8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Okay, but not good enough.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Cats (Original London Cast Recording) (Audio CD)
The world-premiere recording of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Cats is a good record in many ways. It contains many wonderful songs (not only is Memory included, but also others like Mr. Mistoffelees and the Prologue, Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.) The singers give crisp, clear performances, as crisp as the singers on the original Broadway cast recording. Elaine Paige is of course a wonderful Grizabella, and she is joined by a cast of outstanding singers like Brian Blessed as a sonorous Old Deuteronomy, Myra Sands as a motherly Gumbie Cat and Wayne Sleep as a youthful and innocent Mr. Mistoffelees. However, Paul Nicholas's Rum Tum Tugger is a little bit stiff. I prefer Terrence Mann's comical portrayal of the part on the Broadway soundtrack. Also, Stephen Tate's portrayal of Gus, The Theatre Cat (which includes Growltiger) is not so good. He seems to mumble to himself when he sings his parts (but his Growltiger is an exception, although a bit stiff.) The music itself is so different from the revised version we know today, as featured on the Broadway soundtrack. Though there are some long-deleted verses, some music is not very good, especially the original setting of "Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer," performed stylishly by John Thornton and Bonnie Langford, which is too stiff for my liking. This record also features the elusive "Ballad of Billy M'Caw," as featured in "Growltiger's Last Stand." "Billy M'Caw" is a good song, but sometimes I feel that the parody of Italian opera that we all know nowadays suits the score better. Overall, I feel that despite the weaknesses of this recording, you still get a wonderful picture of how Lloyd-Webber originally wanted CATS to sound. For the beginning purchaser, leave this record for later and buy the import Broadway soundtrack on Geffen, but for the afficionado, buy it as soon as you possibly can.