To celebrate the presentation of The Three Caballeros and other “Treasures of the Disney Vault” this Sunday on TCM, here’s a look at the soundtrack album.
Walt Disney Presenta
LOS TRES CABALLEROS
Musica y canciones de al pelicula
Discos Disneylandia 1239M (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono)
Album Released in the U.S. in July, 1977. Produced for Records by Edmundo Santos. Music: Edward H. Plumb, Paul J. Smith. Album Song Version Producer: Louis Oliveira. Album Song Version Conductor: Leo Perachi. Running Time: 26 minutes.
“Caballeros” Soundtrack Songs: Main Title (“Three caballeros”) by Ray Gilbert Manuel Esperon, Ernesto Cartezar; “Llongo” by Gil; “Zadunga” (Traditional); “Jesusita en Chihuahua” by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés; “Los Posadas” (Traditional); “Solamente una vez (You Belong to My Heart)” by Ray Gilbert, Augustin Lara; “Mexico” by Edmundo Santos; “Jarabe Pateno” (Traditional); “Os quindins de yaya (Angel May Care)” by Ary Barroso.
“Caballeros” Album Version Songs: “Baia (No baixa do dapatiero)” by Ary Barroso; “Tico Tico” by Ervin Drake, Aloysio Oliviera, Zequinha de Abreu; “Brazil” by Ary Barroso, S.K. Russell.
“Saludos Amigos” Album Version Song: “Brazil (Aqualera Do Brasil)” by Ary Barroso and S.K. Russell.
Studio Versions: Clarence Nash (Donald Duck); Aloysio Oliviera (José Carioca); Dora Luz, Aurora Miranda, Disney Studio Chorus, Leo Perachi Vocal Group.
The marvelous results of an historic journey to South America by Walt Disney and his artists yielded not only two live-action/animated features (and a few shorts), but also a wealth of music, from original songs written for the film to established Latin hits and traditional music. While several Hollywood entities provided cultural exchanges during the era of the U.S. Good Neighbor Policy, few carried it out with such flair as the Disney people, and few produced such an abundance of classic moments.
In the U.S., there was no English language soundtrack album of either Saludos Amigos or The Three Caballeros. In 1944, Decca released a three-disc 78 RPM set for each film. They featured musical director Charles Wolcott on vocals. These records were not made available on LP discs or singles. In 1958, Disneyland Records released its own LP combining music from both films with some cuts from the soundtrack, but mostly new—and excellent—renditions recorded in South American studios. This album, Saludos Amigos: Disney’s Songs from South of the Border, is available on iTunes.
In 1977, a line of “Discos Disneylandia” albums was distributed in U.S. stores. Most were Spanish language versions of Disney stories, with one very unique item among them: Los Tres Caballeros, the Spanish soundtrack album. This was the first and only way one could own the soundtrack on vinyl.
Most of the material in Three Caballeros isn’t in English anyway, so it hardly matters that all the dialogue is also in Spanish (and it’s cool to hear Aloysio Oliviera’s José Carioca converse with Clarence Nash’s Donald Duck in his native tongue). About 70% of the album consists of soundtrack segments, with a few tracks originating on the 1958 Saludos album (including a knockout version of “Brazil”).
There is one glaring oversight: the absence of the title song as sung by Panchito, Donald and José. It’s sung by a chorus in the Main Title, but instead of hearing the avian trio sing their famous tune, the album ends abruptly with “Os quindins de yaya”. Nevertheless, this is still a primo piece of vinyl.
The Three Caballeros will be hosted by Leonard Maltin during TCM’s Treasures from the Disney Vault this Sunday, March 15, at 12 am ET (which is really Monday morning March 16), followed by the must-see documentary, Walt and el Grupo. The whole lineup starts at 8 pm ET. Here’s the whole schedule:
8:00 pm Darby O’ Gill and the Little People (1959)
9:45 pm Wonderful World of Disney: I Captured the King of the Leprechauns (1959)
10:45 pm Silly Symphony: Babes in the Woods (1932)
11:00 pm Wonderful World of Color: The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955)
12: 00 am The Three Caballeros (1944)
1:30 am Walt and el Grupo (2008)
3:15 am The Fighting Price of Donegal (1966)
One other note—only because it gets so little attention and deserves so much more: There’s a charming Epcot indoor boat ride attraction called Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, which features the animation magic of Eric Goldberg and gorgeous live-action footage that you’d swear was filmed in’40s Technicolor, thanks to Susan Goldberg.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Excerpt from “Os quindins de yaya”
C’mon…a song about pastries and cake with Donald, José, Aurora Miranda, spectacular orchestral and choral arrangements? Did I mention cake? This is the big finish of the production number, in which Ms. Miranda makes all the buildings move along with the beat.
DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE
The Story of Darby’s Adventures with the King of the Leprechauns
Disneyland Storyteller ST-1901
Released in 1959. Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer/Musical Director: Camarata. Music: Oliver Wallace, Camarata. Adapted from the Screenplay by Lawrence Edward Watkin. Suggested by H.T. Kavanagh’s Darby O’Gill Stories. Running Time: 29 minutes.
Album Voices: Arthur Shields (Darby); J. Pat O’Malley (King Brian, Paddy Scanlon).
Singing Voices: Sean Connery (Michael); Janet Munro (Katie).
Song: “Pretty Irish Girl”, “, “The Wishing Song” by Oliver Wallace, Lawrence E. Watkin.
One of Walt Disney’s personal favorite live-action features, this is another terrific Disney film coming to TCM this Sunday. The Disneyland Records version eschewed soundtrack dialogue and instead featured narration by Arthur Shields as Darby. Even though we don’t hear Albert Sharpe reprising his film role, Shields is an equally capable Darby with a stellar movie career that includes How Green Was My Valley, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Quiet Man (which surely must have helped inspire Walt to produce Darby).
Playing King Brian is Disney favorite J. Pat O’Malley, filling in for Jimmy O’Dea. (Coincidentally, O’Malley’s birthday is also this Sunday.) Sean Connery and Janet Munro make very brief appearances, singing the tail end of “Pretty Irish Girl”, not from the soundtrack, but from a 1959 single, conducted by Tutti Camarata. Tutti also provided fully orchestrated background music cues.
The music cues help a lot, but not enough. Darby O’Gill and the Little People as the film is a visually lush production buoyed by special effects that are still a marvel—including the use of forced perspective rather than process screen or mattes to make the Leprechauns seem small (the same technique as in Peter Jackson’s Tolkien epics). But as an audio recording, Darby needs dynamism in its sound presentation to make up for the lack of visuals. While the vinyl adaptation has its moments (the banshee segment is pretty creepy), the overall result is quite good by not great. The Disneyland folks did a nice job with what they had.
This Darby LP record is one of the few early Disneyland Storyteller albums that did not accompany books. Some of them were later converted to book-and-record sets, like 101 Dalmatians and Swiss Family Robinson.
Perhaps one day Walt Disney Records and Intrada will release the actual Oliver Wallace score for Darby O’Gill and the Little People …you hear that, King Brian?
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Excerpt including part of “Pretty Irish Girl” single
Darby narrates and introduces the signature song from the film, as heard on the LP. This rendition is not the soundtrack, but from the single 45 RPM version conducted by Camarata with vocals by Connery and Munro. Unfortunately, only the tail end of that song was used for the LP.