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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duly Grateful
I've listened to a great deal of theatre and cabaret music over the past few years but nothing even comes close to this exceptional compilation of songs by John Bucchino. I had never heard of John before buying this CD but on the strength of the performers who have lent their voices and support to this project, from legends like Liza Minnelli, Judy Collins, and Art...
Published on April 25, 2000 by Harvey Eccleston

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars my two cents
After reading ALL of the reviews here, I've decided to add my two cents. First, give credit where credit is due. John Bucchino writes wonderful songs. You may not like them all - but there are different styles of music represented on this CD, and something should peak your interest.

That being said, most of the singers are truly downright awful. I don't...
Published on October 12, 2005 by A. Robidoux


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duly Grateful, April 25, 2000
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I've listened to a great deal of theatre and cabaret music over the past few years but nothing even comes close to this exceptional compilation of songs by John Bucchino. I had never heard of John before buying this CD but on the strength of the performers who have lent their voices and support to this project, from legends like Liza Minnelli, Judy Collins, and Art Garfunkel to legends-in-the-making, Ann Hampton Callaway, Adam Guettel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Bucchino himself, I knew this was a CD not to be missed.
These are brilliant songs and I think it only fitting that the back photo is of John's hands...clearly the hands of genius. I was particularly moved by the songs Temporary, This Moment, Grateful, and the extraordinary If I Ever Say I'm Over You sung beautifully by Art Garfunkel.
If this short review sounds glowing...it is meant to be. I may not be an expert music reviewer but I know a well-written song when I hear one and believe me when I say, Mr. Bucchino has a bright and promising future ahead of him. And like Stephen Schwartz who has written the CD liner notes, I can't wait for Volume Two!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite collection of songs, June 7, 2000
By 
Elizabeth O'Brien (Ipswich, Queensland Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
Last year in Sydney, I had the great privilege of hearing John Bucchino perform his songs in cabaret with David Campbell. What a marvellous night!
I had not heard any of his songs until that night but what an introduction to genius! It only takes one hearing of a song like "Grateful" or "It Feels Like Home" to impress you with this man's enormous talent as an interpreter of modern life in a way that is timeless. His songs will, like all the great songs of this & the last century, be sung and appreciated for a long time to come.
Every song on the album is exquisite, but I particularly love "Grateful" (sung so beautifully by one of my favourite singers, Michael Feinstein), "Sweet Dreams" (isn't it gorgeous?), "If I Ever Say I'm Over You" (I can't get the song out of my head - it's so sweet & poignant) and the powerfully rendered "Better Than I" - now, that's how to sing a song! David Campbell is an Australian national treasure, in my book.
Stephen Schwartz's comments in the liner notes are very pertinent: "So, an album like this, a literate collection of songs for grown-ups, is doubly welcome."
People who love adult, well-written music (as opposed to the proliferation of manufactured pop for teenagers) couldn't do better than listen to this terrific album.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Grateful, July 10, 2000
By 
drmdm (SANTA CRUZ, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I'd heard whispers of this man's name associated with memorable songs in cabaret acts, but havn't heard his work until this CD. I am won, pure, plain and simple, and will be buying whatever else he releases on its strength. I'm only disappointed that Amazon doesn't audition what I consider the best tracks. To be honest, I don't care for the Minnelli track. It's all about Liza having cutsey fun with Billy Stritch and not communicating the song clearly. However, that's the only track I feel goes awry from Mr. Bucchino's talent. I was stuck for days on Adam Guettel's UNEXPRESSED, followed by the glittering bittersweet of THIS MOMENT and the unabashed drama of NOT A CLOUD... Then, a week later, I was obsessing on TEMPORARY and BETTER THAN I and Art Garfunkel's IF I EVER SAY. As a musical afficianado, I've begun playing this for friends with a "look-what-I've-found" attitude. I look forward to seeing this man live in the near future, but in the meantime, I highly reccommend GRATEFUL. It's a gem that grows deep roots after only a few listens.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grateful, April 24, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I adore this CD. It is smart, poignant, joyful, and irreverent. And the list of performers speaks for itself! Please purchase this CD if you want to be challenged emotionally, and become ultimately a richer and wiser music fan. "Grateful" is perhaps the greatest song written in the last 5 years. I cry each time I hear it. Michael Feinstein's version is perfection. "Taking The Wheel" makes me want to take on the world and all it's demons. That's what music is supposed to do. Purchase this CD because John is the one of the two or three most important voices in contemporary cabaret and theatre music today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember the name, February 18, 2001
By 
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
John Bucchino has accomplished quite a lot for a theatrical composer who has yet to have a major production of his work (until a one-act in "3hree", at least, which will hopefully reach Broadway within the year). Notably, his songs have been performed and recorded by some of the greatest luminaries of the theatre world, and a few more recognizable celebrities as well. The reasons for his success in this regard are abundantly clear: he has a knack for writing melodies that stick with you, coupled with an uncanny ability to choose subjects for his songs that are surprising, yet immediately compelling.
Happily, this album pairs Bucchino's gentle, wonderful songs with interpreters who are their equals, including several who are renowned songwriters in their own right and clearly know how to put across a lyric (Adam Guettel, Amanda McBroom, and Art Garfunkel). As such, this is simply a stunning album -- every nuance of every song is carefully fleshed out.
RCA should be commended for taking a chance and releasing a tribute (of sorts) to someone who has yet to find major mainstream success. Bucchino is a real find -- who knows what turns his career might have taken had he been born forty or fifty years earlier.
For more of his songs, I equally recommend Patti LuPone's "Matters of the Heart" and Sally Mayes' "The Story Hour", on both of which you'll find songs also on this album and songs not found anywhere else. They're worth it for the other Bucchino songs. Heck, they're worth it for the duplicate Bucchino songs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sublime Production, December 20, 2005
By 
Joseph G. (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
This is one of the most appealing "cabaret" recordings in a long time. With only a few exceptions, there was some masterful work involved in pairing each of these singers with their assigned songs; the effect is often that the song fits the singer like a glove. In particular, "Sweet Dreams" is sung by Judy Collins -- and sounds like she might have written it herself!

