on April 4, 2003
This came out as an LP when I was a freshman in high school and still gets regular play as an upgraded CD on my player today. It wasn't until I actually saw the Broadway musical that I realized how truncated this version was. The recent live release with Audra McDonald, Lillias White and Heather Headley rectifies that problem by including all of the missing material but it's still not as fresh and fiery as the original cast recording.
From the cowbells leading into Move (You're Stepping On My Heart) to the harmony of Hard to Say Goodbye My Love, this recording hits all the right notes. Jennifer Holliday is superb as are Sheryl Lee Ralph and the woefully underutilized Loretta Devine. All three women have gone onto varying degrees of success in television and music but it's pure magic here. These three could have given any real life female singing group a run for it's money. With the recent success of Chicago the movie, there are rumors that Dreamgirls might finally make it to the big screen. Too bad the studios didn't do it when Holliday, Devine and Ralph were all still young enough to play the roles they originated.
Let's not forget the Dream Guys either...Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks, Obba Babatunde and Vondie Curtis Hall. Like the women, the men have had varying degrees of success although Harney seems to have disappeared. Fake Your Way to the Top and Steppin to the Bad Side will have you moving.
This is the CD to get.
on December 10, 2006
Move over Aretha, step aside Mariah there's a new diva in town and her name is Jennifer Hudson. To say she steals this soundtrack is an understatement-what she does do amounts to grand larceny and larcency has never been sweeter. Her electrifying rendition alone of the heart-wrenching "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" has cinched her the next academy award for best supporting actress. She also belts "I Am Changing" and sings the soulful version of "One Night Only." This woman is amazing and i am just awestruck.
The rest of the cast,Beyonce,Jamie Foxx, etc all perform their numbers superbly but it's Eddie Murphy who is a revelation as James "Thunder" Early. He sails through "Cadillac Car" steals a bit of James Brown on "Fake Your Way To The Top" and then tears it up on "Jimmys' Rap".
This is a wonderful soundtrack but if for nothing else it must be heard just for the emergence of a shining new mega-star-Jennifer Hudson
The melodies of "Dreamgirls" are so infectious and exciting that any new release of them, in almost any new form,is an occasion for celebration, and what's a real delight here is that the producers of the 2006 film have found a cast of performers worthy of the songs. Eddie Murphy may be the best and most dynamic James Thunder Early ever to play the part, and although no-one can ever quite equal Jennifer Holliday's Broadway creation of Effie White, Jennifer Hudson is as superior a fit to the part as could otherwise have been possibly found. Beyoncé is quite a decent Deena, and Anika Noni Rose is a fine Lorrell (although she is deprived of Lorrell's big song, "Ain't No Party," through some insane directing decision). Keith Robinson makes a sweet C.C.; only Jamie Foxx disappoints as Curtis, sounding horrible on his big number "When I First Saw You."
I was grateful that most of the actual songs from the original production have survived, even the tantalizing little snippets of songs that bring the Dreams to the top of the pops in the story's mythical 1960s & 70s universe: "Step On Over," "I'm Somebody," "Love, Love You Baby," etc. The biggest problem with this recording is its rearrangements of the famous (and glorious) original orchestrations of the show. These changed orchestrations seem engineered to make the album sell better to today's audiences, but also work exactly against the point of the musical's story. Almost all of the R&B swing has been so drained from some of the songs, so that they seem like "Cadillac Car" after it has been retooled for the show's Pat Boone analogue to put over for white audiences. Thus, when Curtis re-engineers the Dreams to sing a disco cover of "One Night Only" to keep in step with the Seventies, it seems almost pointless: all their previous songs (except for the funky "Move") sound already like disco versions. This is pretty jarring, but nonetheless it shouldn't get in the way of your appreciation of Murphy and Hudson, nor of the charming new additions to the score: "Love You I Do," "Patience," and "Listen."
on December 15, 2006
With the interest in the film version, a new generation of listeners will eventually discover that `Dreamgirls' has a rich legacy in American theater and pop music. If you're one of those who was wondering what the original `Dreamgirls' sounded like you've come to the right place. Although this original Broadway soundtrack has nowhere near the amount of songs contained on the film soundtrack, its principle compositions are included in this concise yet unforgettable piece of American music.
Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine as the original `Dreamgirls' deliver the energy and enthusiasm authors Henry Kreiger and Tom Eyen intended. On the masculine side Ben Harney, Cleavant Derricks anchor the funky `Steppin' To The Bad Side', while Obba Babatunde tenderly pleads for unity in `Family'.
