It always starts somewhere. Time Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber started their collaboration in the sixties with this musical. The songs survived but the book didn't, so for this production a narrator in the person of Stephen Fry was introduced to link the songs together. The story isn't good, the songs are not the best this couple has ever made, but the whole production is great to listen too. One song (Love Is Here) was later used in the musical By Jeeves (but I prefer this version). And the very first song Rice and Lloyd Webber wrote together is sung here by Tim Rice himself (Going, Going, Gone) Altogether highly recommendable!
Not Oliver, not The Lord ALW in any other form, yet there are foreshadowings and orchestrations and echoes. But something insistently unique and thoughtful. Robust concept and strong characters. Melodies that are memorable and lyrics that are astonishingly witty. And a narrator that made me laugh out loud over a dozen times and smile every time his honey-tongued warblings licked my lobes. (In case you don't know, the narrator is Stephen Fry. And Tim Rice plays the auctioneer....)
The only thing i wish is, i had bought this sooner.This is a wonderfull recording,made all the better for the live audience and Stephen Fry's links to the songs.The music is very tunefull,and the perfomers are excellent.Andrew LLoyd Webber could do with filling his new musicals with such a full and singable score.I cant recomend this enough.
Wasn't expecting much as this has never made it to the stage but was really surprised at how good it is. Catchy songs and narrated by Stephen Fry. Great. a lot better than some new musicals I have seen and better than every Juke Box musical ever made. Would love to see it on stage!
The Likes Of UsIt was fine, I saw my daughter in an amateur version in York and wanted the real one. It was lovely, wasnt Andrew Lloyd Webber clever to write all these catchy songs when he was only 16?
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is what failed to launch the careers of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber forty years ago." So Stephen Fry ends this superb souvenir of a very special occasion: 2005 world premiere of the first Rice-Lloyd Webber musical, performed in a converted church at Sydmonton, Lloyd Webber's estate. Songs, lyrics, orchestrations are virtually unchanged. The main difference is that the original book has been replaced by Stephen Fry's narration - he typically very funny and mischievous.
The subject? Dr. Barnardo's struggles to help London's urchins, opposition from all sides gradually giving way to respect.
First reactions are surprise and delight at just how good it is - a musical in the old tradition (pre-synthesisers, etc., which may extra please quite a few). Pleasures abound. They include "Love is Here" (the tune later to reappear in "By Jeeves!" - composers always having an advantage over lyricists when recycling), "Strange and Lovely Song", "This is my Time", "Lion Hearted Land" (Tim Rice in fine form), "A Man on his Own", "Have Another Cup of Tea". Of particular interest is "Going, Going, Gone!" - the very first song the two ever wrote, Rice here performing as the auctioneer.
The recording is a delight in its own right, but it also fascinates to see early signs of the talents destined for triumphs the world over. Stephen Fry is the icing on the cake, many laughs guaranteed - as when he introduces "a typical cabinet meeting which begins with lusty singing, a tradition which continues to this very day I believe."
Yes, here are treats all the way through. Great fun, and warmly recommended.
This is a great addition to the Lloyd Webber catalogue and deserves to be on the shelf of any Muscials fan. It's easy to see why it never made it to the stage when it was written - why would the West End need another 'Oliver'-esque musical. But forty years later it sounds fresh and is a real pleasure to listen to. Unlike the aformentioned 'Oliver' the piece is generally one of pleasure and there are few moments of sadness, and the songs are quite spirited! The title song is melancholic but never does it stir the same deep emotions that you get when listening (or watching) Oliver, but saying that, the ensemble pieces are fun and evoke the same satisfaction as the company numbers in 'Oliver'.
Anyway, 'Oliver' aside, the music is more reminiscent of 'Joseph' than any of the other Lloyd Webber musicals, and this is where we see the genius of the Lord LLoyd Webber. Those who are familiar with his musicals are aware that the sound-worlds created for each musical is exclusive to that piece. There are critics that would argue that his tunes sound the same but that's simply not true. You couldn't take a song out of 'Aspects' and stick it in the middle of 'Starlight' for example. And OK, two of these tunes resurface in other works (one in By Jeeves and another in Song & Dance/Variations) but I imagine Lloyd Webber/Rice probably thought that this show would never see the light of day!
But what lovely music it is. It suggests the music of Richard Rodgers (Lloyd Webber's hero) more than any of his other songs (OK, except All I Ask Of You perhaps) and I remember how when I first listened to the Overture, I imagined a full Orchestra playing an Overture for an old classic musical!
Love Is Here and A Strange And Lovely Song are instantly likable, and the commentary by Stephen Fry enhances the performance (although, after a while you just want to listen to the songs!) and the CD comes HIGHLY recommended!
I thought the Likes Of Us was great fun, with Stephen Fry on top form as usual! I especially thought the number "LOVE IS HERE" was a lovely duet with 2 lovely voices, that i have not had the priviledge to hear before! I thought the humour of the piece was great and thought the fact Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were making fun of themselves made it all the better. I think this would be a good one for the stage but only for a limited run... as i cant see it being another CATS! The music didnt give me goose pimples or touch any particular nerves, but i really enjoyed it and will look forward to listening to it again! And the main thing i liked about it as that it wasnt typically Andrew Lloyd Webber, it was very different from his later stuff! Although I am a big ALW fan! A