November 6, 2012
Pete's Dragon: A Classic LP Returns...Almost Complete
Pete's Dragon is no Marry Poppins, but the songs are still a lot of fun, and if you've never heard this album before, you might be surprised to find that several of the tracks differ quite a bit from the movie versions, particularly Mickey Rooney's "I Saw a Dragon." The songs are also in the wrong order (the album's always been like that), so you'll probably want to fix that on your playlist.
The biggest change involves the missing song: the faster-paced radio/single version of Helen Reddy's "Candle on the Water". Originally, the album put the single right after the overture, then closed the LP with the slower version that appears in the film. On this re-release, the movie version moves up to the post-titles slot, and an abridged reprise of that same track brings the album to a close.
Despite the change and the out-of-order songs, this a bright, fun album. It's also a fairly brief experience, running only 37 minutes. For anyone who missed its limited run on CD several years ago, this iTunes release might mark the first time you've heard these versions of the songs in ages. I imagine most of the film's fans have never heard these particular recordings at all.
Personally, this marks the first time I've heard these album tracks in over thirty years, and the very first time I've heard them minus the pops and surface noise of my old vinyl LP. The music holds up quite well, sounding richer and more colorful than ever.
Dragon fans should not hesitate to give this a download -- just be aware of the LP's quirks.