Joe 90: Original Television Soundtrack by Barry Gray (CD TV soundtrack review)

The one important thing that can be said about all of Barry Gray’s soundtracks for the Century 21 TV series, they were all different from each other. The 1968 TV series ‘Joe 90’ was no exception to this with its up-tempo music as the BIG RAT computer transfers a brain pattern into 9 year-old Joe McClaine’s head at the start of each episode. Equally, the more laid-back version at the end was also a joy to listen to. It is a quintennial watch occasionally on YouTube for me, purely for the music and long overdue on Silva Records selection and here it is.

The music on this CD covers 15 of the episodes, some of which are a variation on the theme music but, here at least, no reprieves from earlier series, although there were two musical cues from tracks 6 and 14 that did pop up later in ‘UFO’. Pay attention while you listen. I just have a good ear.

As always, TV music is the invisible essence of any TV series. We know its there and integral to giving pace to the action and drama but often over-looked how it propels any show. With Barry Gray’s music, it can be equally effective away from the show simply because of its orchestration.

The 16 page booklet, apart from stacks of photos, including a rare photo of voice artist Len Jones standing next to Joe, gives an outline of the series and the episodes here but also the musicians, of which there were many. I suspect these days, someone would have recorded them performing simply because not only were so many people involved but later versions of the theme music never got this good.

The music is solid and a pleasure to listen to. If you’re a Barry Gray fan, then you will have already got your copy. If its more a case of not knowing its out there, now you know. Get your electrodes out.

GF Willmetts

May 2023

(pub: Silva Records, 2023. 1 CD 24 tracks 74 minutes with 16 page illustrated booklet. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ASIN: SILCD1721)

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