While you'll appreciate all of the fine vocals on the 1981 Broadway score, the focus of this album is Jennifer Holliday. `Dreamgirls' owes its' longevity in large part to the devastating God-given talents of Ms. Holliday. She won the Tony award for Best Actress playing `Effie' and her performance on the shows' signature song `And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' is one of the finest moments ever recorded in American music. Few, if anyone, in Broadway or in the music industry have ever had the passion, power and presence Jennifer Holliday displayed as the original Dreamgirl.
on December 21, 2006
I just bought the movie soundtrack cause I really love the song "I'm Lookin' For Something" even though it's such a small piece of the pie, considering.
The movie knocked me out! But sometimes the soundtracks, in general, fail to deliver especially since there are no visuals. And because Amazon doesn't have previews to listen to, I was hesitant.
Well, the two-disc movie soundtrack to DREAMGIRLS delivers in spades! The brilliant producing team of Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas (aka The Underdogs) have worked in shades of Chic (Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers) and Curtis Mayfield, blending the sounds of early 70s funk, soul and R&B, and yet managed to never stray far from the original arrangements.
Just when I thought nothing could compare to the original Broadway soundtrack, the third installment of DREAMGIRLS (there was a Dreamgirls concert 2-disc set issued in 2001--not of the original cast--and the only reason it rivaled the original was because it was the complete soundtrack, IMO)is just as enjoyable.
The entire cast provides great vocals but the stand outs are Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, and the under utilized Annika Noni Rose.
Murphy turns in a vocal performance that puts his one-hit wonder song "My Girl(Wants To Party All the Time)" from the 80s to absolute shame. Don't understand why some people think that his performance wasn't anything special because he really shines here.
Hudson had some big shoes to fill, namely Jennifer Holliday's. Her performance isn't better or worse than Holliday's, just different. I have to admit that it took some time to get used to hearing "And I'm Telling You..." but Huson's voice is growing on me.
Rose was really under used (musically) in the picture and the soundtrack. She has a phenomenonal voice and you can really hear it on the duet with Murphy on the song "Patience." Why oh why did Condon cut the song "Ain't No Party" (Lorrell's--Rose's character--only solo) from the movie and the soundtrack? The answer is beyond me, but I think with Rose singing that song it would have been another show stopper.
Another interesting note to add is a cameo perfomance by Loretta Devine, the original Lorrell. She still sounds wonderful as she sings "I Miss You Old Friend."
This two-disc set comes with a little booklet with all the lyrics of the songs and a short intro from director Bill Condon.
Don't get me wrong, I still love the original Dreams (Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jennifer Holliday and Loretta Devine). And if you're like me and think nothing can compare to the original, just give this soundtrack a chance. It'll change your mind. It sure changed mine.
on December 26, 2006
First off let me say this for those who are thinking about buying the soundtrack-Spend the extra cash and get this 2 disc set.
I saw the movie and loved it. So I had to get the soundtrack. All the songs are great and stand out tracks are even better. My faves are -Steppin' to the bad side,love you I do,And I'm telling you, and last but not least I ment you no harm/Jimmy's rap.
I would suggest you see the movie first then buy the soundtrack, because it enhances it. Yes all the buzz is true, Jennifer Hudson steals the movie!
on December 27, 2006
After seeing the movie and many listens to the soundtrack, I can now talk about this excellent CD.
First, when Dreamgirls landed on Broadway the "powers that be" went out of their way to deny any direct connection to The Supreme's story. The first page to the movie program corrects this, and pays tribute to not only The Supreme's, but Berry Gordy, and Motown. Jennifer Hudson is a treasure as many have already reported, but more on her later......
Beyonce does a superb job portraying Deana Jones, the Diana Ross "role" complete with many of the insecurities and questions that Diana had when she was singled out to be the star (read Mary Wilson's book, Dreamgirl, for more on this and see my review). Ms. Knowle's standout song here is Listen, and she lets loose on the Disco version of One Night Only. A few critics knocked the song Listen as being out of step with the other songs, however, Listen is set at the time when the movie is taking place in the 70's, making it quite timely.
Eddie Murphy is able to shine with his songs here, and why everyone seems so shocked that he can realy sing is beyond me. Patience is another standout track here, and Eddie sings this as a duet with Anika Rose, ala the famed Marvin Gaye/Tami Terrel duets of Motowns glory days. Eddie's alter ego in the movie, James "Thunder" Early is a mix of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and others, and the tracks I Want You Baby, Fake Your Way To The Top, Jimmy's Rap allow this diversity to shine. We all (should) know that Jamie Fox can sing, and his standouts here are Steppin To The Bad Side, and When I First Saw You.
Jennifer Hudson, what is their to say, she is a vocal powerhouse, and yes she takes down the house with And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. Jennifer however also shows what she's got with the tender, Love You I Do, the breakthrough of I Am Changing, and the ballad version of One Night Only. If only Florence "Flo" Ballad had her spirit.
