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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Recording of a Stage Production, 6 Feb 2010
By 
Roger Rebec "Roger Rebec" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finian's Rainbow (Audio CD)
Finian's Rainbow has not been overly lucky on record. The original cast album reissued by Columbia Masterworks is in mono and, although an excellent job has been done in remastering for the most recent CD issue, it does sound its age. The 1960 stereo recording issued on RCA Victor highlighted a cast who performed well but did not seem to be having any fun. Then there was the film soundtrack which highlighted Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, Tommy Steele and the excellent Don Francks with the Ken Darby Singers and orchestra under the direction of Ray Heindorf. These performers proved not to be to everyone's taste.

The reviews of the new production have greatly praised the singing and it is very good indeed. The orchestrations seem to be based on the originals with discreet changes. The recorded sound is all you could wish for. The booklet contents photos and lyrics and an interesting essay on the show's creation. How does it compare to its predecessors?

If you want the most complete recording available and/or a recording of a stage performance and you are resistant to the performers on the film soundtrack, then your choice has to be this one. Personally, I prefer the wide-eyed innocence of Petula Clark's Sharon and the youth of Tommy Steel's Og to the the characterisations on this recording. Two words of dialogue "Me father" on "Look to the Rainbow" show the difference in the Sharons and, although Christopher Fitzgerald looks young in the photos, he sounds as old as Finian rather than the young Og Steele gives us, all confusion and raging hormones as he becomes human.

Rounding off the case for the film recording are the orchestrations. This is a magnificent score, one of Broadway's best, and the orchestrators for the film managed to make the score sound less routed in the theatre and more vital than it did orignally. In fairness to the new production, it retains the original 1940s setting, whereas the film seems set in a more recent period. "Old Devil Moon" in the film is so sexy and exactly what the moment requires. I do not think it has ever been better performed than in the film. On the new recording, it is a great song, extremely well sung.

Do not misunderstand me, I really like this new recording and I wouldn't want to be without it because it really does capture the feel of a theatre production (and there is some great harmonica playing from Guy Davis too) but I also would not want to be without the more modern orchestrations and more ideosyncratic star performances of the film soundtrack.

A further point to bear in mind when parting with your hard earned pennies is that this recording has become very expensive. You can currently buy two copies of the film version and have change from the cost of this one! The solution is to buy the film version and then get this one when it becomes less expensive. Good though it is (and it is very good indeed), it is also very expensive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Steele classic, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Finian's Rainbow (Audio CD)
not his best movie, but one of them, this is a brilliant film for all the family and can be enjoyed by all
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great musicals, 1 April 2011
This review is from: Finian's Rainbow (Audio CD)
Today a musical like this would never be allowed because of the tiresome political correctness and a scene where cigarettes are being made.
Which is no problem to me
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Finian's Rainbow
Finian's Rainbow by Cheyenne Jackson (Audio CD - 2011)
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