Friday, December 09, 2016

Obscure Music from BURKE'S LAW

Since this blog ended up paying "theme music tribute" to Robert Vaughn and Van Williams, the trifecta here is just some good TV theme music from another 60's show, "Burke's Law." This series seems to be forgotten by most video historians, which is a shame. In its two seasons, it was stylish, well-acted, and the bonus was that every episode had about five famous "guest star" suspects. 

"Burke's Law." had a cool jazz theme with some quirky cadances Bacharach might've admired. Just whose sultry voice said "It's Burke's Law..." I have yet to find out. She is absent from the original soundtrack album. The show also had other bits of evocative music, including some great "stings" (15 or 30 second bits of music underscoring somebody discovering a dead body, or getting knifed or tossed off  a building) not preserved on vinyl. 

Below, are two examples of the show's fine TV soundtrack writing. 

“LIVE!” and “DRUM MADNESS” are typical of the type of “hot jazz” favored when the detective was in hot pursuit of the bad guy driving the black car around midnight on a street the was slick from rain. (Dark streets on TV always looked like they just rained, as shimmery puddles were much more "noir" than inky blackness.) 

Hot TV jazz was also suitable for those long fight scenes where hero and villain toss each other across a room, struggle to their feet, lunge forward, do flying kicks to knock the other to the ground, and then of course, you've got to pull the guy OFF the floor to punch him. "Ground and pound" is acceptable in 21st Century MMA, but WAS NOT sporting on vintage TV. 

The choreographed fight scenes were so cool, the music had to swing, rather than be all-out wild. 

Oddly enough, neither of these tracks is by Joseph Mullendore, who wrote a lot of the best incidental music on the show. They aren’t by Herschel Burke Gilbert either, who wrote the actual "Burke's Law" theme song and conducted the orchestra for the album. 

“Drum Madness” is credited to (Gordon-Oliver) and Live to (Marks). The skimpy album notes say nothing about who these musicians.  Hell, songwriters and soundtrack compoers were lucky if they got royalties. I was able to research Gordon-Oliver as the team of Kelly L. Gordon and Thomas E. Oliver. Who Marks is/was, I have no idea. There are too many composers with Marks for a last name to really research this, and I'm not being paid. 

And neither are they, for the downloads below. Don't call Captain Burke to arrest me for unauthorized use of music. First off, it's only two mono tracks, not the whole Stereo album. second,  his beat, as Gene Barry used to pronounce it in that New York accent, was "murda." Mono better evokes the memories of watching TV on a set with one speaker. 

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