It seems to be a testament to Mr. Bucchino's talent -- and regard amongst his peers -- that several fine composers sing his songs here. Adam Guettel, Jimmy Webb, and Ann Hampton Callaway are delightful additions, and imbue their selections with grace and feeling. All of the other singers -- except two -- likewise bring great passion and artistry to their tracks. And though I've never been a great fan of Michael Feinstein, his rendition of the title song is extraordinary.

Another appealing aspect is that Mr. Bucchino accompanies all the singers. There are no cheesy or unskilled arrangements like other recent theatre compilations; it's just a grand piano playing accompaniments that feature infectious rhythms, bittersweet phrases, and some very rich harmonic tapestries. I can't think of a better pianist for these songs than the composer himself -- since he obviously knows the songs, he makes the piano the perfect complementary partner for the singers, in that the accompaniment never overpowers the vocals nor abandons them. This man is a true artistic colleague, rather than a talented egomaniac. And because the accompaniments are so rich and full, one never gets the feeling that something is missing [e.g. a full orchestra]. I thought that Stephen Sondheim was destined to be the last composer who wrote accompaniments that are vital to the evocation of feeling; thankfully, Mr. Bucchino proves me wrong.

My favorites of the songs are those that are, for lack of a better term, character pieces. Although many other songwriters are skilled at creating quasi one-act plays in their songs, Mr. Bucchino goes the extra distance on a couple of these songs by intentionally not making everything crystal clear. For example, at the end of "Sweet Dreams" we simply leave the company of the two characters -- Mr. Bucchino "leaves 'em wanting more" in that we want to know what happens next. Very skillful and original.

