29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the house were burning down and run back in for this CD!
I'm not kidding. This is Streisand's finest album (and I should know, I have them all). I see that there are 50 other reviews, so I'm not going to blather on and on. Simply, this is a great recording. Sondheim's "Being Alive" is sublime. "Not While I'm Around," "Send In the Clowns," "If I Loved You," "Can't Help Lovin That...
Published on August 4, 2003 by I. Sondel
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That's entertainment.
The girl has talent! Not a sing-a-long unless you're as talented as she is. Anyway, it's fun to listen to while you're driving.
Published on June 5, 2009 by D. Hull
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the house were burning down and run back in for this CD!,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)I'm not kidding. This is Streisand's finest album (and I should know, I have them all). I see that there are 50 other reviews, so I'm not going to blather on and on. Simply, this is a great recording. Sondheim's "Being Alive" is sublime. "Not While I'm Around," "Send In the Clowns," "If I Loved You," "Can't Help Lovin That Man," geez-o-man, it doesn't get any better than this. Is it any wonder she won a Grammy Award for this?
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST of Broadway,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)By 1985, Barbra Streisand had conquered just about every medium in the entertainment business. At the age of 18, she stepped onto a stage in the Greenwich Village section of New York to enter a singing contest, which she easily won. What she won was an engagement at the nightclub and a buzz that circulated around New York that even the best publicity couldn't buy. This led to more prestigious Manhattan club engagements. All the Broadway big shots came to see what all the fuss was about. Before she knew it, she had her first role on Broadway at 19 years-old when she was signed for her first musical, "I Can Get It For You Wholesale" in a small but important role as the quirky Yetta Tessye Marmelstein. Why was it so important? Her voice was so unique that the song "Miss Marmelstein" was written exclusively for her, and in the midst of this mediocre musical, she stopped the show each night with her natural musical comedy skills. Barbra's voice caught the attention of many record labels, but the most esteemed label, Columbia, is what she was after, and Columbia is what she got. She was signed in late 1962, and began her career with a best-selling album that consisted of mostly Broadway material, some of it well-known, some obscure, a couple of comedic offbeat ditties, and a couple of sultry torch songs. Barbra won two Grammy Awards for "The Barbra Streisand Album," one for Best Female Artist and the other for Album of the Year. The album reached gold status and remained on the chart for just under two years. A starring role in the Broadway musical "Funny Girl" catapulted her to fame at the age of 22, more nominations and awards. Television specials followed, more awards including a couple of Emmy's and a Peabody. Hollywood was Barbra's goal, and by 1967, Hollywood is what she got. The film version of "Funny Girl" was to be her debut - and what a debut it was. It won her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actress of 1968. When 1970 rolled around, Barbra was presented with a Tony Award for "Star of the Decade." By the age of 28, Barbra had achieved every major award there was to bestow a recording star and actress. But where was there to go now? In Barbra's world, the only direction she had tad taken was up, so why stop now? There were more roles to tackle, more music to record, and more hats to be worn. But that's a whole other story. Considering this column is titled "Album of the Month," I'll stick to the music.
In the 1960's, Barbra recorded music that her fans had come to love, heavy on the ballads, an up-tempo song or two made an appearance on each album, and of course, Broadway. By the 70's, Barbra began to experiment with more contemporary music of the day. In the fall of 1970, Barbra released the Laura Nyro-penned "Stoney End" and it began a whole new chapter in her discography. The single was such a smash; an entire album was in order. By February 1971, the album "Stoney End" was released to rave reviews, hit the Top 10 and was certified platinum. Throughout the 70's and early 80's, Barbra recorded everything from rock to country to classical to disco. Everything she did turned to gold and platinum. Although she did have her detractors from the early days, most people embraced the woman with the platinum pipes. Her popularity just kept rising.
