Although Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Stu Bailey), Ed Burns (Gerald Lloyd Kookson III) and Roger Smith (Jeff Spencer) are prominently displayed on the outer jacket artwork, they don't actually appear on this album, which consists of Warren Barker-led orchestrations. Likewise worth mentioning is that the original soundtrack to 77 Sunset Strip doesn't include Burns' million-selling solo hit "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)," either. Featured within are a baker's dozen of atmospheric instrumentals and moody melodies that aided in giving the show its unmistakable and highly stylized persona. In addition to the finger-snappin' theme song -- which is discernibly different here from the broadcast version -- Jerry Livingston and Mack David penned the provocative "77 Sunset Strip Cha Cha" and the cool -- if not nuevo-hip -- up-tempo bopper "Swingin' on the Strip." Alex North's ambience-heavy "Late at Bailey's Pad," and the surreptitiously jazzy "Cleo's Theme" most accurately capture the darker edginess of the unfolding on-screen drama. The cover tunes are given fitting personas, such as the space-age-bachelor-pad kitsch of Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You," as well as Rodgers & Hart's laid-back ultra-serene "You Took Advantage of Me." Similarly, the breadth of the score turns up a frisky "Lover Come Back to Me" and the bluesy "If I Could Be With You," the latter previously being a selection of note for Kay Starr and Helen Humes. While 77 Sunset Strip has been available on pricey German and Japanese import CDs for several years, in 2004 Collectors' Choice Music issued a domestic pressing with an exclusive liner essay. ~ Lindsay Planer
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