for MP3 sound clip.

    Cleopatra Jones (1973)

    DISC ONE

    Original Soundtrack From the Motion Picture Featuring Joe Simon Singing the Hit “Theme From Cleopatra Jones” and Millie Jackson Singing “Love Doctor” and “It Hurts So Good”

  1. Theme From Cleopatra Jones (Joe Simon) 3:43
    Produced and Sung by Joe Simon
    Performed by The Mainstreeters
    Strings Arranged by Bert de Coteaux
  2. The Wrecking Yard (Carl Brandt) 3:36
  3. Love Doctor (Jackie Avery) 2:54
    Produced by Brad Shapiro
    Sung by Millie Jackson
    Arranged and Conducted by Mike Lewis and Brad Shapiro
    Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound
  4. Airport Flight (Carl Brandt) 2:15
  5. Emdee (J.J. Johnson) 2:31
  6. Desert Sunrise (J.J. Johnson)/Main Title Instrumental* (Joe Simon) 2:55
    *Arranged and Conducted by J.J. Johnson
  7. It Hurts So Good (Phillip Mitchell) 3:26
    Produced by Brad Shapiro
    Sung by Millie Jackson
    Arranged and Conducted by Mike Lewis and Brad Shapiro
    Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound
  8. Goin’ to the Chase (J.J. Johnson) 0:29
  9. Go Chase Cleo (J.J. Johnson) 3:26
  10. Cleo and Reuben (J.J. Johnson) 2:04
  11. Wrap Up (Carl Brandt) 3:02
  12. Theme From Cleopatra Jones/Instrumental (Joe Simon) 4:53
    Produced by Joe Simon
    Performed by The Mainstreeters

    Total Time: 35:37

    Original Music Composed and Conducted by J.J. Johnson

    Additional Music by Carl Brandt and Brad Shapiro

    Joe Simon and Millie Jackson Appear Courtesy of Spring Records

    Score Program

    Dramatic Score and Source Music Composed and Conducted by J.J. Johnson

    Interpolating “Theme From Cleopatra Jones” by Joe Simon

    Additional Music by Carl Brandt

  13. Pot Burn/Mommy/Police Raid (Johnson, orchestrated by Carl Brandt) 1:08
  14. Jimmy Pleads (Johnson/Brandt, orch. Brandt) 1:18
  15. Airport Flight (Brandt) 2:52
  16. Emdee 3:01
  17. Elevator/Cleo and Captain (Brandt) 1:58
  18. Ambush (Brandt) 1:38
  19. Doodle Apartment 0:39
  20. Soul Food 3:06
  21. Karate Gag 0:52
  22. Motorcycle Funk 3:50
  23. Cleo and Reuben Love Theme 2:05
  24. Chase Cassette 1:08
  25. Cleo Chase 5:06
  26. Before Crash 0:14
  27. Snake Crib 1:50
  28. Verbatim, Simon/Man From Glad (Brandt) 3:02
  29. The Wrecking Yard (Brandt)/More Wrecking Yard (Johnson, orch. Brandt)/Wrap Up (Brandt) 8:38

    Total Time: 42:55

    Total Disc Time: 78:39

    Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)

    DISC TWO

    Music Composed and Conducted by Dominic Frontiere

    Song: “Playing With Fire” Music by Dominic Frontiere, Lyrics by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise

  1. Playing With Fire 3:33
  2. Oynia 0:48
  3. Here Comes Cleo 1:29
  4. Cleo Leaves 0:58
  5. Downtong 2:20
  6. Room of Mirrors 1:21
  7. Les Orgie 2:46
  8. Fatman Stomp 1:41
  9. You Must Believe Me/My Regulars 1:14
  10. Hoe Down Car 1:47
  11. Mr. Ling’s Apartment/Enter the Studs 2:47
  12. She’s My Mother 2:42
  13. Pool Hall Rock 2:41
  14. Banjo Bike 1:00
  15. Juke Box Blues, Pt. 1 and 2 1:16
  16. Alley Rock 2:07
  17. Turn Him Loose 0:42
  18. Chopped Meat 0:55
  19. Casino Source 2:11
  20. Catch Cleo/Car Crash 4:19
  21. Casino Fight 2:41
  22. Dead Dragon Lady 3:23
  23. End Title 1:17

    Total Time: 47:03

    Bonus Tracks

  24. Main Title (instrumental) 3:35
  25. Take Me Away (main title, alternate lyrics, version #1) 3:36
  26. Take Me Away (main title, alternate lyrics, version #2) 3:36

    Total Time: 10:52

    Cleopatra Jones Bonus Tracks

  27. Theme From Cleopatra Jones (extended version) (Joe Simon) 4:46
    Produced and Sung by Joe Simon
    Performed by The Mainstreeters
  28. Am I Blue (Roger Kellaway, performed by Pattie Brooks) 5:14
  29. Swing Down Chariot (Roger Kellaway, performed by Pattie Brooks) 3:23
  30. Theme From Cleopatra Jones (extended version, alternate vocal take) (Joe Simon) 4:46
    Produced and Sung by Joe Simon
    Performed by The Mainstreeters

    Total Time: 18:17

    Total Disc Time: 76:27

     

 


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