And now the bad news, in five words: Liza Minnelli and Billy Stritch. Just awful. What vocal prowess Miss Minnelli once possessed is gone, and her bouncy style has always had limited appeal on audio recordings and is, frankly, greatly diminished here. As for Mr. Stritch, who has been Miss Minnelli's artistic partner for years, his only talent thus far has been as a jazz pianist; he is a droning vocalist, and since he is not playing piano on this recording it is a mystery as to why he is even involved. [I cannot imagine anyone ever going to a gig in which Mr. Stritch was going to be solely a vocalist; the poor oaf has neither basic vocal talent nor even a sense of vocal styling to at least "sell" a song.] The two of them sort of try to infuse some feeling of fun and frolic at the beginning of this jaunty song, but it sounds forced and unbelievable and is soon abandon in favor of the "I am such a smooth and cosmopolitan artiste" attitude that Miss Minnelli has, in the past, employed much more successfully. Just a ghastly, ghastly performance to endure more than once -- well, actually three times: Once in shock, once to confirm that one's ears were actually working correctly, and once more to laugh uproariously at the sheer inanity of it. Thereafter, one resolutely skips past this track, wishing that one could permanently erase tracks on commercial CDs.

But the other tracks far outshine that one dud track. If you like cabaret material -- or even just good songwriting -- this recording won't disappoint you. And the title song alone is worth the purchase price -- a passionate and glorious melodic line, paired with a sincere lyric that is devoid of any semblance of triteness or cliché. Very, very touching.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof that intelligent lyrics need not be emotionally dead., October 16, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
If only the word 'genius' wasn't so overused these days. From the opening notes you get the feeling that you've discovered something special. Interesting, dare I say complex, songs about interesting, complex people. My definition of a good cabaret song is that it is a self-contained three to five minute play. Every one of these songs meets that definition. "Grateful" is one of those rare songs that can literally transform your day, and Feinstein is deliciously understated in his sensitive rendition. "Sweet Dreams" is one of those lyrics that doesn't just tell a story, it brings its characters to bittersweet life. Similar superlatives could be offered for each composition. Even the most pedestrian song in the collection is head and shoulders above most of what we are seeing in contemporary musical theatre. The perfomances are, with only one exception, superb. Billy Stritch's arrangement of "That Smile" eventually ingratiates itself, but the Minnelli/Stritch duet, while charming, does not rise to the same level as the rest of the collection. If you love American song, you can't help but love this disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of 2000's 5 Best CDs - A Must Have, December 6, 2000
By 
Julie Nemitz (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I adore this CD. It is smart, poignant, joyful, and irreverent. And the list of performers speaks for itself! Please purchase this CD if you want to be challenged emotionally and ultimately, become a richer and wiser music fan.
"Grateful" is perhaps the greatest song written in the last 5 years. I feel a lump in my throat each time I hear it. Michael Feinstein's version is perfection. "Taking The Wheel" makes me want to take on the world and all it's demons. That's what music is supposed to do.
Purchase this CD because John is the one of the two or three most important voices in contemporary cabaret and theatre music today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album is a journey through the human heart., April 28, 2000
By 
Ariana (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I heard a sample of Art Garfunkel singing, "If I Ever Say I'm Over You" in a radio interview with John Bucchino last week, and had to buy this CD. From the first song to the last, I had to drop everything, close my eyes, and take in this breathtaking music. I can't put the album away. The sensitive writing of John Bucchino and the beautiful work of each artist moved me to tears because it resonates so strongly with the human spirit. It is healing to listen to, because each song expresses so much with the most delicate and poignant simplicity. This is the best music I have encountered in a long, long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grateful got me there ..., May 4, 2000
By 
Rob in Santa Monica (Santa Monica, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino (Audio CD)
I've been keenly looking out for this CD ever since I learned of it on Broadway vocalist David Campbell's web site, which I was led to via David's wonderful recording of "Grateful." I figured anyone who could write a song like that -- that blows away everyday cares and worries -- must have more to say, and he does! I love cabaret "story" songs anyway, and this CD is among the best by any single composer or any compilation. Sure, some of the songs take repeated listenings to fully grasp, but so do Sondheim songs and that's part of their depth and value. Grateful I am, for quality art like this.
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Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino
Grateful: Songs of John Bucchino by John Bucchino (Audio CD - 2003)
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