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Great sequel to earlier Broadway album
on 23 May 2009
Following her very successful Broadway album, Barbra returned to the theme a few years later (and returned to many of the same musicals) with this fine offering. We don't get any bonus tracks this time, but there is still plenty to enjoy here.
The set opens with Some enchanted evening (from South Pacific), a song that Barbra wasn't originally particularly keen on, but she was eventually persuaded to record it and was, it seems, very happy with the result. So she should be, as it makes a great opening to the album. Everybody says don't (from Anyone can whistle) is one of just three Stephen Sondheim songs featured here, compared with seven on her original Broadway album. Barbra sings the song with a certain amount of anger, reflecting the frustrations she felt during her career as people kept telling her what not to do.
The music of the night (from Phantom of the opera) brings Barbra together with the song's original performer, Michael Crawford. I'll always remember him as an actor in the TV comedy series Some mothers do `ave `em, where he played the role of Frank Spencer, and for that reason find it difficult to take Michael seriously as a singer, great singer though he undoubtedly is. Speak low (from One touch of Venus) is a great song that I didn't know prior to hearing Barbra's version. More familiar to me are the two songs from Sunset Boulevard (As if we never said goodbye, With one look). Following the first of these comes Children will listen (from Into the woods). Originally performed as an incomplete song, Stephen Sondheim duly revisited it at Barbra's request and found some other bits that had never been used, adapting them for Barbra.
Next is a medley from West side story (I have a love / One hand one heart), for which Barbra brought in Johnny Mathis as a duet partner. Then come two songs from Guys and dolls (I've never been in love before, Luck be a lady) performed separately, not as a medley. Barbra originally performed Luck be a lady regularly as a teenager and was surprised to find that she'd never actually recorded it, so did so here. After the second Sunset Boulevard track comes The man I love, which was written for a musical but not included in the final score. It was nevertheless popularized by Helen Morgan. Finally comes Move on (from Sunday in the park with George), another excellent song.
This is yet another wonderful Barbra Streisand album, complete with liner notes but without song lyrics, that all Barbra's fans should own.