The "white" version of Cadillac Car lends a great time stamp on the era that Dreamgirls starts in.
on December 14, 2006
After the botched and poorly sung "Chicago" of 2002, and last years less than stellar performances of "The Producers" (deserved) and "RENT" (totally undeserved and a classic recording of that score), this new mounting of the musical "Dreamgirls" could have been a crapshoot. Instead, we have what might be the finest of the lot. To begin with, the extended version fleshes out the score in ways never before attempted and has some curiousity pieces that are well worth a listen. More than that, each performer is at the height of her / his powers and each delivers exciting renditions that spill out of the speakers in a cacophony of joy.
It's easy to say Jennifer Hudson steals the show - she has the showiest role - but Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Anika Noni Rose and the shockingly effective Eddie Murphy (his performance may be the ONE in the film) display their chops as singers and actors in a manner rare on Original Soundtracks these days. This is a group effort if ever there was one and every performer reaches the height of their vocal powers (that's saying something here).
Of course, Hudson's set pieces, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going " and "I Am Changing" are her showcases and she gives them every ounce of her formidable talent, making the most of some great material. She is a true find who deserves the accolades she has received for this performance - definitive depends upon opinion and love of the original, where I found Jennifer Holliday overbearing and overwrought. Hudson hits just the right note (literally).
But let's not underestimate the power of Beyonce Knowles. In a less showier role, she performs some of the best vocals of her career. Her solo CDs often give in to the "American Idol" melismas that regularly smash a song to smithereens; here she chooses a more forthright and direct approach, interpreting rather than showing off, and her beautiful instrument is given full reign to showcase her formidable talent. Her rendition of "Listen" equals anything Ms. Hudson does. And her performance as an actress evoking the "Supreme" time of Motown is exquisite. Beyonce Knowles is a multi-talented find and it should be said right now: she has a talent that has deserved the praise she has received. Let's hope she gets more opportunities like this.
It's unfortunate that Anika Noni Rose is relegated mostly to the background on this recording, because her few moments to shine display a young performer whose power is far beyond her years. Her duet with Murphy on "Patience" is suberb, with both performers connecting in an emotional way that creates a stirring highlight of the film. Ms. Rose is one to keep an eye on.
Jamie Foxx and, especially, Eddie Murphy are revelations on this recording. While Foxx sometimes struggles with pitch, his "acting" of the role is apparent and effective throughout - specific and direct. Like Adam Pascal in the soundtrack of "Rent", Foxx is the center of this exciting concoction. Eddie Murphy is a shattering surprise and if somebody doesn't recognize him for the multi-talented performer he is rather than the "goofball" he's been forced to play in film-after-film than Hollywood is just......well, you can finish that sentence.
This recording displays many of our most talented African-American performers at the height of their powers. Hooray for them and how lucky for us. Thank you all for giving us this special gift.
I'll have to admit that being a musician myself and being a lover of music and all the arts for that matter, I have a "soft spot" for musicals and to speak even broader for anything musical in general. I absolutely love THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA simply because of all the beautiful music coupled with the incredible storyline. CHICAGO was the best picture of the year the year it took home that honor at the Academy Awards and MY FAIR LADY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, OKLAHOMA, and Disney's stellar MARY POPPINS have always been among my favorite movies/ broadway musicals. DREAMGIRLS is no different and the music is just as brilliant if not moreso than any musical that I've ever seen. It honestly is the spark keeping the dwindling sales of 2007's CDs half-way alive. Sure, the 66,000 and the even more devastating 60,000 copies the soundtrack sold to soar to #1 on the Billboard 200 may not be exactly a "hit" album, but it is certainly one album that shines nonetheless. Also, if the Nielson soundscan had included the DELUXE EDITION into the sales figures of the single disc compilation, the album would've had bigger weeks all the way around. Indeed, the single disc compiles the biggest hits of DREAMGIRLS, but the DELUXE EDITION in my opinion has the "real meat" including everything heard in the movie and a few bonus, if truly "unneccesary" mixes of some of the biggest hit numbers of the movie.
The first three tracks on Disc 1 are all the introductory tracks of the movie including "I'm Lookin' For Something", "Goin' Downtown", and "Takin' The Long Way Home". Sure, none of the three truly steal the show, but it is nice to have those numbers included none the less making the soundtrack truly feel more complete. The first track on the single disc edition, and perhaps the first track worth noting is the "Dreamgirls" featured "Move" which features the robust vocals of lead Jennifer Hudson with Beyonce and Anika Noni Rose supporting her. It is short, but the power embodied through Hudson's ("Effie's") vocals is enough to stir anybody up. Even better is the Eddie Murphy featured "Fake Your Way To The Top" where Murphy has never sounded better. In fact, Murphy's vocal performances throughout all of the tracks on the soundtrack make Murphy's short-lived singing career look like an "innocent flub". The "Dreams" support him very well on the very "cabaret" but exceptional number as well on "Cadillac Car", another showstopping performance by Murphy with the addition of Rory O'Malley, Anne Warren, and Laura Bell Bundy. "Big (Jazz Instrumental)" seperates those numbers and proves to be a nice touch; it is worth listening to the brilliant production and recording quality of the jazz number if for no other reason than that.
