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New Intrada: High Plains Drifter (Dee Barton)

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INTRADA Announces



Composed and Conducted by DEE BARTON

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 217

Writing the music for Universal Pictures' High Plains Drifter (1973), composer Dee Barton would display his flair for the unusual. His highly unorthodox music balanced the requisite touch of Ennio Morricone (this being a Clint Eastwood western) with a sophisticated meld of early synthesizers, female voices, dry guitars, lively percussion and full orchestra. Barton’s music was tonal with its main themes and atonal in its suspenseful and violent moments, resulting in a fascinating soundscape to go with Eastwood’s images. The main theme is a strongly melodic minor-mode idea, saddled in appropriate western style, like Eastwood on screen. It’s a haunting tune that plays through the main titles, but even this very tonal music is preceded by complex, dissonant sounds in synthesizers accompanied by wailing female voices in a seeming freefall.

As originally envisioned, Dee Barton’s score was longer and much broader in scope than the finished picture suggests. Probably the most interesting aspect of the deleted cues is that Eastwood dropped virtually every one of the larger orchestral cues and sequences that suggested traditional western scoring and stayed with the experimental cues, the dissonance and most of the unorthodox material. This is particularly noticeable in the flaming finale. Barton added considerable brass to his orchestra and wrote several minutes of aggressive battle music. Like the other orchestral music, these exciting pieces were dropped. And, as with those other cues, they can be heard here for the first time since they were recorded.

To present this complete score on CD, Intrada was extremely fortunate that Universal Pictures vaulted every roll of the original three-track stereo session masters in beautiful condition, even though the film itself was only mixed in mono.

Clint Eastwood described High Plains Drifter's premise as “What would have happened if the sheriff of High Noon had been killed? What would have happened afterwards?” The protagonist known as The Stranger comes to the town of Lago to help the residents ward off three outlaws, painting the town red -- literally -- in the process.

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 217

Retail Price: $19.99

Available Now

For track listing and sound samples, please visit



Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume 217

Date: 1973

Tracks: 27

Time = 54:27

At long last! World premiere of complex, highly original score for justifiably famous Clint Eastern western with director as star. Dee Barton scores with unusually strong minor key main theme in western garb, then heads into Lago (the town) with much more under his saddle! Complex, experimental ideas play on strings, guitars, harmonica, percussion, early synths, electric bass, voice... an array of tense, dissonant colors! But there's much more than what has been known up to now: Universal's multi-track scoring session masters revealed numerous orchestral cues in traditional western guise that filmmakers dropped in favor of vivid experimental cues. New ideas like "Dummy Wagon" bring broad, expansive themes into play, action cues such as "Gunfight", "Shooting Stacy" offer intense brass figures amongst chaotic strings, even a sturdy vocal version of main theme with orchestra adds color, all of these being heard for first time ever, illuminating fact that composer intended much longer score than what (admittedly effective) amount remains in finished production. Dee Barton (famed composer/arranger for Stan Kenton as well as uncredited composer on several Dirty Harry films and composer of Eastwood's first directing effort: Play Misty For Me) writes with requisite nod to Morricone in use of rhythm, short motifs to punctuate script lines, so forth, but then takes off in his own direction with extremely challenging music - amongst western genre's most unorthodox ever. Intrada presentation offers every cue recorded by Barton, mixed into dynamic stereo from mint condition complete three-channel scoring session masters. Flipper cover offers dramatic shot of star under "Universal 100th Anniversary" banner on one side, exciting original poster campaign on the other. Take your pick! Dee Barton conducts. Intrada Special Collection release available while quantities and interest remain!

The Album

01. High Plains Drifter (Main Title) 4:20

02. Barber Shop Menace 1:43

03. Vision Of Marshal 2:25

04. Gathering Loot 1:43

05. Out Of Prison 2:32

06. Dummy Wagon 2:28

07. Campfire Murder 2:19

08. Target Practice 0:48

09. Whipped To Death 4:54

10. Callie 5:57

11. Hotel Explodes 0:42

12. Blood On Log 0:27

13. Dynamite 3:41

14. Preparations 1:40

15. Bell Signal 2:07

16. Gunfight In Lago 2:02

17. Shooting Stacy 5:12

18. Headstone And End Credits 2:08

Total Album Time: 47:28

The Extras

19. High Plains Drifter (Unused Title Song) 3:10

20. Dummy Wagon (Short) 0:14

21. Dummy Wagon Stinger 0:09

22. Target Practice Stinger 0:13

23. R91 Stinger(s) #1 0:25

24. R92 Stinger(s) #1 0:13

25. R92A Stinger(s) #1 0:44

26. R93 Stinger(s) #1 0:20

27. Wild Harmonica Stingers 1:20

Total Extras Time: 6:49

Dee Barton

Price: $19.99

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