Top positive review
14 April 2010
"Guilty Too" (2005) was a twenty-fifth anniversary follow-up to the original "Guilty" album that saw the marriage of the two giant creative talents that are Barbra and Barry. The original was one of those rare albums where virtually every track was a classic. "Guilty Too" is not in that league, and my initial reaction was one of disappointment. But in fact, there are no duff tracks on this album at all, and three songs are worth five stars, in my opinion.
At sixty-four Streisand is still sounding good. Most of the songs are written by Barry Gibb with two of his sons, Ashley and Stephen. The production, led by Barry Gibb, is of the usual high standard, and had to be, for in his biography `Barbra; The Way She Is', Christopher Andersen says that Streisand "once again demanded retake after retake after exhausting retake" in her quest for perfection. There are excellent and varied arrangements: for example, the laid back `It's up to You' leads into a disco `Night of My Life', before we then have a cocktail-baresque `Above the Law' and then an Andrew Lloyd Webber-sounding `Without Your Love'. But all of these are within a consistent overall soundworld.
Like the original album, there are two duets with Barry Gibb, the first `Come Tomorrow' is no `Guilty', but it has strengths nevertheless, whilst the other `Above the Law' has some wonderful lines, like "The end of my rainbow is outside your window". The Gibbs' good lyrical sense is also present in the opening of `Hideaway' and also in `Night of My Life'. The single `Stranger in a Strange Land' benefits from vocalised brass pulses, as does `All the Children'. This latter track ends brilliantly and powerfully as Streisand's voice repeatedly rises up and drops down over a sustained chord in the orchestra, a sustained rhythm, and Barry Gibb's vocal line. And we have a bonus in the shape of Streisand's rendition of a 1970s Bee Gees classic `(Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away'.
In my mind, this is one of the best Streisand albums in years, and one hopes it is not too long before these two powerhouses get together again for a third album, `Guilt-Free'?