Jon Lord / Ashton Gardner & Dyke -
The Last Rebel
a Deep Purple fan, especially a Jon Lord fan, this album is
a lost gem. Add to which that it also features Tony Ashton (as
part of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke) and you have both an addition
to the catalogue of Jon's orchestral work and a precursor to
their subsequent collaborations, "First Of The Big Bands" and
"Malice In Wonderland".
originally credited as an Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album,
a look at the writing credits shows that this album owes an
awful lot to Jon Lord. The session tapes also testify to Jon's
management of the project. In addition to providing keyboards
on many tracks, he also conducts the orchestra and turns his
hands to tambourine and xylophone.
at De Lane Lea's Dean Street studios (not their Kingsway studios
where Deep Purple, amongst others, recorded), the album was
put together, with engineer John Stewart, over three days in
late September 1970, together with a further day three weeks
later, in October, when the group numbers were completed and
the orchestral pieces were laid down. The enjoyment that was
had in the studio is clearly evident on the outtakes that have
been included on the CD.
work commenced only a few days after the debut of Jon's "Gemini
Suite" and Jon fitted the project's recording sessions in between
UK dates with Deep Purple (their biggest tour to date, coinciding
with the success of "Black Night" and press reports of "Purplemania"),
a date in Paris and a seminal session for BBC Radio One. Ashton,
Gardner & Dyke had also just recorded their "Resurrection
Shuffle", to be released later in the year.
provides the bulk of the music, cleverly carrying themes throughout
the work: The main melody of the title track appears again during
"The Pool Game" and "Hollis' Getaway", whilst the opening number
is featured again towards the end (though with the group's section
preceding the orchestra's theme)
as "Graves To The Graveyard" and the melody for "Up The Hill"
resurfaces in "The Meal" and "Death Of A Whore".
of 'The Last Rebel' book & video covers
original vinyl is quite rare, though it was on catalogue in
America long enough to be printed with both red and green Capitol
titles of the film's instrumental tracks (at least those included
on the original album) simply describe the scenes to which they
relate and so they serve to outline the plot.
find the film, for all its faults, quite enjoyable. For the
benefit of those who have never seen it, it is set in Missouri
in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War. The main actors
and their characters are: Joe
Namath as Burnside Hollis, Jack Elam as Matt Graves, Woody Strode
as Duncan, Ty Hardin as Sheriff, and Victoria George as Pearl.
character is The Last Rebel: An ace marksman, pool hustler,
God's gift to women and all-round good guy. His two colleagues
are Matt Graves and Duncan, the latter saved from a hanging.
Namath was relatively new to films, Strode is best known for
his brief but riveting appearance as a gladiator who battles
with Kirk Douglas in Spartacus" (1960), also appearing in the
John Wayne film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) and
Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West" (1968).
Elam's credits include "High Noon" (1952), "Kiss Me Deadly"
(1955), "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral" (1957) and "The Comancheros"
(1961). He later played self-parodying Western heavies, in "Once
Upon A Time In The West" (1968), "Support Your Local Sheriff!"
(1969), "Rio Lobo" (1970), and "Support Your Local Gunfighter"
virtually all of the women falling to the last rebel's charms,
it is Pearl (and no, she's not a singer) who gives Hollis the
chance to make some serious money, though we are later told
on a couple of occasions that, "having so much money in your
britches makes a man do funny things!" The
pace is often slow, the dialogue thin, but liberally scattered
throughout is the film's saving grace, the soundtrack. Enjoy.
Last Rebel' CD is available from the dpas
online store. Visit
for sound clips.
wouldn't buy this from the cover if you saw it in a record
store. Another dull Western soundtrack, right? Wrong. Dead
was the keyboard player with Deep Purple, and is renowned
as one of the best Hammond organists to come out of the UK.
While Deep Purple played rock, this album features some unbelievable
way-out funk! Really odd prog-influenced, wah guitar horns
and massive breaks. Look out for the killer old-school funk
cut 'Hanging', and the wicked breaks of The Last Rebel. Definitely
an oddball LP - there's a heavy dose of strangeness lurking
in the arrangements - but a worthy addition to a funk soundtrack
collection, and a producer's dream. I'm still in shock after
listening to it."
review: Ed Griffiths, www.blaxploitation.com