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Stein, Ronald – “Getting Straight” – [Colgems Records, Inc.]

Naysayer   3/1/2016   12-inch, Soundtrack

Ronald Stein is most famous for scoring numerous American International horror films. This soundtrack he composed was for the 1970 Richard Rush film starring Elliott Gould, Candice Bergen and Harrison Ford. It’s premise of a social activist and Vietnam war vet, returning to college to get his teaching degree, but stuck in the tumult of rising college campus aggression, fit in with many films of the early 70’s. The Hippie era is dissolving, thankfully, and a more aggressive time is on the rise where everyone is up in everyone else’s face. Everyone is a bit guilty in showing their prejudices and conceits. With this setting, Stein composed a score filled with the sort of folk Simon and Garfunkle sound which questions what is going on. Lyrics are filled with disappointment and a rising anger and rage. The orchestrations sometimes have that carnivalesque, isn’t this all crazy kind of sound. Three tracks with FCC’s are wonderful samples from the film. “Party Scene (Jan)” has Elliott Gould’s character shouting down Candace Bergen in a sexist barrage that is dated and unfortunately not so at the same time. “Vandenberg” is the anti-academy down with the man statement. The instrumental “Pigs Go Home” was sampled by Eminem. This is an interesting document of a soundtrack style that is very specific to this 1970’s period. And yet it still fits for today. The lyrics to “Getting Straight- Main Title” are uncomfortably as meaningful today as they were back then. A minor work of high interest.

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