About The Recording 

 

“A remarkable performance, Mr Bond.”

 

Casino Royale was recorded at the renowned Cine-Tele Sound Studios (CTS) in London, a favourite of a composer more familiar to James Bond audiences—John Barry. With Phil Ramone producing, Casino Royale was to be the ultimate collaboration in a trifecta of films scored by Burt Bacharach and engineered by Jack Clegg—the others being What’s New Pussycat? and After the Fox.

 

Jack Clegg commenced his music recording career learning how to cut vinyl at the International Broadcasting Company (IBC) studios in Portland Place. The engineer then recorded many hit singles over a three-year period at Decca, West Hampstead, before the lure of what Clegg termed “the glamorous world of film and television music” beckoned at CTS. Cine-Tele Sound Studios Ltd. was located at 49-53 Kensington Gardens Square in London’s fashionable Bayswater district. Inaugurated in 1956, the company’s value proposition was music recording, utilizing modern technology, at a convenient location.

 

The main music studio was housed in a converted banqueting hall previously owned by Whiteley’s Gentleman’s Dining Club. With an ornate moulded ceiling, the venue was at one time a parade room to flaunt the latest fashions from Europe. A box shape with internal dimensions of 40 by 85 feet, with a 26-foot-high ceiling, the studio had a short but crucial natural reverberation that was measured at 0.8 seconds.

 

It was the unique properties of this acoustic space that Clegg cites as the primary influence on the sonic signature that CTS became world-famous for. The room naturally encouraged the blending of instrumental forces yet offered a vivid and controllable sound.

 

The Casino Royale sessions commenced on 21 January and concluded on Sunday, 29 January, 1967.

 

During the era of Casino Royale, the 30 x 20-foot control room was equipped with a grey-coloured 12-input German-made Telefunken console. The use of any equalization demanded the hook-up of an external unit, about the size of a briefcase, and Clegg preferred to achieve his sound through the relative placement of musicians and microphones in the studio.

 

As was typical of the period, Casino Royale was recorded to dual media. Peter Wilson was the sound-camera recordist who operated RCA equipment in the projection booth running 35mm full-coat magnetic film. John Richards—who later became the senior mixer at CTS—operated a Philips machine running three-track Agfa magnetic tape with a pink backing. The magnetic film was assimilated with the motion picture whilst the tape served as a backup and material from which to prepare the soundtrack album.

 

Bacharach’s fun and sprightly underscore is immediately memorable for its distinctive scratches of a guiro, shakers, and what sounds like a wooden ruler plunking on the edge of a table. The latter was at least partially inspired by Anthony Newley’s 1962 Decca hit titled “That Noise,” which utilized a vibrating ruler that was, coincidentally, performed by its engineer, Jack Clegg.

 

The last day of recording was reserved for Dusty Springfield’s vocal for “The Look of Love.” This was made at a special evening session at Philips Studios, located in the basement of Stanhope Place, rather than CTS.

 

The likely reason for the change of venue is that Dusty Springfield was contracted to the Philips record label and, as a rule, all Philips artists recorded at the company’s studio. Furthermore, it was an environment familiar to the performer. Whilst Peter Olliff was the resident engineer at Philips—and would later record Springfield’s album arrangement of the song—Clegg remembered engineering the session himself on the specific request of Bacharach.

 

Proclaimed as Britain’s “best ever pop singer” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Dusty Springfield proved to be her own most unforgiving critic. Preferring to listen to playbacks ensconced in the control room alone, Springfield would demand nothing less than perfection from herself, insisting on retakes—sometimes of single words—until she was content.

 

Whilst Springfield herself disliked a dry and non-reverberant vocal sound—and often used the corridor of Philips Studios in the pursuit of ambience—“The Look of Love” benefited from a more intimate production technique that favoured a proximate sound with minimal echo. Both the stereo album and mono film versions, although very slightly different in the phrasing of a few words, spotlight Springfield’s sensual and tantalizing performance. Against the film, the slow-motion photography almost reinforces Springfield’s immaculate diction, affording the listener occasion to lucidly savour each individual word.

 

An instrumental orchestral backing for the “Main Title” was recorded ready for Hal David’s lyrics. Whilst session singer Mike Redway had channelled a Noel Coward impersonation for use over the end credits, several vocalists were considered for the opening titles, including Tom Jones with whom Bacharach recorded What’s New Pussycat? in 1965.

