104 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
2002 is the 40th anniversary of Barbra Streisand's recording career with Columbia Records. She signed her first contract with them on Oct. 1, 1962! Columbia, in celebration of this, released ESSENTIAL BARBRA STREISAND along with several remastered Streisand albums earlier this year. As 2002 draws to a close, Columbia has released *another* collection of Streisand hits - this time DUETS - Streisand's collaborations with various singers over the years.
The DUETS album has 2 new tracks: a duet with Barry Manilow ("I Won't Be The One To Let Go") and another with freshman and producer David Foster protege Josh Groban ("All I Know of Love"). The new tracks show that, at 60, Barbra is still in excellent voice and singing like a dream. The Manilow song (cowritten by Richard Marx) is an old-fashioned pop tune which I like a lot. "All I Know Of Love" (written by Foster) takes some getting used to. It's a "busy" song, half classical, half pop. Groban sings in Italian. Barbra does not. Yet, it is a fresh sound for Streisand and she rises to the occasion.
The rest of the tracks have appeared on previous Streisand albums. A new fan may not have heard these songs. They range from excellent (the duet with Judy Garland; Ray Charles; "One Hand One Heart" with Johnny Mathis) to simply ordinary.
There are some overlooked gems that I am glad were included here. I happen to like the Don Johnson duet ("Till I Loved You"). If you can get past the obvious Johnson jokes, it is actually a good song and their voices (rough and sweet) mix wonderfully. "Make No Mistake He's Mine" is the best Streisand duet with another woman, IMHO. Again, Kim Carnes' gritty voice is a great foil for Streisand's smooth one. "One Less Bell" is a duet from the BARBRA JOAN STREISAND album - Barbra duets with herself! This is an incredible track. Some will make fun of the fact that Streisand duets with herself, but I suggest listening first - it's an instant classic and I am glad it's getting the exposure on this DUETS album.
I would be happy never seeing "Enough Is Enough", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Guilty" on another Streisand album again. They have already appeared on at least 3 other albums. They are excellent songs and definitely have a place in Streisand's catalog. I just wish they'd stop getting recycled. (It would be cool to hear a remix of "Enough is Enough" though...)
I gave this cd 5 stars because I love Streisand and am glad everyone will get to hear these classic duets assembled on one cd.
74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
First thing, let me say that I love Barbra Streisand. No other female singer on the planet today can touch her (Celine, Eder, Mariah, Whitney, Christina). The thing that has always set Streisand apart from the rest of the crop was all the nuances her voice could convey. It seems that todays singers only know two or three notes...loud, louder and even louder. Barbra puts emotion into everything she sings. Something these other girls need lessons in.
Most of these duets are first rate and classic material, including You Don't Bring Me Flowers, No more Tears and What Kind of Fool. The highlight of the collection is the duet with Barbra herself on One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home. Amazing and spine tingeling. She was at the top of her game when she recorded that and it sounds amazing today as when I first heard it back in 1971.
I was excited about the prospects of a duet with Barry Manilow. The song is ok. They both sound great and deserve better material. Streisand sounds amazing on her duet with Josh Groban. She sounds like she did 20 years ago (none of the vibrato, vocal thinness and reediness that has filled her recent recordings). But the song is mediocre. Just think if they had been given something great to sing how exciting the duet could have been.
Now with saying that, I'm tired of Columbia Records and Barbra taking advantage of Barbra's many (I' gotta have everything, obsessive) fans. The one's (like most Barbra fans) that will buy anything for one or two extra songs because they want to hear something new from this amazing singer.
5 of these songs were just released on her Essential set several monthys ago, witch also featured 2 unreleased bonus cuts. 4 songs is almost a half album. Why not wait and give us a whole new CD? Or how about a CD with all of her 45's(like I Am Woman that was put on the recently released UK CD of People - but not the US), alternate versions, and other unreleased material (like "Just Because" an outtake from A Love Like Ours).
That is why I gave the CD collection three stars (not because of her performances on the CD's tracks).
This gimmick of giving the fans a crumb or two called a "bonus, unreleased track" has got to stop. But I imagine it won't as long as people keep buying.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2002
This is a lovely album, especially for anyone who loves duets. It is especially beautiful when Ms. Streisand joins in harmony with someone who has an equally powerful voice. A few of her partners who only have a mild voice are often left in the dust. A jarring note on the album for me was the duet with Ray Charles. He is wonderful on his own, singing songs in his unique style, but paired with Barbra was not a good listening experience for me. She was too loud and didn't seem to be in sync with him much of the time. The Josh Groban pairing was wonderful, as is her set with Johnny Mathis. Too bad she sang with Frank Sinatra so late in his career. He sounded old and tired. A reviewer commented that some of the men were outclassed, i.e. Don Johnson, etc., but those particular pairings were interesting because they were not of the norm. "TELL HIM" with Celine Dion, both strong singers, was an exhilarating and exciting duet. Whether these duets were old or new, the album is terrific to listen to.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2003
This compilation is actually more successful than THE ESSENTIAL BARBRA STREISAND, simply because it has a clear-cut purpose: collect the best of the extraordinary duets that Barbra has recorded during her long career. The tracks are not in chronological order, but that's acceptable seeing that this isn't a strict hits set.
Given that Barbra can seamless blend her voice with just about anyone, it's more than a little ironic that Barbra's best duet has been with herself, on the thundering "One Bell Less To Answer/A House Is Not A Home" medley. However, I'm not for certain that singing with your own overdubbed voice is really a duet. Her best "true" duet is with the bluesy "Cryin' Time" with the magnificent Ray Charles, which was recorded live on a television special.
