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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelled to give this 5 stars
Not because it's the best album in the world (let alone the best show in the world) but because, arriving as it did in 1981 and being the daddy of all Cats recordings, this is the only version with a single shred of originality. Obvious perhaps, seeing as it came first, but it's actually quite unique.

This is why:

It's the only album with...
Published on 7 Jan 2007 by M. C. Cresswell

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are downloading this online.....
As a curiosity this is fantastic, and I don't entirely regret buying it as its the most complete Cat's album that one can download.
I also completely understood before I bought the album that this was the Original 1981 version and was bound to be a little rough around the edges compared to the live show as it developed in the 90's and the '98 Video.
However I...
Published 3 months ago by David


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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelled to give this 5 stars, 7 Jan 2007
By 
M. C. Cresswell - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cats (Audio CD)
Not because it's the best album in the world (let alone the best show in the world) but because, arriving as it did in 1981 and being the daddy of all Cats recordings, this is the only version with a single shred of originality. Obvious perhaps, seeing as it came first, but it's actually quite unique.

This is why:

It's the only album with sufficiently powerful orchestrations - listen to the Overture or the Jellicle Ball to see what I mean. At the same time there is shade and subtlety not found on other recordings.

It's the only album to feature the original, full length versions of Bustopher Jones, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Old Deuteronomy, The Ballad of Billy McCaw and - most significantly - Memory, which was subsequently torn to bits for Broadway and other productions (sadly even London).

It's the only version to pull together such a mass of new and established talent - Bonnie Langford, Sarah Brightman, Jeff Shankley, Brian Blessed, Paul Nicholas, Wayne Sleep, Elaine Page.

Finally, it's the only version of the show which has an individual, un-sausage-moulded sound, be it orchestrations, musicianship, production, or vocal interpretations. Almost all other albums which followed are identical to each other, but this one stands out. The possible exception is the Broadway cast album, in which Betty Buckley tears Memory to shreds. Dreadful perhaps, but at least it's memorable!

