Blog JBFC Mixtapes, Vol. 9: WFUV's Paul Cavalconte

Posted July 25, 2018

JBFC Mixtapes is an initiative from the Burns to highlight the music—from soundtracks to scores—that makes the cinematic experience so special. Our ninth installment comes from WFUV DJ Paul Cavalconte, who put together a playlist of radio-show-worthy soundtrack hits to celebrate annual JBFC series Sounds of Summer. He writes:

“As a film buff with musically eclectic radio shows on three great New York public stations, my Spotify list reflects movies that brilliantly incorporate music, and selections I’d spin on air, as well as for the list.”

Listen now on Spotify or save the playlist to listen offline later, then read through Paul’s explanation of each track below!

JBFC Mixtapes, Vol. 9: WFUV’s Paul Cavalconte Track Listing

Film: The Last Waltz (Scorsese, 1978) 
Track: “Mannish Boy” with Muddy Waters
Radio Show: Cavalcade, WFUV
Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz documents an ending, but also the continuity of this great music in our lives. The Band’s Thanksgiving 1976 farewell featured many star guests, but none gutsier than Muddy Waters, and his best-ever take on his signature song.

Film: Stop Making Sense (Demme, 1984) 
Track: “Take Me To The River” by the Talking Heads
Radio Show: Cavalcade, WFUV
Jonathan Demme’s portrait of Talking Heads is as personal as Scorcese’s framing of The Band in The Last Waltz; along with Gimmie Shelter, they serve as my three ultimate concert films. Talking Heads music relaxes and expands in these live performances, and “Take Me To The River” gets back to the gospel flavor of Al Green’s original (in contrast to the band’s stark, industrial 1978 studio version.)

Film: Gimmie Shelter (Albert & David Maysles, 1970)
Track: “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones, from Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out
Radio Show:
Cavalcade, WFUV
Completing my trilogy of essential rock concert films,the Maysels’ dark portrait of The Rolling Stones between the triumph of Madison Square Garden and the dystopian denoument of Altamont is unflinching but also reverently musical.  The Stones–at the zenith of their powers–are shown tearing it up at The Garden, breaking down at the speedway, and in between, crafting studio magic at Muscle Shoals.  There is no Gimmie Shelter soundtrack per se, but the 1970 LP Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out features the film’s Madison Square Garden performances. “Paint it black you devil!”

Film: A Hard Day’s Night (Lester, 1964)  
Track: “This Boy (Ringo’s Theme),” orchestrated by George Martin, from the original soundtrack
Radio Shows: Cavalcade, WFUV, The Saturday/Sunday Songbook, WNYC
Richard Lester’s romp broke so much ground: the template for music video, the “mockumentary” prototype, and the conceit of The Beatles being “famous for being famous” just as they were becoming, well, famous. The United Artists A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack features the Beatles’ movie songs, plus a few orchestral interludes scored by George Martin. “This Boy (Ringo’s Theme)” accompanies a memorable pantomime sequence that showcased the drummer’s unexpected gift for pathos.

Film: The Sweet Smell Of Success (Mackendrick, 1957)
“The Street” by Elmer Bernstein, from Jazz Themes From The Movie Soundtrack
Radio Shows: Cavalcade, WFUV, The Saturday/Sunday Songbook, WNYC
The compellingly noir-ish Burt Lancaster/Tony Curtis film works so well thanks to James Wong Howe’s drop-dead gorgeous black and white location cinematography of 1950’s New York…and the music. Elmer Bernstein scored the main dramatic themes, but the Chico Hamilton Orchestra’s jivey Afro-Cubano-flavored interludes steal the show.  The original US Decca LP featured a long suite of Hamilton’s vignettes for a full album-side of trance-out listening pleasure.  Here, I chose Bernstein’s evocative theme, “The Street,” which I used to open the original Saturday Night editions of Cavalcade on WFUV in 2015 and 2016.

Film: Top Hat (Sandrich, 1935)
“Isn’t This A Lovely Day (The Astaire Story)” by Fred Astaire, from The Early Years at RKO
Radio Show: The Saturday/Sunday Songbook, WNYC
The Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers fantasy-musicals of the 1930’s are among the best scored in Hollywood history, with great composers like Porter, Gershwin, Kern, and Berlin at work, writing The American Songbook on the spot.  In 1952, Fred teamed with genius pianist Oscar Peterson for The Astaire Story, a casual, intimate approach to the songs that Fred introduced in the movies. Top Hat remains the all-time charmer for me, and the sequence danced for “Isn’t This A Lovely Day” is well evoked by the relaxed Astaire/Peterson LP recording.

Film: Hilary And Jackie (Tucker, 1998)
“Elgar Cello Concerto excerpt,” by Jacqueline Du Pre and Daniel Barenbiom, from the original soundtrack
Radio Show: WQXR Weekend Mornings
Hilary And Jackie is the 1998 bio-pic of fated cellist Jacqueline Du Pre, starring Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths. Du Pre’s historic recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto is used in the film and presented on the Original Soundtrack album, along with original music.

Film: Humoresque (Negulesco, 1946)
“Dvorak, Humoresque Op 101, No 7,” by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, from Humoresque
Radio Show: WQXR Weekend Mornings
The Joan Crawford/John Garfield Hollywood vehicle mixes showstopping classical works with popular standards, and in 1998, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg recorded samples of both for Nonesuch Records.

Film: Paris Blues (Ritt, 1961)
Track: “
Duke’s Place,” by Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, from The Great Summit
Radio Show: The Saturday/Sunday Songbook, WNYC
Duke Ellington made memorable movie music for Anatomy Of A Murder and also the Sidney Poitier/Paul Newman ex-pat drama, Paris Blues. The jazz and bohemian-glorifying environment brought a credible bi-racial storyline comfortably within this setting, and boldy, in those early Civil Rights-era times. Ellington welcomes guest Louis Armstrong on a couple of the soundtrack cuts, recorded in the same year as their celebrated Great Summit collaboration. From that set, I chose the recasting of Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues” as “Duke’s Place,” with Satchmo’s strong vocal.


Want more music from Paul Cavalconte? Catch his programs on these stations at these times:

  • WFUVCavalcade: Sundays 8-11PM (and weekend archives at (Eclectic Rock)
  • WNYC, Songbook shows: Saturday 8PM-12AM, Sunday 12PM to 4PM. (The American Songbook and Beyond)
  • WQXR, Weekend Mornings: Saturday 8AM-1PM, Sunday 8AM-12PM (“Sunday Vinyl” feature at noon) (Classical)

Ready for more music on the big screen? Tickets for JBFC annual series Sounds of Summer are on sale now! The series runs through Aug. 23, and is sponsored by The Lucille and Paul Maslin Foundation & Janet Maslin and Ben Cheever. WFUV is the exclusive media partner of this series.


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