An American Tail: Fievel Goes West

James Horner

" Adventurous fun from left to right, for young and old, from Horner named James "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Five years after An American Tail, a sequel was born. It received the name Fievel goes West. Luckily not a lot did change in those 5 years, meaning it was already a done deal that James Horner would return to score the sequel. The first American Tail provided the listener with a thematic and emotional quality listen. For the second Horner added the fun to it. The personality takes the best of you in Fievel goes West, offering you bits of Casper, Willow, The Land before Time and The Rocketeer, combined together.

All this has got to do with the wild wild west, and Horner immediately throws in an excellent main theme to prove it. Firstly discovered in its fullest capacity in "Headin' Out West", it is a wild wild keeper all right. One of the cool new things of the album is that the old themes return, while the new themes appear faster and more feistier, creating a link between the softer seriousness of the first and the pace of the second.

The album itself captures your attention rather quickly as well. In fact this due to the once more excellent main song performed by Linda Ronstadt. The children version performed by one of the characters in the movie is equally enchanting (and isn't shattered because the young star can actually sing in this one, and secondly because it doesn't become childish whatsoever).

The main plus point of An American Tail: Fievel goes West is that it contains much more Horner score than the first. This makes sure Horner has got the time to throw his old and new themes together. He incorporates the "Duo" theme, the emotional theme and the "Somewhere out There" theme into the new design, which brings in the end 2 extra new themes. The themes of the song "Dreams to Dream" and the western one are the most enjoyable of them all. So, there is variety, a bigger sound and a lot more to discover.

One of the main highlights portraying the thematic abundance has got to be "Building a New Town", a wonderful mix of Horner's mind boggling design. The real entertainment continues in "In Training" and "The Shoot – Out". Those 2 tracks use wacky western cowboy music (used in the trailer of The Cowboy Way) while "A New Land / The Future" is one of the best suites of Horner's career so far.

So while An American Tail sounded a bit childish in parts (especially in the songs), Fievel goes West corrects this with a driving tempo and entertaining new themes. That these share resemblances to some other Horner material is considered after all these years a common known fact. So you better expect styles out of Casper, The Land before Time, Cocoon, The Rocketeer, An American Tail and various others to name just a few. But to be fair it is the fun that dictates the listening experience, not the known style. So, it's a notch behind the true classic gems of Horner's career, but it's an entertaining ride full of old and new themes nonetheless. Making Fievel goes West the best of the two for sure.


1. Dreams to Dream: Linda Ronstadt + (4.42) Excellent track
2. American Tail Overture * (7.09)
3. Cat Rumble * (7.29)
4. Headin' Out West * (2.36) Excellent track
5. Way Out West + (1.47)
6. Green River / Trek Trough the Desert * (5.44)
7. Dreams to Dream + (2.34) Excellent track
8. Building a New Town * (2.44) Excellent track
9. Sacred Mountain * (2.22)
10. Reminiscing * (2.13)
11. The Girl You Left Behind + (1.42)
12. In Training * (1.50) Excellent track
13. The Shoot - Out * (5.29)
14. A New Land / The Future * (8.17) Excellent track

* Soundtrack composed by James Horner
+ Music by James Horner, Lyrics by Will Jennings

Total Length: 56.40
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 33 votes - average 4.3/5)

Released by

MCA Records MCAD 10416 (regular release 1991)

Conducted by

James Horner

Orchestrations by

John Neufeld & Greig McRitchie