The name of Jerry Fielding doesn't readily spring to mind when asked to name famous composers of film scores, yet he is a composer with an enormous pedigree in the industry, having penned a large number of film scores from the 60s onwards. He received Oscar nominations for "The Wild Bunch", "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Straw Dogs", though unfortunately "Straw Dogs" did not have much early exposure following adverse comment about its violence. The music for this sometimes disturbing film is by turns thoughtful, dischordant and downright eerie. Jerry Fielding's background was playing and arranging for Big Bands, and his early career as a composer was creating this style of music for his Jerry Fielding orchestra to perform for radio and television shows. He created music for Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" and on TV he even hosted his own "Jerry Fielding Show" in 1952.
One of his best remembered soundtracks is "The Wild Bunch" for director Sam Packinpah. Without going way over the top, as some composers may be tempted, he produced a score for this with subtlety and atmosphere, depicting the wildness and the loneliness of the situation on the American-Mexican frontier, gently building tension when required.
Fielding stood in for Lalo Schifrin on "The Enforcer", the 3rd in the Dirty Harry series, and was to work with Clint Eastwood again on "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (winning another Oscar nomination), then on "The Gauntlet" with Lennie Niehaus (Eastwood's favourite composer) and "Escape from Alcatraz".
Many Jerry Fielding soundtracks are quite rare, but check availability and prices of the following albums using these links: