Bob Dylan's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid served as a potent soundtrack to Sam Peckinpah's western of the same name. Dating from 1973, the Grammy-nominated set continued a rustic current Dylan explored on prior efforts such as Nashville Skyline and John Wesley Harding.
It also demonstrated the singer could successfully lend his talents to a film and produce music that not only illuminated the mood, personalities, and actions on screen but exist and thrive independent of them.
The album also remains both distinctive and intriguing for the cast Dylan assembled for its creation – and their collective performances. Echoing Ry Cooder's adventurous, epoch defying journeys that would soon follow, the 10-track album effortlessly breathes with country, folk, blues, and old-time pop flavors. A-list collaborators, including drummer Jim Keltner, fiddler Byron Berline, Booker T. Jones on bass, and Byrd legend Roger McGuinn, assist Dylan in making instrumental portraits such as the pensive "Catalina Theme (Working for the Law") and the spry "Turkey Chase" teem with detail, character, and a definite sense of place.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid soundtrack also marks the first appearance of one of Dylan's most famous works, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," a symbolic and anthemic hymn which encompasses resilience, sorrow, forgiveness, readiness, and more. Dylan's series of three "Billy" numbers, the record's other vocal tracks, also hold up to any other fare in the vocalist's rich catalogue. In every regard, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid reigns as a towering statement.
RIYL Van Morrison, Neil Young
- Main Title Theme (Billy)
- Cantina Theme (Workin' For The Law)
- Billy 1
- Bunkhouse Theme
- River Theme
- Turkey Chase
- Knockin' On Heaven's Door
- Final Theme
- Billy 4
- Billy 7