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 Posted:   Jun 6, 2019 - 7:55 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

A great article about Dudley Simpson and his work on Blake's 7.

https://watchingblakes7.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/dudley-simpson-and-a-bit-about-his-music-for-blakes-7/?fbclid=IwAR2PVIVMt76jGl005peKwVilERgdhCzQHmXUY5M-TqtX3EHUphULkXOCjaE

 
 Posted:   Jun 7, 2019 - 6:08 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Nice, especially the various videos. Thanks.

 
 Posted:   Jun 7, 2019 - 11:32 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

In fact ‘Star One’ is perhaps Dudley’s most dramatic and suspenseful score in the entirety of Blake’s 7. The swirling synthesised background sounds are predominant, providing a canvas for other more conventional arrangements to be placed on to. The overall feel is therefore a denser, more intense affair. This is in keeping with the high drama unfolding, events of which will change the Blake’s 7 universe forever.

This episode has some of the best music of the series and I would love a CD release. The countdown musics as Avon and Cally try to find the explosive charges before they go off and the slow dirge march as the Liberator leaves orbit to fend off the alien fleet alone are brilliant. Love this series!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 8, 2019 - 7:34 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

An album of Dudley Simpson is long overdue. In fact there needs to be at least two releases. One for Blake's 7 and one for Doctor Who. That Who docu that presented by Matthew sweet and featuring Mark Ayres shows that a good authentic Dudley sound is achievable.

The Blakes 7 one should include the Season 4 End Title theme,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypt3xM-cxew

which I have a soft spot for. It has a kind of almost Gerry Anderson/Barry Gray feel to it, which I suppose was appropriate given the sfx were aiming for a similar look, with that extended launch of the second series' ship.

As for Who, well. There he covered the first four Doctors so there's a lot of desirable stuff there, but for me The Three Doctors, The Ribos Operation and all his Time Lord story scores (with the trademark organ stuff) are the essentials.

And let's not forget what I consider his most unearthly theme: The Tomorrow People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEO7rRNPrgo

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 8, 2019 - 7:15 PM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)


As for Who, well. There he covered the first four Doctors so there's a lot of desirable stuff there, but for me The Three Doctors, The Ribos Operation and all his Time Lord story scores (with the trademark organ stuff) are the essentials.


Actually, this thread could be on the other side of this forum since it's about Simpson & TV music.
I don't intend to eclipse Blake's 7, but I can't resist agreeing with Paul H here regarding Simpson's work on the later Tom Baker serials.
My preference is for the Key to Time season, especially "The Stones of Blood", over the '75 vintage Hinchcliffe/Baker serials ... and "City of Death" is yet another standout.

I feel that the Who fanbase community overpraises the Hinchcliffe/Holmes production team at the expense of either Letts & Dicks or Graham Williams (as this 1993 album demonstrates):

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 8, 2019 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)

dp

Nothing here from Pertwee or later Baker.
Plus what do folks think of Dudley's work on William Hartnell stories such as "The Crusades" or "Planet of Giants"?

If Mr. Blair had no interest in Simpson's other scores, then Silva could have done another such album with someone else ...

 
 Posted:   Jun 8, 2019 - 8:37 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

An album of Dudley Simpson is long overdue. In fact there needs to be at least two releases. One for Blake's 7 and one for Doctor Who. That Who docu that presented by Matthew sweet and featuring Mark Ayres shows that a good authentic Dudley sound is achievable.



Paul,

That might the only way. Weren't the music tapes were wiped by the BBC?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 9, 2019 - 6:44 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

An album of Dudley Simpson is long overdue. In fact there needs to be at least two releases. One for Blake's 7 and one for Doctor Who. That Who docu that presented by Matthew sweet and featuring Mark Ayres shows that a good authentic Dudley sound is achievable.



Paul,

That might the only way. Weren't the music tapes were wiped by the BBC?


Totally agree. It's really what I meant, a series of re-recordings. Most of his stuff is indeed apparently wiped, I think we got all or at least most of what exists on the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary release.

Now, Heath (cliff Blair) posts here so I expect he might catch up with this thread at some point. He made a point last time we brought this subject up that he could duplicate Dudley's sounds better nowadays, compared to what he had to work with with that early Tom Baker years cd. I don't think it was down to him that he didn't do more cds either. Most probably Silva and possibly doubts about the viability of Simpson stuff.

Of course in an ideal world we could have a lovely new series of Simpson releases to suit us all, but I'd suggest a good varied release of a compilation of his music across the board, featuring stuff from all the series he worked on or at least a single release each for B7 and Doctor Who.

Whatever, I can see such releases being at least as viable than The Invasion soundtrack, or many other Radiophonic Workshop cds that seem to be in the pipeline. But of course it also depends on the expense of setting up possible Simpson albums. I'd definitely favor the kind of thing seen in that Matthew Sweet docu, which points us in the direction of Mark Ayres who I think would be delighted to be involved.

And yes, someone stick this thread on the 'other side', it is about the tv music so it belongs there!

 
 Posted:   Jun 10, 2019 - 6:00 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Well, you all convinced me to finally watch the whole Blakes 7 series.

My wife and I saw a double handful of eps on public TV in the late 80s but never latched on to it the way we did Doctor Who.

We found all the eps on YT and we binged the first 7 this past weekend. Enjoying a bit more than expected...love talky scifi though I still get irritated by the bargain-basement effects and sometimes sloppy staging. And we always get a kick out of Simpson's music. Though for me sometimes it's right on target and sometimes it's too corny and on the nose.

