I probably was drawn to listen to the original “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” soundtracks this week due to my last few posts subconsciously reminding me of that 1964 spy show’s gadgetry.
Some time back, I bought the three U.N.C.L.E. soundtrack packages (2 CDs each) from Film Score Monthly. They were compiled by Jon Burlingame, who also wrote the detailed booklets included in each set. The scores by Jerry Goldsmith, Morton Stevens, Walter Scharf, Lalo Schifrin, Gerald Fried, Robert Drasnin and Richard Shores still sound great.
I can hardly stand to put CDs into a player at this point, preferring to rip them once to my Plex server for anytime, anywhere use with Plex apps in Roku, my smartphone, or the Raspberry Pi/OSMC. My mental set has changed, as when TV came in and altered peoples’ relationship to radio.
It’s especially difficult to physically handle these sets, as 2-CD jewel boxes seem prone to breakage and droppage. Also, the fat little booklets (important for full enjoyment of the music) do not enjoy being extracted from or replaced in the cases.
I had previously ripped these CDs with Windows Media Player, but the result was a mess. WMP’s tagging of the .mp3 files was inconsistent, possibly due to the sets being limited editions. This made them poorly organized under Plex.
The first problem is with Plex seeing each CD of the pair as a separate album. To solve it:
- Rip the first CD of the set. Then open up Mp3tag and display the folder containing the .mp3 files. Mp3tag shows you a tag called “discnumber”.
- Select all the tracks, make their discnumber=1 and save.
- Do the same with the ripped tracks from the second disc, making those tracks discnumber=2.
- Then you can move all the .mp3s into a single folder, and Plex will see it as a single album with 2 CDs.
In addition, Plex needed a couple of tags to be fixed:
The “Album” and “Album Artist” tags are key.
I had to experiment with the “Album” tag. Windows Media Player had tagged it “The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Vol. 1 [Original Soundtrack Album] Disc 1” (and then Disc 2), which confused Plex, even after removing the “Disc 1/2″ part of the tag.
Ultimately, in Mp3tag, I changed all the tracks to Album=”The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Vol. 1″ and Album Artist=”Various Artists”. The latter is a catchall solution for compilation albums, and soundtrack albums not entirely composed of tracks from a single artist.
Windows Media Player had also filed the album folder under Music/Soundtrack. To correspond with my retagging, I moved all the tracks to a folder I named “The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Vol. 1″ (same as the Album tag) under the already-existing Music/Various Artists folder.
Mp3tag revealed that the music already was tagged Genre=”Soundtrack”, which is good enough for my purposes, so I deleted the now-empty Soundtracks folder.
I repeated the above for Volumes 2 and 3.
The album art Plex selected for each album was a bit grainy. If you can find (or scan) a higher-resolution version, you can edit the album in Plex and add the new art under “Poster”. I also added a landscape-oriented Background image of the U.N.C.L.E. logo for each album.
(FYI, most CDs rip correctly with no alteration needed. These were exceptions.)
Not yet content, I wanted to keep all the album booklets together for use while listening.
I repurposed a UPS mailer, printing and gluing on an image found via Google.
(I always wondered why Napoleon Solo’s badge was #11, while Illya was #2. No mystery about Mr. Waverly being #1. If Solo ever complained, maybe Illya pointed out in mock solace that “11” in binary is 3 in decimal.)
Back in the dot-matrix printer era (the 1990s), I printed out an excellent online U.N.C.L.E. TV episode guide, written by Bill Koenig. At that time, I went so far as to bind it into a homemade U.N.C.L.E. folder. With the new packet, I have a dossier.
(This guide is available at SpyCommandFeatures.wordpress.com with additional articles about the show. I added a shortcut to my phone for even easier reference.)
Heroes & Icons (Tulsa channel 41.4) has been playing “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” I have recorded all but 4 of the 105 episodes to hard drive with my Raspberry Pi/OSMC/Windows Media Center setup. The remaining 4 should be coming up within the next month.
My next project may be to remove the commercials and convert them to .mp4 format with MCEBuddy.
Previous U.N.C.L.E. research from Tulsa TV Memories: