Son of Dracula (the album)

It is recorded elsewhere on this site how this LP became the very first item in my Nilsson collection and my introduction to him and his music so I will not retell that story here.  Nor is this the page to discuss the merits (or otherwise) of its accompanying movie.  And if the former of these two diversions makes me a little more biased in favour of the soundtrack LP than some other Nilsson fans then so be it!

Firstly, the LP cover is spectacular!  It is a 3-fold, bat's wing format that opens up to a lovely, glossy black and white montage of stills from the film.  The album was released on the Rapple label - a label created for this one-and-only project and, it transpired later, with a limited lifespan, making its subsequent re-release on CD an impossibility despite the extended efforts of Curtis Armstrong and Buddha to bring the album to a modern audience.  So...the LP release and a Japanese CD that sells now for extortionate amounts whenever it surfaces on eBay are all we have - and all we are likely to ever have.  (Rapple is, of course, an amalgam of RCA and Apple.)

Inside the LP was a 'free gift' (though not in MY copy) of a T-shirt transfer.  I would have liked one of those but I'm sure it wouldn't  be sitting in the sleeve now - I'd have worn my T-shirt out by '77, I reckon!

The record is presented in an 'excerpts from the film' style with sections of dialogue from the movie interspersed between the songs. It begins with:

It Is He Who Will Be King

This is a conversation between Dracula's servant Brian (Freddie Jones) and Merlin (Ringo) as they discover that, first, the Count is dead (as opposed to undead, I suppose!) and second that the Countess was pregnant.  It is introduced with a wonderful clap of thunder and ends by segueing into:


This, the single from the album, does not appear on any other Nilsson album.  The single was edited so as to be playable on the radio (the line 'p***ing me off' being replaced by 'making me cough' even though that line immediately precedes it!).  The song features both George and Ringo (the former, admittedly, only playing cowbell!) and a wider variety of percussion from the excellent Ray Cooper (the bald, manic percussionist who seems to crop up on stage with just about everyone - although the sleeve pictures from Son of Schmilsson show us he did have hair - once upon a time!)

For a change, Jim Price downs his horns and plays organ on this one although there seems to be a few instruments uncredited on this one (flute? more keyboards?)  To me it always seems that this would have sounded good with some steel drums but they were still a couple of albums away for Harry!

At My Front Door

(see review on Son of Schmilsson)

Count Down Meets Merlin and Amber

A strange amalgam of bits from the movie here - most of them having very little directly to do with each other.  Because it was many, many years between hearing the album and watching the movie I had created all sorts of bizarre storylines and questions from the snippets.  Why did the throne go 'boing'? Who was Amber?  Why were she and Count Down playing ping-pong?

The Moonbeam Song

(see review on Nilsson Schmilsson)

Perhaps This Is All a Dream

The movie's incidental music was composed by Paul Buckmaster (who had arranged the strings 'Without You' amongst other work on previous Nilsson projects).  We get to hear a little here. The problem with putting an album together in this way is highlighted here: if you've not seen the movie which, as I said, I didn't for a long time - probably 25 years after hearing the album! - these snippets don't make much sense.  Didn't we just hear Count Down meeting Amber between the last two tracks?  Now they've never met?  Huh?  Also - why does she seem to blow her nose like a blast from an elephant's trunk? I've also just found it quite amusing that on both albums that have featured the next, wonderful, song it is preceded by snoring!

Remember Christmas

The only difference is that 'Christmas' has been taken out of brackets!   (see review on Son of Schmilsson)

Intro: Without You

Brian Wilson once wrote, "You're sitting in a dentist's chair - and they've got music for you there."  Well my dentist never played me music like 'Without You'! I've heard a couple of stories about Harry and dentists - one, that he was notoriously frightened and, consequently, didn't go very often - although, at Ringo's request and for this movie, he certainly had his crooked teeth 'fixed'. (Despite this he rarely posed for a picture with his mouth open.) The other story was the utterly bizarre and completely false claim made by Marianne Faithful that Harry actually died in the dentist's chair (before his coffin fell down a crack caused by the LA earthquake!)  I would ask 'what was she on?' but the answer to that is well-documented elsewhere!!!

Whatever the truth - his fangs were drawn!

(see song review on Nilsson Schmilsson)

The Count's Vulnerability

This section concerns the arguments within the Netherworld concerning Count Down's proposed abdication and mortalisation!  I always thought 'Brian' was a strange name for Dracula's servant - you'd expect a more outlandish name, perhaps?  Buckmaster's music underscores this entire series of episodes.


(see review on Nilsson Schmilsson)

Frankenstein, Merlin and the Operation

More spooky music...and some seriously naff dialogue that Ringo's acting skills certainly couldn't help improve despite his best efforts!  Freddie Jones, who played Dr Frankenstein, is a British character actor who tends to be cast in eccentric or insane roles.  He appeared in another Dracula film (made by the famous Hammer studio) in 1974 and I tried to invite him to Harryfest 2001 in London but was unsuccessful.

Jump Into the Fire

(see review on Nilsson Schmilsson)

The Abdication of Count Down

Probably the best of the movie snippets included on the album.

The End (Moonbeam)


Also Sprach Schmilsson Schmixon

This curio was a tape made by Harry and sent to close friends as a Christmas present.  It mixes Count Down's abdication speech with Richard Nixon's resignation speech over the same Paul Buckmaster soundtrack.  Quite funny and a clever idea.

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