Young Guns 2 (1990)
Music Composed And Conducted By Alan Silvestri
Performed By The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra
Album Produced By Alan Silvestri And Douglass Fake
Intrada Special Collection Vol.181
16 Tracks – Running Time:46:15
Released On September 20, 2011
Young Guns 2 was the hit sequel to the original 1988 film that featured Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp and future Academy Award winner Jack Palance. The original film was an excess in violence as well as freeze frames and cuts. It was definitely intended for the MTV generation at that point. James Horner had scored the film and came with a sour taste in his mouth and happily left that film to which newcomers Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks replaced him and provided a score that well, definitely one that wouldn’t be associated with the Western genre. When it came to the sequel with Estevez, Sutherland and Phillips all returned backed up by a steller cast which included the then hot Christian Slater, the late James Coburn, William L.Petersen (CSI), Alan Ruck (Spin City), Viggo Mortensen and Baltazhar Getty. The story follows the continued myth of the legendary gunfighter Billy The Kid (Estevez) as the U.S.Government tries to get him to testify against the clan that killed his keeper (Stamp) in the original. Which turns out to be a setup as they grab Billy’s friends’ Doc and Chavez (Sutherland and Phillips) to be hung and they escape with the help of Pat Garrett (Petersen) and Dave Ruddabaugh (Slater). Garrett decides to quit the gang and are soon hunted by the U.S. Cavlary, but now have a new sworn enemy in John Chisum (Coburn). They enlist Garrett and offer him a deal he could not refuse to hunt down and exterminate Billy and Co once and for all. The film was directed with energy and precision by Australian Director Geoff Murphy and shot in sunbaked vistas by Academy Award winner Dean Semler for the Academy Award winning Western Dances With Wolves which was released months after this film.
1990 was a pariticularly busy year for composer Alan Silvestri having scored the buddy comedy Downtown, then wrapping up the Back to the Future Trilogy that summer and later on scoring the sequel to the hit 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller, Predator 2. Silvestri had never scored a Western at least until Back To The Future Part 3, which took place in the Old West. However it wasn’t a true one, at least until he got his musical chops on this one. The score to Young Guns 2 is one Silvestri’s finest achievements and one that has been long time in coming. The music itself is marvellous. It has a racous and classical style to it that is both modern and hip in also keeping with it’s Western genre traditions with the use of flamenco guitar as well as brooding orchestra for some of the more ominous material. To me the real standouts of the score is the playfulness that also shows adding a fun rock guitar motif for Billy the Kid, as well as a great use of choir during it’s more reflective moments especially during the film’s opening sequences as well as Chavez’ death later on in the film (“Chavez’ Wound”).
The album opens with a reflective choir theme in “Scars” which is essentially the film’s Main Title credits as we see an old man travelling across the New Mexico desert named Bushy Bill (also played by Estevez in old makeup) meeting a young reporter (Bradley Whitford) to tell the tale of Billy The Kid. The music is heavily accentuated by a percussion and the very cool flamenco guitar as well as strings which introduces the A-version of Billy’s Theme and as the track goes along the score’s central theme with a rock guitar providing excitement. “Small Hands” is a fun track that opens with a solo acoustic guitar solo then quickly sueging into a battery assult of percussion and aggressive guitar playing as the brass is introduced briefly. It then fades into the second half of the track where Silvestri’s playfulness matches Estevez’s on screen as he gets out from his shackles at the courthouse and escapes. A fun and jaunty acoustic guitar plays in unison with an upbeat bass beating along with the guitar as his shenanigans on screen continue. There are some more exciting tracks to be had here which include “Lynch Mob”, “More Than Hello” which some great percussion riffs as Slater and Phillips have a knife fight with one another in one sequence and “Battle” which is a great highlight of this score as the central theme is really given the full treatment with complete backing of the orchestra itself from the brass to strings. “Devils’ Deal” is a sinister and brooding theme for the once friend of Billy The Kid’s the newly minted Sherrif Pat Garrett with dark strings and brass clusters. This theme would later show up later in the album in “Little Tom Dies”, “Garrett’s Place”, and “You Gonna Shoot?”
Intrada’s album is absolutely brilliant in all aspects. Not only sonically but also it is spot on in terms of enjoyment. It’s easily one of Silvestri’s most exciting, and accessible scores without question. Easily one of my favorites of his and you can tell that he really enjoyed doing this project because of his cooperation with this release, but also the joy that there is in the music itself. He was obviously inspired by the story and really ran with it musically. This score would be somewhat of a blue print for Sam Raimi’s underrated Western “The Quick And The Dead” which was more agressive and harsh at times like a Spaghetti Westen than this one is. Also, the film had the song “Blaze of Glory” sung by Jon Bon Jovi which would earn an Academy Award nomination and the primary basis for the original soundtrack album that was released in conjuction with the film. That album only featured only one minute of Silvestri’s brilliant score and since then, fans have been clammoring for it.
In a year of terrific releases for Intrada that include Masada, Explorers, The Black Hole, Up, Link, Battestar Galactica to name a few, Young Guns 2 follows a great tradition they now have of releasing scores that at one point seemed seemingly impossible to see a release of any sort. Now here it is and with Intrada’s new limited edition policy, who really knows. Hopefully, it’ll stay around long enough for people who haven’t heard this one to pick it up and see what I’m talking about or if you’re a fan of the movie itself, then here’s your chance to pick it up after 21 years.
Young Guns 2 is easily one of my favorite scores and favorite albums of the year.
It is available to order directly from Intrada at (www.intrada.com) as well as Screen Archives Entertainment (www.screenarchives.com)
1. Scars 5:10
2. Small Hands 3:04
3. Lynch Mob 4:11
4. Finish The Game 2:50
5. Yoo Hoo 2:43
6. Devil’s Deal 1:26
7. More Than Hello 2:34
8. Tom Sees The Light 1:30
9. Coy Dog 2:38
10. Ride To Guano City 1:09
11. Battle 2:46
12. Little Tom Dies 6:49
13. Garrett’s Place 1:10
14. Chavez’s Wound 3:01
15. You Gonna Shoot? 3:33
16. Stolen Horse (Finale) 1:18
Total Disc Time: 46:15
– Danny Gonzalez
Film Music Examiner New York-NYC