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My Fair Lady - Original Broadway Cast Cast Recording

81 customer reviews

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My Fair Lady
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Audio CD, Cast Recording, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 1956 musical made Julie Andrews a star and brought Rex Harrison's career back to life.

This recording was produced more than 40 years ago, only in mono, but from the day it was released it was a deserved phenomenon. It out-grossed the mega-hit show for months, and it still holds the record for the most weeks as a Billboard Top 40 album: 292. The reasons are many. Start with the 20-year-old Julie Andrews in peak voice, singing no fewer than eight sensational Lerner and Loewe songs, soaring most memorably to high C in "I Could Have Danced All Night." Rex Harrison perfected the art of talk-singing in a clutch of equally captivating numbers written especially for his voice, of which the most indelibly delivered is "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." And Stanley Holloway brought the best English music-hall style to an eager American audience with "A Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church on Time." There were no scene-changers in Frederick Loewe's best score, and Alan Jay Lerner managed to fashion his libretto and lyrics so close to the language of George Bernard Shaw (on whose play Pygmalion the musical was based) that experts couldn't tell where Shaw left off and Lerner took over. Every song created character and advanced the plot. My Fair Lady was a show you "got"--and still get--on first listening--without having seen it. The London cast album (with the same leads) can give you stereo; the movie version, a fuller orchestra, Harrison and Holloway in full sail, and Marni Nixon dubbing Audrey Hepburn. But the Broadway cast album is still the one to have, and the one absolute must in any musical collector's CD library. --Robert Windeler

1. Overture; Why Can't The English?
2. Wouldn't It Be Loverly?
3. With A Little Bit Of Luck
4. I'm An Ordinary Man
5. Just You Wait
6. The Rain in Spain
7. I Could Have Danced All Night
8. Ascot Gavotte
9. On The Street Where You Live
10. You Did it
11. Show Me
12. Get Me To The Church On Time
13. A Hymn to Him
14. Without You
15. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face

Product Details

  • Performer: Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway
  • Composer: Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0000024PL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,393 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The original Broadway cast album of MY FAIR LADY is a mandatory disc in every self-respecting musical fan's collection. It captures the cast at the top of their game, and Julie Andrews at the peak of her Broadway career. Her voice is sparkling and effervescent, with Rex Harrison as a thrilling Higgins and Stanley Holloway a delight as Eliza's erstwhile father Alfred P. Doolittle. The monaural sound is warm and lush in Columbia's best style. This newest remaster of the album sounds better than ever. By the time the London cast album was recorded 4 years later (to take advantage of the new stereo format), a tired feeling had crept into Julie Andrews' singing (or perhaps boredom), so the Broadway edition is the format of choice, despite the technical limitations of the mono mix.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dewey Mee on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Earlier, I had written a review of the 1959 London Cast Stereo recording of "MY FAIR LADY." Many customers seem to prefer the original Broadway Cast recording to the later London Stereo LP. I'm such a "Fair Lady" fan, I have both discs. The disc I'm reviewing here is a Gold Disc with an extra Bonus Track. Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson conducts post-recording interviews with Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, lyricists Alan Lerner and conducter Franz Allers. Liberson states that "FAIR LADY" is "possibly the most successful musical of this (20th) Century." He got that right! Here, you hear Rex Harrison give a full out performance, when he was still excited by the material and everything was fresh and new. Boredom set in afterwards. Harrison growls and grunts his way through Higgins' songs on the London Cast Album, and in the 1964 film version (for which he received an Academy Award), Harrison couldn't be more listless, static, and boring; giving a one-note "phoned in" performance. Much better than Harrison, in any case, is Julie Andrews; then on the brink of her brilliant career. She is best at full fire and music, exploding with fury and rage in "Just You Wait! " and "Show Me." Simply put, Julie Andrews is the best Eliza Doolittle of all time. Added to all this is a delightful dash of Stanley Holloway. For pure freshness and vitality, you can't beat this original recording of MY FAIR LADY. And the Post-Recording interviews make this an irresistable treat, not that everything else wasn't enough!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Peter on August 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have to agree with Mr. McCatain and others in saying that the ORIGINAL Broadway cast album of "My Fair Lady" is much better than the London cast album, and that it must be one of the best original cast albums ever made. The sound is so clear you can't tell for a minute that it's in mono. (What mono?) But the main difference is that, because the orchestrations are much faster, the performers have to be much more "structured" than they were in the stereo London recording. As a result, their performances are much better. Rex Harrison talks his lyrics more here than in London, and his performance is that much sharper as a result. As wonderful as she always sounds, Julie Andrews never has sounded quite like this again; her voice is so much brighter, fresher, and all-around better than in London. Stanley Holloway is, quite simply, wonderful. John Michael King, while obviously American and not British, is a much better singer than the London Freddy, Leonard Weir. Because the performers were so much more laid-back in London, (Perhaps they were a little too used to their roles by that time) the wonderful Loewe score really took center stage on that recording, which certainly isn't a bad thing. But the performers (and Lerner's great lyrics) are the show here, and they really do have, in the words of another reviewer, a "zip and zing of discovery" that you just won't find in London or probably any other recording of this show. Must certainly be one of the, if not THE, must-have in any music, musical, or theatre lover's collection.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gene DeSantis on December 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
We are fortunate to have this solid-platinum masterpiece back. We are doubly fortunate given the great Goddard Lieberson's rare lack of foresight to record it right away in stereo. Perhaps he did consider it and figured it was too much trouble, but it would have been eminently worth it. Then again, among this album's manifold virtues is excellent mono sound.

It was possible -- RCA and British Decca recorded commercially in stereo from 1954; but Columbia seems not to have started in stereo at all until November, 1956, and then haltingly, in binaural, on Lieberson's "Li'l Abner" cast album (and only on two orchestral tracks, until recently unreleased). In December he produced Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" in separate mono and two-track stereo takes,* followed by "Bells Are Ringing" in two-track. In 1959 he did record "My Fair Lady" in stereo -- an "identical" London cast album. Happily both recordings coexisted peacefully on record-store racks until the end of the dual-format era in the late sixties, when CBS decided London was better. Sony showed its love for the Broadway cast album by issuing a slapdash hard-to-find CD sometime around 1988, followed by one of those absurdly expensive gold-plated Mastersound discs which the company used to avoid fixing its back catalog, and whose cost it justified by adding the first of the two current bonus tracks. A preposterous internecine fight over control of the company's cast albums further delayed a good reasonably-priced reissue.

Finally, in 2002, it arrived -- a beautiful, sensitive remastering. Probably most of us last heard this album as I did, in a kitchen on a portable tube-type manual phono.
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