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Between 1967 and 1971, directors John Palmer and David Weisman, fixtures of Andy Warhol’s Factory, filmed Superstar/“It” girl Edie Sedgwick in what would ultimately prove to be the defining role of her short life as Susan Superstar, the subject of 1973’s Ciao! Manhattan. Adding to the visual style and Sedgwick’s performance, the film’s score perfectly captured the dark, drug-fueled haze it depicted. Finally, that soundtrack sees its first official release in any format, an essential document of post-Manson/Altamont disillusionment.
Interspersed with frightening snippets of unsettling, paranoid dialog, the Ciao! Manhattan OST merges haunting Moog passages from The Factory’s Gino Piserchio with contemporary rock for a succinct snapshot of the period. John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas offers “Malibu People,” a mellow piece recalling early ’70s Lou Reed, while Byrds/New Riders of the Purple Sage/Flying Burrito Brothers bassist Skip Battin gleefully delivers Kim Fowley’s “Citizen Kane.” Broadway star Kim Milford, who lent his talent to Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Picture Show performs “Justice,” which takes a show tune approach to Reed’s quiet intensity. Richie Havens offers three tracks: the mournful folk soul of “To Give All Your Love Away” and “I Can’t Make It Anymore,” as well as the closing eight-plus minute freakout of “Shouldn’t All the World Be Dancing?”. It’s a journey through time to an era long gone and destined to be forgotten.
Edie Sedgwick OD’d on barbiturates in early in 1971, before the film was completed. She remains immortal, however, in the film that captured the essence of her brief lifetime.
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