By 1984, after tackling just about every genre of music, Barbra was itching to get back to her roots. In other words, Broadway. The record company squawked. Barbra was a one-woman hit machine and squeamish record company executives protested her decision. After 23 years with Columbia, Barbra was baffled that she had to actually fight the record company to have an album of Broadway material made. After all, this was the material that put her on the map, but times had changed, and Columbia's vision and execs did, too. When push came to shove, Columbia reluctantly gave Barbra her way, and the result was a Number One album that has been since certified quadruple platinum, Grammy nominations and wins, and the best received album Barbra had recorded since the 1960's. As usual, Barbra was right. The result was "The Broadway Album," and it was a smash.
Barbra's battle to have this album recorded was best executed in the opening track, the Stephen Sondheim track "Putting It Together" from "Sunday In The Park With George." Although the original lyrics depicted a different type of artist, at the request of Streisand, Sondheim masterfully reworked the words to mirror the modern day recording artist and her battle with modern day record executives to make her point. At the beginning of the song and throughout, you hear Barbra recreating discussions and venting her frustrations with record executives. The voices of the record execs were played by her friends, Ken Sylk, director Sydney Pollack and record executive David Geffen. A perfect blend of fantasy created the reality. The song, the lyrics, and the vocal execution of this song worked beautifully, and this is where the journey of "The Broadway Album" began.
Although, seven of the twelve tracks were Sondheim's, the second track "If I Loved You" from "Carousel" brought back the "old Barbra, " the girl that gave a torch song a whole new meaning - as well as opening the floodgates to her newer fans. The song was, and is, one of the best she has recorded in her 43 year history. The vulnerable quiet girl building her story to an emotional climax is what made Streisand a recording star to begin with. Barbra doesn't just sing the lyrics, she lives the lyrics, and squeezes every ounce of emotion from the haunting and gorgeous melody.
On a contemporary version of "Something's Coming" from "West Side Story," Barbra induced even more excitement and enthusiasm into an already exciting and enthusiastic song. Is that possible? If you're Barbra Streisand, it is. If it weren't for "Putting It Together," this song would've worked perfectly as the opening track. Just to prove that theory, Barbra later used the song as her opening number in her farewell "Timeless" concerts in 2000.
Barbra's love for Sondheim continued on tracks four and five, "Not While I'm Around" from "Sweeney Todd" and "Being Alive" from "Company," respectively. "Around" is a gorgeous ballad that seems tailor-made for Streisand (but then again, what Broadway song doesn't?). Nine years later, she dedicated the song to her son Jason on stage in "The Concert" in 1994. "Being Alive" is one of the most exuberant and exciting numbers on the album. Barbra radiates every bit of enthusiasm for life itself with one of the most dynamic performances of her career. If you like this song in its original form, wait until you hear Streisand's version. She knocks you off your feet and gives you goosebumps as if you're hearing it for the first time. To this day, this is one song I've always wanted to hear Barbra perform live in its entirety. She performed it as part of a medley with "Something Wonderful" (and it was) in her `Timeless' farewell concert.
In the days of vinyl, the next track, which is a medley of three songs "I Have Dreamed/We Kiss In A Shadow/Something Wonderful" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I" are gorgeously arranged by the late Paul Jabara ("Last Dance," "The Main Event," "No More Tears") and Bob Esty, closed Side One of the album. Jabara had originally set the introduction of the song to one of the scores other highlights "Shall We Dance." It was set to a disco beat and was an exciting departure from anything else on the album, as Streisand's vocals effortlessly worked its way up and down and around the scale. As much as I love the arrangement, Streisand was precise when she decided to scratch the dance intro. In repeat listening to the original three and a half minute intro, it now sounds dated. Broadway material never goes out of style, but the style of 120 BPM have. Once again, Barbra's instinctive ear made the right decision. The final results are gorgeous, ethereal and superbly molded into one song. If one isn't familiar with the original songs and arrangements, it's almost impossible to tell where one song ends and the others pick up. That's due to Streisand's unique vocal ability to sew lyrics together like a beautiful quilt. There isn't a stitch out of place.
