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Soundtrack Review

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The Cowboys (1972)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(The Deluxe Edition 2018)


Composer: John Williams
Label: Varèse Sarabande Records
RRP: £13.99

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Release Date: 18 June 2018

Varèse Sarabande Records release a deluxe edition of John Williams's score for the 1972 movie The Cowboys. The soundtrack is loaded with melody and adventure, in it Williams gave us his greatest and grandest western and one that would even spawn one of the composers greatest concert overtures, the beloved 'The Cowboys Overture'...

The latest CD Club title from Varèse Sarabande is John Williams's 1972 score from The Cowboys. The concept of the CD Club debuted in 1989 as a mail order exclusive releasing limited edition batches of beloved previously unreleased or long-out of print scores, carefully curated by Robert Townson.

John Williams was the reason I began collecting movie scores back in the '80s, but until this release landed on my desk I hadn't heard his soundtrack for The Cowboys in full.

On a first play through there are themes that are familiar to ones he'd go on to develop for Jaws (1975), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Always (1989) and, most obviously, 1941 (1979). Oddly enough there's a segment of music in 'Graveyard' that sounds like it could even have been the inspiration for some of the work on Jerry Goldsmith's scores for the Star Trek movies.

While listening to 'Longhair's Threat' the eerie background chords sound very similar to the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) ('Indy's very first adventure').

As you'd expected, being a Western, there's plenty of themes where the harmonica takes centre stage, as well as tracks that you instantly know are composed for a Western. Thankfully he manages to deliver mostly original themes.

It still sounds as fresh today as when it was originally released. Another classic Williams's score that is packed with memorable themes.

Track listing:

01. Overture (2:34)  
02. Main Title – The Cowboys (2:27)  
03. The Hands Quit (1:44)  
04. The Boys (1:05)
05. Wil and Ann (2:34)  
06. The Kids and Crazy Alice (2:01)  
07. Graveyard (:46)  
08. Anybody That Tall (1:12)
09. Training Montage (1:32)  
10. Long Hair and The Roundup (2:26)  
11. Nightlinger’s Tale (1:47)
12. To Belle Fourche (1:46)  
13. The First Night (1:56)  
14. Burning Daylight (1:02)
15. Learning the Ropes (Vivaldi Concerto in D) (1:17)  
16. Sour Mash (2:03)  
17. Long Hair’s Threat (1:20)  
18. Entr’acte (2:25)  
19. Afraid of the Dark (1:42)  
20. Charlie’s Demise (2:00)  
21. Charlie’s Burial (1:37)  
22. Mrs. Collingwood’s Girls (1:42)  
23. Long Hair Trails (4:08)  
24. Long Hair and Dan (1:29)  
25. Summer’s Over (1:51)  
26. Drums of Manhood and The Execution (5:56)  
27. Into the Trap (2:18)
28. The Battle (1:27)  
29. End Title and End Cast (2:23)

Additional Music
30. Nightlinger’s Tale (Alternate) (1:47)  
31. Long Hair’s Threat (Alternate) (1:26)  
32. Entr’acte (Segment) (1:01)  
33. The Execution (Alternate) (4:21)  
34. Into the Trap (Alternate) (2:17)  
35. End Title and End Cast (Alternate) (2:21)  
36. Exit Music (1:13)


Darren Rea