Road Signs – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Mike Sokol

How many of you like Spaghetti Westerns? I certainly do. And how many of you like the king of Spaghetti Westerns, Clint Eastwood? Again, me too. And I grew up on a steady diet of that genre with great movies like “A Fistful of Dollars,” “Hang ’em High,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I even liked the later high-budget variants starring Eastwood such as “Pale Rider” and “The Outlaw Josie Wales.” And there’s one thing that all his movies had that I can remember vividly. Great music soundtracks. Who doesn’t get chills when they hear the recorder and ocarina whistles of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”? And many of these soundtracks were written by Ennio Morricone, who unfortunately wasn’t taken seriously as a great composer at the time. Hey, they were only Spaghetti Westerns, right? 
So I was really pleased to find that the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sarah Hicks had recently done a concert of the greatest Clint Eastwood movie soundtracks, with a HUGE orchestra, big choirs, period instruments for the harmonica and ocarina parts, and a woman who can whistle. Wow, talk about a lavish production. If you have the bandwidth and you like Clint Eastwood movies, then you need to put on your headphones and treat yourself to a listen. Watch for the extra set pieces with bodies hanging from ropes and a silhouette of the man himself in a serape with a sunset behind him. Watch it in HD audio and video here.
One of the things that makes this production so interesting to me is that I’ve set up and mixed sound on a lot of similar but smaller events, so I see how all the pieces fit together. Hey, I even got to fire live howitzers for an outside production of the 1812 Overture. In any large production each individual has an important part to play, and they’re really serious about it. Guy clapping the boards together for the bullwhip sounds … Check. Mezzo soprano doing the perfect whistle and wah-wah sound … Check. Recorder and ocarina at the ready … Check. Symphonies are a visible representation of all the working parts that generally happen in the background that we never get a chance to see. 
For example, imagine all the things that go on in the background to make your Amazon order arrive at your address in a few days – or even the same day. Everything from the order processing to charging your credit card properly, to getting it packed in the right-size box, to arriving and being delivered by UPS or the USPS has to happen perfectly, or it all falls apart. 
So my take from this gorgeous production is that each of us has a role to play in life. Sometimes it’s just clapping the boards together at the right moment. Other times you get to be the conductor and direct the show. But each of us is vitally important to making the machine work. Without you, me and millions of other cogs in the machine, society itself would grind to a halt.  
Thanks for the memories, Clint… 
Copyright Mike Sokol 2018 – All Rights Reserved

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.



7 Thoughts to “Road Signs – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

  1. Steve Snure


    Thanks so much for the link. I too have always loved the spaghetti westerns, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra did a superb job of covering this classic. I’ve always thought that Ennio Morricone was an underrated composer. If wide spread remembrance and recognition of a song is any measure of a composer’s worth, his worth is well beyond those of many of his peers. How many times have you heard a song and said, “Now what movie was that from?” Not so with the music of Morricone!

  2. Booneyrat

    The old westerns are many times better than the modern “mush” garbage Hollywood puts out anymore.

    1. Mike Sokol

      I know what you mean. And I’m so tired of Hollywood remaking truly original films with a big budget and a focus on profit-only marketing. For instance, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly had a budget of only 1.2 million, but ended up grossing 25 million dollars at the box office and catapulted Clint Eastwood into stardom. Nowadays Hollywood doesn’t have many original ideas so it remakes Bladerunner, Total Recall, Ben-Hur, Foot Loose, etc…

  3. Kevin

    As a side note, Clint Eastwood has gone on to become a producer and an award winning director. He just turned 88 in May and is currrently producing, directing and acting in a new movie, The Mule, based on a true story. His energy and kindness on set is inspiring to all involved.

  4. TJM


    Your current newsletter which now expands articles on your technical knowledge is simply outstanding!

    To prove it, I just contributed funds to the RV Newsletter site to keep these articles going.

    Good Job.

    West USA
    June 24, 2018

    1. Mike Sokol

      Thanks very much. I work very hard at trying to make complicated technical concepts understandable by everyone. I was worried about the db/SPL article since it’s such a complex topic. But understanding deciBels is really necessary to be able to decrypt generator loudness marketing hype. I’m getting good feedback on it so far.

  5. David Lee

    What a nice respite from the usual RV news. That was beautifully done by the orchestra.

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