Following on the successful premise of burn-to-order DVDs, Sony has expanded the process to its audio line, re-issuing retro-based albums on CD that have not been officially available for decades. One of the more notable releases is Come Spy With Me by Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra. Montenegro composed original themes for TV series and feature films during the 1960s including Lady in Cement, the Matt Helm movies The Ambushers and The Wrecking Crew as well as the music for the 1969 John Wayne-Rock Hudson starrer The Undefeated. However, his greatest success was as the king of cover versions of popular movie and TV themes. Montenegro's album of cover music from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (nevertheless released as the "original" soundtrack) was so successful that it spawned a sequel album. Similarly, his cover version of Ennio Morricone's magnificent theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly became an international smash and earned him a gold record despite the fact that his rendition was positively anemic compared to Morricone's original. Nevertheless, Montenegro and his orchestra knew how to arrange music for popular tastes and his future influence on the music industry was characterized by helping to popularize the Moog synthesizer. Among his more successful albums was the aforementioned Come Spy With Me, the title of which was derived from a 1967 low-grade James Bond spoof. Nevertheless, it had a catchy title theme (originally written by Bob Flowers) and the cover of Montenegro's album had some eye-catching graphics of comely spy girls. The tracks include Montenegro's instrumental version of Come Spy With Me (the original had lyrics) as well an eclectic selection of title tracks from popular TV series and feature films:
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Our Man Flint
The James Bond Theme
Purists may balk at Montenegro's jazzy and often funky renditions of these themes, but if his purpose was to simply emulate the originals there would be no point in producing this album.
It's terrific to have a retro treasure like this back in circulation. Break out your old smoking jacket, grab a fine cigar and pour yourself a glass of wine...for the duration of this record, you'll be transported back to the glory days of spy movie music and the cover artists who celebrated the genre.