Cats is supposed to be, and be about, magic, and this album has it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only they would come out with the video version., 17 Mar 2003
By 
Nicola Jarvis (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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I love CATS. I love the musical, but like many people, I saw the video before buying the soundtrack, which I knew even at the time would let me down when hearing the original soundtrack. I was expecting the differences. But the difference was too much to be able to forgive to give this 5 stars. There was no 'Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles', one of my favourite songs, and 'Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer' was very different. The newer version they came up with was much better. The original Munkustrap did not act through his voice like Michael Gruber did. This soundtrack was slightly unsatisfying after watching the video. I only have myself to blame. The booklet was a bit of a disappointment, yes it has the lyrics but the presentation looks cheap and has no design whatsoever, it doesnt even tell you which character is singing which part, you are left to guess that much. 'The Rum Tum Tugger' has no John Partridge in it, but its nice and entertaining all the same (I like the meows at the beginning but they werent in the original). Elaine Paige is there singing the famous Memory with conviction, accompanied by Sarah Brightman who plays Jemima with the most beautiful voice (an up on this version). I had never heard of Growl tiger before and I can't say I really like it. I think that I must of seen it to appreciate it. Despite all its drawbacks, this soundtrack is 'CATS' and there is no denying that, which makes it great. I give it four stars, because although very different to the video version, it still has the beautiful music by Webber and wonderful and humourous lyrics based on T. S. Eliots text. Ive also given it four because I know that I am biased towards the video version. Maybe if I listened to the soundtrack first then watched the video, I would complain about the videos version! The London version in my opinion is better than the Broadway version, so get this one and enjoy!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not at all the cat-astrophe i imagined, 1 July 2004
The first time i saw and heard Cats was on the DVD and so when I bought the original soundtrack I expected it to be different from the movie because obviously it would have changed over the past 20 years or so. Anyway I loved this album. I loved the old style version of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser and I could really feel the engery of the cast in Jellicle songs for jellicle cats. Brian Blessed puts in a great performance as Bustopher Jones and Old Deuteronomy and, in my opinion Paul Nicholas beats John Partridge hands down. Stephen Tate and Susan Jane Tanner had me in tears in The Ballad of Billy McCaw it was so beautiful. I didn't really like Jeff Shankley as Munkustrap, he didn't seem to have much to sing as alot of the narratve was sung by Wayne Sleep as a charming Mistoffelees. I do think that the invitation to the jellicle ball could have been a bit longer at the end but all in all an absolute fantastic song. Elaine Paige really took my breath away though as Grizabella. I can't imagine her in any other role as this one seems to have been put together especially for her and I could really feel the despair in her voice.I think she was truly brilliant. This CD is the absolute best ever of Cats and it surpasses the original australian cast who were also truly spectacular.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CATS � NOW AND FOREVER, 21 Nov 2004
In many ways Cats was a turning point for Andrew Lloyd Webber. At the beginning of the 80-is he was already a hugely successful musical theatre composer, thanks to his work with the lyricist Tim Rice on "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita". In the early 1980-is he decided to part ways with Rice and many people predicted him a quick downfall, even more so when he decided to use T. S. Eliot's book of children's poetry called "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" as a basis for his next musical. He used then a relatively unknown musical director Trevor Nunn and Gillian Lynne as a choreographer. Cats was imagined as a mixture of pop songs and ballet; by that time an unseen combination for a musical, so it is no wonder that Webber and his producer Cameron Mackintosh had trouble finding financial backup. The show opened in London and became a phenomenon in its own right. It closed in London after exactly 21 years of running in May 2001. The same thing happened when the show came to Broadway in 1982; it closed after 18 years of running, in 2000. Cats thus became the longest running musical in the history of both West End and Broadway.
So you may wonder what it's all about. It's quite simple really. Many people say that Cats hasn't got a story. It's certainly true that the plot is very simple and that's part of the appeal for the audiences. We are presented with a group of special cats, known as Jellicle cats. They meet once a year to decide who among them is worthy to get a chance to be reborn and start a new life. Since we meet them at that precise night, each of them tells us about their lives and habits through the musical numbers. There is one character among them, Grizabella the Glamour Cat, once of great beauty, but now an ugly and dilapidated thing, because at some point in her life, she decided to leave the others in her tribe and get to know the outside world; a move which eventually led her to prostitution. Because of that she is repeatedly rejected by other cats when she tries to make an entrance and compete as a candidate for a new life, determined to change her life style and pursue a happy life style she once knew. So besides the fact that we meet all kinds of different characters that often have characteristics very similar to human ones, Cats at the same time is a wonderful story of redemption and forgiveness. Besides the story the audiences loved the excellent choreography and dancing together with beautiful and distinctive feline makeup each character of Cats had. It is a show that is suited for the young and the old.
It is surprising that the longest musical in history can boast with only two recordings, the London and the Broadway one. The London recording in question here certainly has its merits after all these years, yet because the show was somewhat changed with time, it can't be considered definite. That honor would go to Cats DVD that was filmed in London in 1997. The song interpretation, orchestrations and the cast are spotless there. The lyrics are included in the booklet.
