Get Carter

Music by: Roy Budd

Performed by: Roy Budd, Jeff Clyne, Chris Karan, Brian Daly and Judd Proctor

Distributed by: Silva Screen Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In 1971, a crime drama directed by Mike Hodges and set in Newcastle, England hit the theaters.  Entitled Get Carter, the film featured Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a gangster seeking justice for his dead brother.  Frank Carter’s death was officially ruled a drunk driving accident, but Jack knows it was a murder and he is out to uncover the culprits and avenge his brother’s death.  The film received poor reception initially, but a fan base grew and eventually, Get Carter was voted in at number 16 in the British Film Institute’s 100 Favorite British Films of the 20th Century list and number one on the Total Film Greatest British Films of All Time countdown.

            The soundtrack of Get Carter was created by Roy Budd, a self-taught child prodigy jazz pianist.   Recorded on a miniscule budget, the entire soundtrack was not only written by Roy Budd, but performed by him as well.  He supplied the pianos while Jeff Clyne provided double bass and bass guitar, Chris Karan performed on the drums, percussion and tablas and Brian Daly and Judd Proctor played guitar. 

            Silva Screen Records has begun re-issuing the music of Roy Budd, beginning with a revised edition of Get Carter.  The album features the original jazz and pop music created for the film by Roy Budd interspersed with dialogue from pivotal scenes in the film.  I have always been a fan of soundtracks in this style as I find that the dialogue often lends something to the music we are listening to and vice versa.  You can imagine just exactly what is taking place at the moment and understand why a particular piece was created for a particular scene.

            I found Roy Budd’s music to be quite enjoyable.  I have always enjoyed listening to the music of the late 60s/early 70s which featured a bouncy sort of pop unique to its time period.  My favorite track is Love is a Four Letter Word because it perfectly describes how crazy love can be and how often times it can turn you inside out: “you can also spell it H-E-double L / I said love / is a four letter word.”  The song is catchy and meaningful and I found myself singing along after the first verse.

            The album comes complete with a 20-page booklet of extended liner notes featuring information about the creation of the soundtrack, commentary by Mike Hodges as well as the musicians who performed on the soundtrack and pictures from the film.  The only thing missing from the liner notes were credits to the female singer whose exceptional voice lent so much credence to my favorite track.

            I really enjoyed listening to the Get Carter Soundtrack and was extremely happy about the Silva Screen Records revised edition featuring dialogue from the film.  Having never seen the movie, I felt like I had already experienced the film through the clever mixing of this soundtrack.  Fans of the original film will also appreciate this version of the album.  They can relive each pivotal scene while enjoying the music they loved from the film.  The newly revised Get Carter Soundtrack from Silva Screen Records is the perfect album to pave the way for the record company’s series of Roy Budd movie score re-issues and a great addition to any movie music aficionado’s collection.


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