UNRELEASED SONGS

Hail Hero Soundtrack



<>The next in my line of rare recordings to review, are the cuts from the late 60's movie, Hail Hero, starring Michael Douglas, which Lightfoot provided two songs for the soundtrack.  No soundtrack recording was ever released, so these tunes can only be heard if you are lucky enough to catch the movie on the late show sometime.

An interesting aside to this story, is that Lightfoot provided early versions, in rough demo form, of the songs Sit Down Young Stranger and Don Quixote for consideration for this movie, but amazingly they were rejected!  Lightfoot has said that the demo they did wasn't all that good and didn't do the songs justice.

While probably not an item for an official discography, there are in existence acetates of a mixdown session from Lightfoot's contribution to the "Hail Hero" soundtrack. The acetate consists of three mixes of "Hail Hero #1" (the slower version), one mix of "Hail Hero #2" (the faster arrangement, with drums) and one mix of the re-recorded "Wherefore And Why". The engineer's voice can be heard between takes documenting the mix reference number, followed by Lightfoot's voice doing the count-in from the recording session.

An acetate is a quick pressing on very thin vinyl that is used to document the results of a particular recording or mixing session. If you've ever seen record giveaways that used to come inside magazines, then you know what an acetate looks and sounds like. These days DAT tape or CD-R most certainly fulfill the same purpose.

Here are some descriptions of the songs that did make it into the movie:

WHEREFORE AND WHY
This is an alternate, slightly faster take of the song from Did She Mention My Name.  This sounds as if it were recorded at the same time as the other Hail Hero sessions, judging by instrumentation, sound quality and the arrangement.  The arrangement is similar to the album release, but the strings are a little more busy and "in your face" and the overall tempo is a bit faster.

HAIL HERO
Lightfoot co-wrote this song with Jerome Moross.  It is a very spare recording accentuating Lightfoot's 6-string fingerpicking and his vocal, but some strings are also added.  The song has a very moody nature to it and some very good lyrics.  The song, for me, creates a feeling of melancholy and longing when I listen to it.  Perhaps this is because of its very "Lightfoot-of-the-late-60's-sound," which can invoke those types of thoughts for those of us who came of age during that time, when listening to them again all these years and changes later.  Unfortunately, the song is cut in two, within the movie, and the beginning and endings of the two parts are mixed together with some noisy scenes from the movie itself, but in spite of all of that, a very good song shines through.  The two parts of the song appear as if they were two separate takes from the recording studio, as they are played at slightly different tempos.

Hail hero, hail hero, child of the sun
All covered with flowers still having your fun

Hail hero, hail hero, birds in the sky
Are building their nests in the rafters close by

Hail hero, hail hero, child of your fate
Come into the kitchen don't stand by the gate
And show us your wisdom before it's too late

Hail hero, hail hero, let me see you smile
You been gone for so damn long, I wish you'd stay awhile

And the swimming hole is still up yonder
Waiting for a barefoot boy to come
And the old mill creek still sings its warning
Dancing through the meadow in the sun


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