So thanks for bring it up again.

 
 Posted:   Jun 11, 2019 - 2:48 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Well, you all convinced me to finally watch the whole Blakes 7 series.

Sean, I'm rather of fond of those 'dark set' Tom Baker Whos with studio hands moving around causing all those 'pin drop' creaking sounds that permeated the series so memorably. To tell the truth, in all this excitement I've kinda lost count - was it two creaks, or only one?

 
 Posted:   Jun 11, 2019 - 10:51 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

Well, you all convinced me to finally watch the whole Blakes 7 series.

My wife and I saw a double handful of eps on public TV in the late 80s but never latched on to it the way we did Doctor Who.

We found all the eps on YT and we binged the first 7 this past weekend. Enjoying a bit more than expected...love talky scifi though I still get irritated by the bargain-basement effects and sometimes sloppy staging. And we always get a kick out of Simpson's music. Though for me sometimes it's right on target and sometimes it's too corny and on the nose.

So thanks for bring it up again.


Perhaps you had to watch it as a kid to love it as I did.

 
 Posted:   Jun 11, 2019 - 1:28 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

I will say this - Avon is one of the most interesting characters ever in a science fiction show. In the early eps, Paul Darrow does an amazing job walking the frenemy tightrope without ever falling off. (I know he eventually becomes the main lead.)

Here's a question and a thought - every time I hear the main theme, I think it's going to turn into a 1940's British film piano concerto. Is that because Simpson was asked to do a big heroic theme après Star Wars? Because it seems like his (Warsaw Concerto) version of the Korngold update Williams did for the main SW theme.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 11, 2019 - 5:35 PM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)


Here's a question and a thought - every time I hear the main theme, I think it's going to turn into a 1940's British film piano concerto. Is that because Simpson was asked to do a big heroic theme après Star Wars? Because it seems like his (Warsaw Concerto) version of the Korngold update Williams did for the main SW theme.


Not to be at too much of a tangent here, but Dudley's theme for Blake's 7 does trigger in my mind associations with Philip Green's main title for Dearden's 1961 Victim (which does feature stereotypical British piano rhapsody film music):

https://ru-clip.net/video/s2xUteY_emM/victim-1961.html

... whilst only 3 years earlier with Ice Cold in Alex Leighton Lucas offered 1958 audiences an aural Star Wars-esque experience.

https://ru-clip.net/video/bHf-HeJgaik/leighton-lucas-music-from-ice-cold-in-alex.html

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2019 - 3:07 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Ok. So we want a soundalike eh? Well, just listen to this. Right in the middle of this 70s UK chart topper is the actual main theme of Blakes 7. Now, it's too blatant for Dudley to have intentionally ripped it off, but the coincidence is exceptionally uncanny. Nearly every time this gets airplay on BBC Radio 2 someone comments about the Blakes 7 theme in the middle.

But Blakes 7 did come along two years after this so maybe it was in Mr Simpson's head without him realising...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfifoXL-D-g

It's a long musical number (not unlike something from a film score so some on here might like it) so to cut to the chase go straight in at 2:30.

And tell me that's not Blake's 7!!

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2019 - 3:21 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

I'm liking these musical connections examples a lot.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2019 - 12:01 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Well, no one is arguing with my hypothesis, so I must be right! wink

Paul, I hear the chord change you're talking about, but honestly would not have heard that as so similar to the Blake's 7 theme if you hadn't pointed it out. And that's after hearing the theme over and over again the last few days - so I'm guessing it has to be more culturally familiar, p'raps more true for Brits than us USers. I don't know the song at all.

It's a very traditional musical phrase, especially on the piano, so my guess is the two instances are just coincidental. Once you've been working in music for a while, especially from the keyboard, you'll know that pattern already.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2019 - 7:36 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Well, no one is arguing with my hypothesis, so I must be right! wink

Paul, I hear the chord change you're talking about, but honestly would not have heard that as so similar to the Blake's 7 theme if you hadn't pointed it out. And that's after hearing the theme over and over again the last few days - so I'm guessing it has to be more culturally familiar, p'raps more true for Brits than us USers. I don't know the song at all.

It's a very traditional musical phrase, especially on the piano, so my guess is the two instances are just coincidental. Once you've been working in music for a while, especially from the keyboard, you'll know that pattern already.


Blimey Sean, it just shows we don't all hear precisely the same thing, because to my ears the only thing that separates the main statement of the melody is that (and obviously only at that point in the pop song, I don't think anything else is anywhere like the same) the B7 theme goes down a note in the second part, whereas the song stays at the same pitch.

If I heard that precise bit in lots of songs/tunes I think I'd recognise it more often. As soon as it comes on the radio ( it is one of those Radio 2 favourites for some reason - and Radio 2 plays a fair variety from fifty or more years of popular music, even from pre-fifties to the most modern charts) I automatically think 'oh here's that Blakes 7 song again', and then place a bet in my head as to whether the DJ will mention Blakes 7 as he has done many times in the past.

But you are right about the culture thing up to a point. Brits of a certain age will remember that song, as well as Blake's 7, and hear it on any retro-playing radio station. So familiarity is definitely part of the mix.

 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2019 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

A simpler way to say what I hear: a familiar chord change used by both. Similar to a movie piano concerto theme because they are both working from the Romantic classical tradition. They both sound familiar to me because they both come from something else.

Because the idea is incidental in the song, I still suspect it's just a coincidence. Dudley's bag of musical tricks was a bunch of familiar devices combined in wild and woolly ways.

 
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