Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Barnabas Collins (Wants To Get Funked Up)

If you need only one funky vampire theme, make it "The Stakewalk" from the 1972 soundtrack for BLACULA. If you  to need two, though, then check out The First Theremin Era's trippy take on Robert Cobert's DARK SHADOWS theme from 1969.

Don't be surprised if you can't find any background on The First Theremin Era. As with many novelty recordings of the 1960s (such as "Alley Oop" by The Hollywood Argyles) it was one-off recording created by an industrious producer. In this case, the producer was Charles Calello, one of the original members of the band that would become The Four Seasons. Calello also produced and arranged "The Name Game" for Shirley Ellis, "The Clapping Song" for Pia Zadora, "My Heart Belongs to Me" by Barbra Streisand, and numerous tracks for Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

"The Barnabas Theme" is not something Calello lists among his online Billboard credits, though. Interpret that however you will.

The single, backed with a track titled "Sunset in Siberia," was released Feb. 7, 1969. When the official soundtrack for DARK SHADOWS was released a few months later by Phillips, it included a traditional rendition of the series theme. The First Theremin Era version was eventually included in DARK SHADOWS: THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION, released in 1996. It's an interesting anthology and plays more like an audio scrapbook for DARK SHADOWS, rounding out its track listing with a greeting recorded in 1969 by Jonathan Frid for the "Vampire Fan Club."

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