Some pieces of film music stick with you long after you’ve seen the film. And if it’s a really interesting tune or song, it may make you seek out the soundtrack and see how it sounds outside of the film. Such was the case with the specific piece that got my mojo rising: the Blowzabella-style music that showed up in the wedding scene in Raggedy Rawney. If you don’t know what the film is about, go read the our review here before preceding with this review. So now that you’ve read our review, just imagine what Kamen would select for music. Would it be mostly Rom in nature? Or perhaps strongly Balkan? Would it be upbeat? Or really, really downbeat in temperament? What would be the primary instruments? Violins? Bagpipes? Percussion? Bouzoukis?
Well, I couldn’t tell as Kamen and his musical cronies very much used a Blowzabella-style ‘wall of sound’ approach for much of the music, so I decided to find the CD. Sure. A decade-old CD for a film that was never one of the most popular films of the period? Even Sparrow in Bone Dance would have had trouble locating it! I searched for five years before the web really became omnipresent, and another five years before a copy showed up on an obscure Web site in Europe. With some trepidation, I converted the CD to MP3 format so that I could listen to it on my iPod. Bliss!
Let’s start with the fact that John Tams, one of the best English folk artists ever, sings ‘Rolling Home,’ and there are another two tunes which he wrote and produced — two of the best tunes on the soundtrack: ‘Bullroarer/Band of Lace’ and ‘The Peacock Polka (Darky’s Polka)’ — that feel Balkan, without losing the joyous feel of the English Dance music that defines Tams. Another brilliant piece is ‘The Funeral Lamentation,’ which is sung by Maggie Bell of the early 70s bluesy group Stone The Crows, who also wrote it. It’s a truly haunting and chilling piece that you’ll remember long after you hear it! Brrrr! It’s worth noting that Fi Fraser, sister of Jo Fraser of Blowzabella, Tanteeka, and too many other groups to mention here, contributes her talents to the soundtrack. As the liner notes are shitty, I can’t tell you how she contributes! Nor is there a Web site that talks about the music in Raggedy Rawney.
Michael Kamen composed the rest of the music, which, if memory serves me right, fit the movie precisely. It’s not as interesting as music as the Tams and Bell pieces are, but it’s quite listenable. And the answer to the question posed above is that the music appears to be keyboards, violins, bagpipes, and percussion — not a bad mix at all. It stands well outside the context of the actual film, more of a rare occurrence than one hopes for when it comes to film music. So you too can now go questing for your own copy of this cool CD!
(Silva Screen Records, 1988)