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A magnificent collection of Elaine's music
on 28 October 2004
Elaine established herself long ago as Britain's finest theatrical singer. This compilation features several new recordings while bringing together the best of her earlier music from the seventies, eighties and nineties. Comparisons with Barbra Streisand are inevitable as they are both singer-actresses with similar types of voice (though you wouldn't mistake one for the other) and they've recorded each other's songs (Barbra has recorded Memory while Elaine has recorded The way we were, though it's not here) ad there are a few other songs that they've both recorded. But there are differences too, so there's plenty of room for both in the same music collection.
Elaine first became known as the original actress in the London cast recording of Evita. In that role, she sang Don't cry for me Argentina. Her recording was not a hit (and may not have been released as a single) but the song is generally regarded (at least in Britain) as hers despite the major UK hit versions by Julie Covington in the seventies and Madonna in the nineties. Elaine further established her reputation via her role in Cats, in which she sang Memory.
Elaine released an album of theatrical songs (Stages - it was actually her third album but the earliest represented here) to capitalize on Memory and Don't cry for me Argentina, containing those two songs and several new recordings, all covers of songs from musicals that Elaine would have liked to star in. She followed this with several other excellent albums including one devoted to movie songs (Cinema), a Christmas album and tribute albums to Queen and Edith Piaf. Her other albums had no obvious themes but were also of a high quality.
All those albums are represented here except the Queen album, which is generally regarded as Elaine's weakest album although I enjoy it. Surprisingly, Stages is only represented by three tracks, these being Memory, Don't cry for me Argentina and Another suitcase. The Piaf tribute is better represented, with six tracks included here - the six with French titles. The Christmas album is represented by Wishing on a star and Ave Maria.
The musical Chess gave Elaine the biggest hit of her career - I know him so well, a duet with Barbara Dickson, which topped the UK charts in 1985. Whitney Houston later covered this song as a duet with her mother and it can be found on her second album.
Elaine made so many great recordings that even a double CD cannot hope to include them all, but this collection contains a fair representation of her music.