The collaborations with fellow veterans Judy Garland and Frank Sintra are similarly winning, as are her smash hit duets with the more contemporary artists like Bryan Adams, Barry Gibb, Donna Summer, and, most poignantly, Neil Diamond. Some terrific album tracks are spotlighted, like "Music Of The Night" with Michael Crawford, and the soaring "I Have A Love/One Hand One Heart" medley with Johnny Mathis.
There are also some underrated singles releases that finally get a chance to shine. Barbra's most criticized duet is unarguably the Top 40 hit "Till I Loved You" with ex-flame Don Johnson, but the track is actually much better than it's reputation. The duets with Vince Gill and Kim Carnes ("If You Ever Leave Me" and "Make No Mistake, He's Mine," respectively) both failed to reach the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but they're both as good as adult contemporary ballads get. In fact, besides the classic pairing with Garland, the Carnes duet is possibly Barbra's best vocal collaboration with another woman.
There are also two newly recorded duets. The first, the restrained "I Won't Be The One To Let Go" with Barry Manilow, is very good, but the closing "All I Know Of Love," with Josh Gorban, is the real keeper. The song may be melodramatic and slightly generic, but Streisand and Gorban surprisingly set off vocal fireworks! This album isn't essential to all Streisand fans, but it is a top-notch collection, with expertly packaged and remastered. If nothing else, DUETS is a compilation that finally delivers what it's title promises.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
While this is just another way for a huge record company to dig it's hands into the pockets of fans and give them what they already have, this album is nothing less than brilliant. Barbra Streisand is the only artist, that I know of, who has collaborated with this many huge music stars. Bryan Adams, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Barry Gibb, Ray Charles and Judy Garland are just some of the extreme talents Barbra has worked with. My favorite duet on this album, and favorite song of all time, is "Tell Him" which Barbra recorded with Celine Dion. To me, Barbra and Celine have the voices of angels and when they're together it's the most extraordinary sound in the world. My other favorite duet is with my favorite male artist, Bryan Adams in the song "I Finally Found Someone." Chances are, anybody can find a song on this album they will love. The Barry Manilow duet is all right. He sounds a bit bland and does not have what it takes to sing with Barbra. On the other hand, Josh Groban is amazing in the song "All I Know Of Love." I'm trilled Barbra chose to sing with this amazing new talent. He is certainly worthy of recording with this legend. While Barbra's voice does sound aged in the new songs, she proves she still has a powerful enough voice to topple most all of the artists who are in their prime today.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2004
Wonderful artists recorded with Barbra and what wonderful performances... Any listener familiar with Barbra, knows that every track she records is perfected to beyond perfection. Those of us lucky enough to have lived through these years of Barbra's duets remember how exciting it was when they hit the charts..
I would highly recommend this fabulous collection.. In truth..any recording Barbra has released would be highly recommend.. She is simply the worlds greatest artist..
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
People can be so funny at times. So many people continuously complain about her political views, her bossiness, her drive, her ambition, her this, her that. I for one don't give a hoot. All I care about is that voice; sure it's not as strong as it was 30 years ago. But the lady is 60 years old, and she still sings better than the majority of so called songstresses out there. Barbra knows how to sing; to keep songs in a range that she excels at; and who else could have pulled off these 19 songs with 18 different singers from all kinds of genres. I'll even forgive her for singing with Kris Kristofferson (awful) or Don Johnson (merely mediocre). However, there is some wonderful music here: her duet with herself in "One Less Bell to Answer/A House is Not a Home" (I still get goosebumps); "I have a love/One Hand One Heart" with the legendary Johnny Mathis; her two duets with Barry Gibb; her smoothness with Ol Blue Eyes on "I've Got a Crush on You"; going disco with Donna Summer; melting her voice with both Kim Carnes and Celine Dion; and of course, with Josh Groban. When I think of the truly great singers of our time, BS is right there at the top!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
It is a treat to Barbra fans worldwide to finally have a duet album released....putting her classic duets on one disk and adding two new tracks, one with the legendary Barry Manilow and the other gem with young opera singer, Josh Groban. The album takes the listener on an emotional journey.....there is the tender YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS, the rocking disco NO MORE TEARS, the CLASSIC...MAKE NO MISTAKE HE'S MINE with Kim Carnes....great cd....the only complaint I have is in the remastering of the original recordings....they are still not up to modern day sounds and with the technology out there now, it could have been! But, Barbra's voice is such a gift!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
This is a wonderful recording! I really loved the new duet with Josh Gorban and of course the Manilow Duet is nice. But some how they don't live up to the other career spanning duets. I feel almost a little sad listening to this new CD because have the feeling Barbra's career is coming to a close. Sure they'll be a album every year or so but she doesn't have the same passion in her selection of songs or in her voice. The lady is in love and that' s seems to be most important to her. Who can blame her! I am the ultimate Streisand fan and have been since the 70s. But I miss those albums like Gulity, Wet, Lazy Afternoon, etc... I remember when a new Streisand release used to be the highlight of the year!
Thanks Barbra for all you've given to us! I love you.
One final note: I agree with one reviewer here, it would have been so much more exciting if Barbra had released a cd of all the songs that didn't make it on her albums. I have read they arre several including two or three that never made it on her masterpiece album, Guilty . Please no more greatest hits packages!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2002
Can I give it 10 stars???
these remastered recordings are remarkable andthe new music proves that at 60 Barbra sounds as good as ever! The new manilow duet is a pop hit made for radio!
I would pay the price just to have the duet she does with her self on One less Bell to Answer/House is Not a Home.
If you are a good friend buy 10 like I did for all you friends for Xmas A true multigenerational Superstar at nher best!