Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Barbra Streisand - The Broadway Album (1985)

Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

I'm not much of a Streisand fan. In fact, this is the only Streisand album I've ever owned. This album is an interesting experiment. Streisand has a fantastic voice and she picks some great and not-so-great music from American musical theater and "updates" their sound for this compilation. While the sound may have been updated in 1985, it sounds terribly outdated in 2011 - lots of over-produced synthesizer arrangements. Even though I listened to this album quite a bit, there must have been something about it I eventually didn't care for: Streisand came out with Back To Broadway in 1993 and I've never heard any of it. I'm going to place this disc in the "good, but not great" category.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (3 weeks, Jan 25 - Feb 8, 1986)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1

Tracks: With the help of tasty harmonica work from Stevie Wonder, Can't Help Lovin' that Man (from Showboat) is probably the best cut on the album. I've never been much of a Sondheim fan, so most of my favorites here come from other composers, including If I Loved You (from Carousel), the medley of I Have Dreamed/We Kiss In A Shadow/Something Wonderful (from The King and I), and, despite it's horrid synth drum arrangement, Something's Coming (from West Side Story). The one Sondheim track I like is Not While I'm Around (from Sweeney Todd). I'm not fond of Being Alive (from Company) and Adelaide's Lament (from Guys and Dolls). I absolutely cannot stand Send In The Clowns (from A Little Night Music) which may be one of the most overrated songs of all time IMO. I normally like David Foster's work, but he and Streisand completely ruin Somewhere (from West Side Story), which is normally a love song about two young lovers, but here becomes a song about a love affair between Streisand and her voice.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Looking back, this was certainly an interesting purchase for a 19 year old who normally listened to new wave music. I listened to this LP in my dorm room as I tried to familiarize myself with the history of American musical theater. I could have found a much better introduction to musicals, but what did I know? I bought this CD because I remember liking it back in college and wanted to hear it again. I've done that so this doesn't get much playing time these days. Now if I want to hear show tunes, I'll go to cast albums or actually attend a live performance.

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