Sunday, July 7, 2013
Stroker Ace (soundtrack)
This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Stroker Ace, the 1983 film about NASCAR driving that starred Burt Reynolds, his future wife Loni Anderson (they wed in 1988), Jim Nabors, Ned Beatty, Parker Stevenson and pro football player turned actor Bubba Smith. There were also appearances in the movie by real-life NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Benny Parsons and many more.
Parts of the movie were actually filmed not too far from where I live now - at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Other sites included the Talladega Speedway in Alabama and the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia.
The screenplay was an adaptation of the 1971 novel Stand On It, an “autobiography” of a race driver named Stroker Ace. William Neely and Bob Ottum were the authors behind the fictional character.
The film was a commercial and critical failure. It cost $16.5 million to make and only pulled $13 million in US box office sales. It received five Golden Raspberry Award nominations including one win for Nabors as Worst Supporting Actor.
Here on the blog, I like to talk about music and there was a five song EP soundtrack album released with the film. This month marks the thirtieth anniversary Stroker Ace. Unfortunately, the music from this one is near impossible to find anywhere on-line as it was only ever released on vinyl (no surprise considering how poorly the film did).
Side one features two tracks from the South Carolina country-rockers the Marshall Tucker Band - “Southern Loving” and “Victim of Life’s Circumstances”.
Side two opens with “What Have We Got to Lose” by Larry Gatlin. The singer-songwriter performed both with his brothers Steve and Rudy as well as solo.
The born-blind country singer Terri Gibbs is next with “I Feel a Heartache Comin’ On”.
Composer Al Capps closes things out with the instrumental piece “On the Road’. Capps had an ongoing working relationship with Reynolds, having done work also on Sharky’s Machine and The Cannonball Run.
Surprisingly absent from the original vinyl was “Stroker’s Theme” by the Charlie Daniels Band; it would show up on their compilation album A Decade of Hits which came out the same summer as the film. This rollicking recap of the film’s main storyline went to number 65 on the US Billboard Country charts.
While we often saw Burt Reynolds films in the theatre growing up (hey, there was not a lot to do in our small town), I can definitely say I did not see Stroker Ace on its initial run. I probably did catch it on HBO though at some point, most likely when I was back home from college on a break and had nothing to watch while I unwound from my educational pursuits.