"Steppin' On The Bad Side", track 8, is a fiery, archtypical broadway number that makes you feel like you are in New York watching the performance right on stage. Hudson once again steals the show on the exceptional retro-soul number "Love You I Do" where here upper register is absolutely flawless. In fact, Hudson's showstopping performances and interpretations make you "pissed" to know that she only made 7th place on American Idol when perhaps she should've at least been sitting in third, second, or even the winner's spot. "I Want You Baby" proves just as impressive as any number as Eddie Murphy with the support of "the Dreams" steals the show with this incredible ballad performance. Jamie Foxx and Keith Robinson are added to the ensemble on the strong "Family" in which the ensemble tries to convince a doubtful "Effie" about how chaning the front vocalist from her to "Deena" will be great for them all in building success.
The Dreamgirls go on to sing two numbers "Dreamgirls" and "Heavy" which are strong, but not as strong as the very best. "It's All Over" is another scene right from Broadway that gives all the ambience. It is Jennifer Hudson's great take on "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" that quite possibly seals the greatness of the whole soundtrack. Disc two starts out slowly with "I'm Somebody" and a performance by Jamie Foxx ("When I First Saw You"), which is a lovely vocal by Foxx. "Patience" is a beautiful selection featuring the surprisingly strong Eddie Murphy, Keith Anderson, and Anika Noni Rose (the backup "dreamgirl), who sounds as powerful as either Beyonce or Hudson. Hudson once again seals the deal with here great vocal interpretation on the moving "I Am Changing".
"Perfect World" follows, while the comical "I Meant You No Harm/Jimmy's Rap" just maybe the funniest portion of the whole movie. "Step On Over" is another Dreamgirls performance (of course with out Hudson at this point), while a surprise vocal performance by Loretta Divine ("I Miss You Old Friend") turns out to be better than it probably should've been. "One Night Only" is another Hudson hit, easily eclipsing the disco-fied Dreamgirls version that follows (thought that one is fine and characteristic of the time period). "Listen" performed by "Deena" (Beyonce) is exceptional in every way and perhaps the best performance I've ever heard by Beyonce channeling Mary J. Blige or Faith Evans performance territory. "Hard To Say Goodbye" and "Dream Girls (Finale)" all end the exceptional movie very well. The rest of the tracks are bonus and don't prove to have the same greatness of the rest, but for a deluxe edition they are very much appreciated.
Overall, there is nothing really to quibble about with this soundtrack. It may be a "Soundtrack" but it suits everyday listening purposes because it is just SO GOOD. It is honestly in my opinion the soundtrack of the year and I hope and pray that DREAMGIRLS gets the Academy Award for Best Picture, and that Hudson and Murphy in particular get Oscars for their great "career-defining" roles. Great in everyway. 5 stars.
on December 8, 2006
This is a great CD. I must admit I was listening very, very critically to apply my comparison test. The singer/actors on CD shine and brilliantly compare to the Original Cast Album. Knowing the music so well from the Broadway production I was a little startled at the lyric changes and additions but it does nothing to detract from the excitement of the music. Jennifer Hudson is absolutely wonderful as Effie. She more than aptly compares to Jennifer Holiday's musical performance and has nothing, NOTHING to be concerned about. Eddie Murphy, Anika Rose, Jamie Foxx and Beyonce have put on CD one of the most exciting cast albums I have heard in a very long time. The young woman who plays Effie's replacement has a great voice! She is as exciting as any of the others. In fact, Beyonce is given a run for her money, um,.... no, she is bested in several places. One in particular is the "It's All Over" segment. She struggles. You will hear it for yourself. These folk brought vocal talent to the table! There is some real singing going on here. It's great, it's wonderful. I'm loving every minute of it. It was good to hear Loretta Devine on thiis disk singing "I Miss You Old Friend".
My only ctitique is that the orchestration on many of the numbers obscures the backing vocals on the tracks. The most obvious is on "Move" and "Cadillac Car". You can really hear the individual voices better on the Original Broadway Cast Album It's not that you can't hear them on this CD but they are competing for prominence in the arrangements. I am going to buy another just to have in case mine gets swiped!
If this music is any indication the film will be a slamming success. I gave this 5 stars because a cast album should give an indication of what the play/film is about. You get that here with all the bonuses of good, no, GREAT music.