This recording here is almost complete, with only a short narrative song missing. It is remastered, so the sound quality is excellent. There are many great songs a listener will enjoy. Some of them are: "Old Gumbie Cat", about a nice and warm house cat; "Rum Tum Tugger", a naughty and never satisfied cat played by Paul Nicholas; "Bustopher Jones", an aristocrat among cats, "Skimbleshanks: The railway cat" and many more. Of course, by far the best known of all the songs and melodies from Cats is "Memory", which, I dare to say is among the top five songs Andrew Lloyd Webber has ever written and one of the best known and most beautiful songs ever to be found in musical theatre. It is preformed by Grizabella character, here played by the one and only first lady of the British musical theatre, Elaine Paige. Ms. Paige made her name several years prior to Cats, with her portrayal of Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita. She joined the ensemble of Cats at the last minute as a replacement for the badly injured Judi Dench, thus confirming her talent and stardom status. Although many people sung the role after Elaine, Betty Buckley including, her rendition is still considered by many to be definite. That is confirmed by the fact that when the show was filmed for TV and DVD, Ms. Paige was called once again to reprise her role after 16 years. Her performance on this CD from 1981 captures the longing and desperation of the character. With time, Ms. Paige's vocal abilities have matured and her best rendition of "Memory" can be heard in that Cats DVD or in her latest compilation entitled "Centre Stage: The very best of Elaine Paige", which was released in May this year. That recording of "Memory" is for sure the best to date, because of her voice and the fact that the score is played by the 80-piece orchestra. Among other interesting thing in this recording is Sarah Brightman's debut as Jemima; her voice being very young and full of innocence.
Although this recording may sound a bit dated in some aspects, it's nevertheless a gem and should be heard by everyone who have interest in modern musical theatre. But if you want to experience Cats in all its glory, buy yourself the CATS DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cool for catz!, 30 Nov 1999
By 
The only thing I don't like about this cd is that I bought it in a record shop for a higher price than the one offered here. The songs are funky and guaranteed to cheer you up (except perhaps "Grizabella the glamour cat" and "Memory".) This is a must for anyone who loves cats or music (even better if you are nuts about both). If you haven't seen the show, see it. Then buy the video version and the book by T.S.Eliot, "Old Possum's book of Practical Cats" - not an advert for amazon, this is required reading for your full appreciation of this masterpiece. When you have worn them both out listen to the cd once more and then go and see the show again - if you're not sick of it all by then, you'll be hooked forever - just like me. Some people may analyse the different musical genres used by A.Lloyd-Webber, but I am young, uneducated in the history of music and just enjoy what I hear, so don't worry if you're the same - enjoyment doesn't always come from understanding! This cd is especially good as it has all the songs that were originally written and performed, whereas this isn't always the case with the stage productions nowadays as the show has been running for so long. Having so many famous names on the cd is a bonus as, famous or not, all the singers bring warmth and personality to the cats they are playing. But don't take my word for it - find out for yourself!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Longest Running Webber, 30 Jan 2006
By 
Ek Stewart "Book Explorer" (Newport, South Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cats (Audio CD)
Well I'm not Andrews biggest fan but let me tell you this show is one of the greatest ever. With T. S. Elliot's lyrics and music by Webber Cats is an outstanding show. Its fun and imaginative and if it isn't already in your CD collection then buy it today, you will not regret it. It will lift any mood and take you straight into the unknown world of cats with its enchanting music.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one and only!, 19 Nov 2000
Take no heed of anyone who calls any of this performance "stiff". I attended Cats in the preview week, back in 1981 and never since have I been so carried away by anything. This is a CD of fantastic music; a must for every dance, music, cat and poetry lover out there. I will not have this likened to the Broadway re-write. In my opinion CATS should have been left as it is, Despite some very "English" humour, especially the subtlety of Rum, Tum Tugger and the history of Victorian variety theatre conjured up by Gus. Everything Mistofflees of Singapore objected to, are what makes this the only CD of CATS that I would ever listen to. Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, The original and best, 2 July 2004
By 
J. GLEW "jane glew" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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The Original London Cast Recording of "Cats" is absolutely fantastic. The singing and orchestration is wonderful and close to the real thing ! If you like this musical, I recommend you buy the DVD of "Cats" which is also available from Amazon.co.uk. The cast is different (with the exception of Elaine Paige as Grizabella and one of two others) but I beleive it is just as good as the brilliant London Cast Recording. Buy this now, before it goes out-of-print !
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3.0 out of 5 stars If you are downloading this online....., 5 Sep 2014
This review is from: Cats (Audio CD)
As a curiosity this is fantastic, and I don't entirely regret buying it as its the most complete Cat's album that one can download.
I also completely understood before I bought the album that this was the Original 1981 version and was bound to be a little rough around the edges compared to the live show as it developed in the 90's and the '98 Video.
However I didn't expect such a huge tonal shift. There seems to be a kind of aimlessness and an overtly Jazz vibe to the arrangements, and there is much less contrast between the different characters.

Some things are intact, and I'm happy to have an early draft of some of my favourite music, but I want Music that will get me up and singing and being different characters. I want energy, and for the music to make me feel and paint pictures in my mind. Frustrating beyond belief that there are no 90's recordings available on CD or MP3.

Get this album if you are fascinated to look back and compare or a fan of the show as it first opened. If you are a lover of the show having seen it live post '83 or having owned the Video.... listen to the preview tracks carefully and just pick out the things that are worth your while.

One last thing.... Where's the Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer I love? Really hope they release a solid version of the revised piece as it was in '98. The original music for the song.... well they really are horrible cats.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cats, 21 April 2004
By A Customer
This cd is extremely good and I was not disappointed at all. It doesn'tinclude the newest version of mungojerrie and rumpleteazer which is a bitof a dissapointment as it was one of my favourite bits on the stage showbut the other songs are excellent. The aweful battle of the pekes and thepollicles isn't on either but that is more visual so it doesn't matter.Memory is fantastic and I think Skimbleshanks is better than on the stageshow. But definatly worth the buy.
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