 

Eventually, it was decided to make the “Main Title” an instrumental with Bacharach selecting Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass to add a melodic line. Alpert and his ensemble added a trumpet and light percussion, comprising marimba and shakers. This work was undertaken at Alpert’s own A&M Studios, in Los Angeles, with Phil Ramone engineering.

 

By mid-1970, Jack Clegg had departed CTS to join Beatles producer George Martin at the newly built Associated Independent Recording (AIR) Studios, located in the heart of Oxford Circus. Clegg’s only other contact with the world of James Bond was with Live and Let Die, engineered by Bill Price—another Decca Studios alumnus—at AIR in 1973. Shortly thereafter Clegg started his own business named “Sounds Good” and commenced a lengthy career in teaching at The Open University in Milton Keynes.

 

Clegg, now 84, recalls the music recording scene of the 1960s and his collaborations with Burt Bacharach, whom he called “a sweetheart,” as his most satisfying professionally. Unpretentious about his contributions to the sonic signature of Casino Royale, the engineer asserts that he was doing nothing out of the ordinary in delivering what many have since deemed the extraordinary.

 

About The 50th Anniversary Album

 

“A good spy is a pure spy, inside and out.”

 

The soundtrack album has long been considered a cornerstone of the audiophile’s collection. Lauded by The Absolute Sound, the original Colgems release continues to remain in pole-position as the best sounding “popular” LP vinyl disc of all time.

 

During preparation of a recording for home Hi-Fi consumption, it is commonplace for the producer and engineer to make adjustments—usually in the form of equalization and dynamics processing. In bringing this special 50th anniversary edition of Casino Royale to fruition, the Latin text argumentum ad antiquitatem came foremost to mind—an appeal to tradition.

 

Our mantra was one of non-malevolence and a general reverence for what made the original album sound so extraordinary. We have therefore chiefly focused on addressing unintended technical anomalies (such as filling dropouts and covering analogue splices) rather than broadly applying a modern sound palette. Whilst we have used some equalization, we have eschewed dynamic range compression. Consequently, this edition has been mastered at a lower level allowing you to raise your volume control for maximum impact.

 

For this new release, we have presented the stereo album followed by additional music (Bonus Tracks) sourced from the film’s D/M/E tracks made during post-production. These sequences have been presented in their original monaural sound.

 

The score dubbed into the Casino Royale film itself is not necessarily representative of Burt Bacharach’s original intentions. Several cues were tracked (placed or recycled) in other sequences—sometimes from performances that are similar yet not identical. Others were shortened (by removing bars) or extended (by repeating bars) by the music editor to accommodate the finished film’s needs. For those wanting to closely approximate the film order, please program: 01 (or 14), 15 (or 11), 16, 17, 18, 6 (up to 1:34), 19, 20, 9, 3, 21, 7, 02 (or 22), 23, 24 (or 06 from 1:34), 25, 10 (from 1:04), 26, 5, 27, 28, 08, 12, 29, 30, 04, 31, 10 (to 1:04), 32, 33 (or 13 to 2:47), 34 (or continue with the remainder of 13).

 

Please note that implementing the above will result in shifts between stereophonic and monaural reproduction, which some listeners may find undesirable. Were we to lock the CD in this sequence, we may have added a light ambience to the mono cues for better listenability against the spacious stereo of the original album.

 

For those with a predilection for creating fictional LP sequences, we arrived at the following for the Bonus Tracks—on the assumption that all these would be represented. Doing so renders sides of about 21 minutes, concludes each with Mike Redway’s “Have No Fear, Bond is Here,” and opens side B with the film version of Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love.” Side A: 14, 15, 21, 20, 26, 25, 23, 28, 19, 24, and 35. Side B: 22, 18, 29, 17, 30, 31, 32, 16, 27, 33, and 34. Had such an LP ever existed, the short sequences (such as 25, 23, and 28) would no doubt be coupled tightly together into single bands.

 

Of course, many permutations are possible and there is no harm done in making playlists or CD-Rs of our own preferences—as long as we remember to relax and enjoy the music!

 

Chris Malone

November 2017

Special Thanks to Jose M. Benitez, Jack Clegg, and John Di Petrillo.

 

 

End Notes and References

 

• Jack Clegg interviewed by Chris Malone 17/11/17.

• Eric Tomlinson interviewed by Chris Malone, including: 10/07/05, 18/01/07, 24/08/10, 06/01/11, and 25/08/11.

• John Richards interviewed by Chris Malone 28/03/07.

• Dusty Springfield: Full Circle, 1994 (2006). [DVD] Brendan Hughes, UK: Universal Pictures.