gullbuy music review

The David Whitaker Songbook


The David Whitaker Songbook



various artists CD

The David Whitaker Songbook CD coverDavid Whitaker is best known for the symphonic arrangement of the Rolling Stones' The Last Time performed by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra which The Verve nicked to include in their hit Bittersweet Symphony, but he was a prolific artist in both soundtrack work and with pop artists.

Throughout the years he's worked with the likes of Lee Hazlewood, Nico, Marianne Faithfull, The Eurythmics, Saint Etienne, Simply Red, Kings of Convenience, The Rolling Stones songs as well as many French artists like Claude Francois, France Gall, Etienne Daho, Air and Serge Gainsbourg (the orchestrations of Initials B.B and Comic Strip were by David Whitaker).

Tricatel followed up the Andre Popp - Popp Musique collection with the David Whitaker Songbook in 2002 which includes many of these artists and soundtrack recordings.

If I have one complaint, it is that not enough of David Whitaker's pop work is included here. It really is sprinkled throughout sparingly amongst his soundtrack and soundtrack inspired work which all tends to be on the lounge soundtrack tip. But I guess this fits in with the album which inspired this collection, The Rolling Stones Songbook which was itself an orchestrated collection of Rolling Stones tunes.

Pop work included is

  • The Last Time (the original Andrew Oldham Orchestra version starts out this collection)
  • Nico's I'm Not Saying (from when Nico recorded for the Immediate label in a folk rock vein covering this Gordon Lightfoot song which can also be found on the Immediate Pleasure 2 CD set and Folk Rock and Faithfull - Dream Babes Volume Five
  • Lee Hazlewood's What’s More I Don't Need Her (from the Cowboy in Sweden album)
  • France Gall's Chanson Indienne (a psych piece from the France Gall 1968 album)
  • Marianne Faithfull's Plaisir D’amour (from her 1964 debut)
  • Air's Remember (which is also included on the import edition of Moon Safari).

The pop works are sprinkled throughout the various soundtrack and soundtrack inspired work David Whitaker recorded for Hammerhead (1968), Run Wild, Run Free (1969), Dominique (1978), With a Friend Like Harry... (2000), and Music To Spy By (a soundtrack easy inspired record recorded by The David Whitaker Orchestra).

All of this really fine soundtrack and soundtrack inspired work uses easy rhythms, French inspired melodies, harpsichord instrumentation, and definitely has a soundtrack vibe similar to Ennio Morricone or Francis Lai. It might however weigh down the disc for those who are looking for the pop song structures and orchestration of the few pop works included on this compilation.

---Patrick, August 10, 2004