- Audio CD (23 Oct 2000)
- Number of Discs: 4
- Format: Box set
- Label: Reprise
- ASIN: B00004XN1K
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,813 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Finian's Rainbow: Overture - Orchestra|
|2. Finian's Rainbow: This Time Of The Year - The Hi-Lo's|
|3. Finian's Rainbow: How Are Things In Glocco Morra? - Rosemary Clooney|
|4. Finian's Rainbow: If This Isn't Love - Dean Martin|
|5. Finian's Rainbow: Look To The Rainbow - Rosemary Clooney|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
|1. Kiss Me Kate: Overture - Orchestra|
|2. Kiss Me Kate: Another Op'nin, Another Show - The Hi-Lo's|
|3. Kiss Me Kate: Why Can't You Behave - Jo Stafford|
|4. Kiss Me Kate: We Open In Venice - Frank Sinatra|
|5. Kiss Me Kate: So In Love - Johnny Prophet|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
|1. South Pacific: Overture - Orchestra|
|2. South Pacific: Dites-Moi - The McGuire Sisters|
|3. South Pacific: A Cock-Eyed Optimist - Jo Stafford|
|4. South Pacific: Twin Soliloquies - Frank Sinatra|
|5. South Pacific: Some Enchanted Evening - Frank Sinatra|
See all 17 tracks on this disc
|1. Guys And Dolls: Overture - Orchestra|
|2. Guys And Dolls: Fugue For Tinhorns - Frank Sinatra|
|3. Guys And Dolls: I'll Know - Jo Stafford|
|4. Guys And Dolls: The Oldest Established (Permanent Floating Crap Game In New York) - Frank Sinatra|
|5. Guys And Dolls: A Bushel And A Peck - The McGuire Sisters|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
'Guys and Dolls' may be the best of the four sets, but from the overtures (the orchestra is magnificent) through the reprises each album has its highlights. Sinatra's 'Luck Be a Lady' is definitive, Davis shines on 'Too Darn Hot' and Jo Stafford's performances are all flawless. Keely Smith performs on several tracks, all of which are excellent -- 'Always True to You in My Fashion' is especially fine, with lyrics that she delivers with the right balance of coyness and honesty. Smith's duets with Sinatra are a treat.
Other highlights: the ensemble performances with Crosby, Martin and Sinatra are fun in a wiseguy kind of way. Bing wasn't a kid in 1963, but his voice aged well, and it is rewarding to hear Sinatra work with the guy who inspired him to be a singer.
Shortcomings? While I did not hear the discrepancies between the Martin and Sinatra tracks mentioned in other reviews, the sound quality is just okay. Reprise in the early 1960s could not compare to Columbia or Capitol, so even these stereo recordings suffer from exaggerated channel separation (Sinatra sounds like he's in the next room on one track) and some loss of depth.
But, it is difficult or impossible to remaster quality that wasn't there to begin. If you really love the music, the performers and the era, sometimes you must take what you can get.
The highlights are too numerous to list, but for starters there's....How Are Things In Glocca Morra beautifully sung by Rosemary Clooney and Old Devil Moon by Frank, both from Finian's Rainbow. If you've enjoyed the recent Broadway revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate, as I have then you'll love Frank, Dean and Sammy's version of We Open In Venice. Sammy's Too Darn Hot is just that and Keely Smith, who would sound great doing the weather report, does a beautiful rendition of Always True To You In My Fashion. Also the lovely Jo Stafford shines on Why Can't You Behave. From Rogers and Hamerstein's South Pacific we get Sammy belting it out on There Is Nothing Like a Dame and Dinah Shore's delightful reading of I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair. The real topper of this set goes to Frank Loesser's masterpiece Guys and Dolls. This material suits the boys to a T. There's Frank, Bing and Dean hamming it up on The Oldest Floating Crap Game and Frank's stellar rendition of Luck Be A Lady. Dinah Shore is positively charming on the perennial If I Were A Bell and I love Sammy's swinging, Sit Down You're Rockin The Boat.
With beautifl packaging, inteligent liner notes and exclusive photos, this boxed set is a must-have for both broadway afficiandos and newcommers alike. I'd give it a dozen stars if I could, that's one for each great artist represented here.
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