The Broadway Album
1985: CBS CK 40092
This is the only Streisand album I own, therefore I am not a proper queen. Dont get me wrong: I think shes a great singer (and her voice in waveform is jaw-droppingly pure), and I LOVE her in Whats Up, Doc? but I just dont revel in her albums, because her choice of material usually holds no appeal for me. I just happened to be so smitten by a few tracks on this particular one that I added it to my collection. Specifically Being Alive (because its a great song horribly tainted by its Original Broadway Cast recording[s]), Somewhere, and The Ladies Who Lunch. Since I added this to my collection, Ive come to cherish a couple of other tracks: If I Loved You, thanks to the recording of video for this album, which really recast the song for me in such a way that I actually appreciate it now, and the Porgy & Bess pair (in which case I have always been repulsed by the dialect-heavy lyrics, but Babss rendition reacquainted me with the gorgeous harmonic sequences Gershwin wrote under it all).
I have mixed feelings about her commandeering of Sondheims Putting It Together, although I concede that she not only got the master himself to revise the lyrics for her and she did pull it into a valid and compelling version. That her delivery of it actually gives me chills (not just the first time, which was, what, ten years ago?) is testimony.
Overall the albums dreadfully handicapped and dated by cheesy synth-keyboard elements on many tracks, and its not helped by Streisands indifference to written tempo of melody (one of the main reasons I have never been able to enjoy her work despite her voices copious merits). Whats really sad is that her version of Being Alive, full of syn-drums and almost-disco Vegas-snazziness, is still better than the versions recorded by the Original Broadway Cast.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.