A bonus at the time of the release of "The Broadway Album" was an extra track exclusively for the CD release. Since CD's were new at the time, record companies were using gimmicks to lure people into buying CD's. It worked. The bonus track was the comic number "Adelaide's Lament" lifted from the Frank Loesser score of "Guys and Dolls." Here we have the funny girl back in fine form, a trait she had rarely utilized since her early days on stage and her first three musical films.
Side Two, or for those who were born in the age of CD's, track eight was perhaps one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Sondheim's "Send In The Clowns" from "A Little Night Music" was lyrically altered at Barbra's request. She felt the original lyrics were a "bit too British and a bit too fancy" for her taste, so in bold Barbra fashion, she asked Sondheim if he would consider "revisiting the lyric." Without a blink of an eye, Sondheim agreed, Barbra's version was a bit more Americanized and everybody was happy. This song has been recorded by just about every major recording artist, but as usual, Barbra's made it her own.
The Sondheim tribute continued on a medley from "Sweeney Todd" and "Company" with "Pretty Woman/The Ladies Who Lunch." This is an absolute treasure of two extraordinary songs becoming one. Barbra's sly, sarcastic take on women who have nothing better to do with their days but go to the gym, buy a hat and meet their girlfriends for lunch is outstanding, as is her vocal. Barbra had said she thought about these women quite a bit, and perhaps she was just a tiny bit envious of the beautiful women who sit in front of a mirror brushing their hair while the world gets handed to them on a silver platter, just because they're pretty. This has long been a dichotomy in Barbra's life and career; the ugly duckling beating the odds and emerging as the beautiful swan.
On Track ten, Barbra eases her way through "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" in a pleasant quiet way, reminiscent of the film version of "Showboat," written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The song originally got a swankier version with a trumpet wailing over Streisand's soaring vocals. Barbra decided to bring it back to the simplicity of the original, and what we get is a lovely version that's beautifully complimented by Stevie Wonder and his harmonica.
What would a Broadway album be without something from George and Ira Gershwin? This time around, Barbra performs yet another medley, "I Loves You Porgy/Porgy, I's Your Woman Now (Bess You Is My Woman)" from "Porgy and Bess." The result is once again, Barbra the actress becoming Barbra the singer becoming Barbra the actress. In other words, in Streisand's case, you can never tell where one lets go and the other takes over. I guess it's because they don't. The "actress who sings" climbs so deeply into the skin of this character, your heart beats faster with her emotional vocal. Barbra feels Bess' desire, love and pain, because Barbra becomes Bess.
The song that takes the greatest departure from the album was saved for last. We return to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's brilliant score of "West Side Story" for the stunning symphonic "Somewhere." Barbra had wanted this song to sound as if the heavens opened up. It succeeded. Producer David Foster understood Barbra's vision and the result is nothing less than spectacular. This song of love and hope was the perfect choice to close the album and Barbra's otherworldly vocal soared. When she sang "Hold my hand and I'll take you there" towards the climax, you felt as if you needed to reach out and hold her hand. THAT'S how much she connects with her audience. Streisand already had her signature songs, "People," "The Way We Were," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Evergreen." Who would have thought 23 years into her career, she would've added one more? "Somewhere" is absolutely stunning. Streisand wanted a sound that was "out of this world" and by being Barbra Streisand, she not only got it from this song, she got it from the entire album.
Out of sixty-one albums, if I HAD to rank her top five, "The Broadway Album" is easily among them.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A SINGER! BRAVO, BARBRA STREISAND !!!,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)The Broadway Album by Barbra Streisand is clearly one of her very best. Barbra really opens up on this album and belts out some of the greatest Broadway show tunes ever written. The sound quality is great and the artwork is very well done.
"Putting It Together" starts the CD with Barbra singing her heart out on this number; she handles difficult tempo and key changes like the great chanteuse she always was and still remains! "If I Loved You" from Carousel features Barbra front and center--and that's OK by me! The melody is very pretty and it makes great use of the strings. Barbra's voice is in excellent form--her voice is rich, warm and rather vibrant. Terrific! Similarly, there's another coup for Streisand when she sings "Something's Coming." This magnificent ballad from West Side Story really shines like new when this lady sings it! Barbra again handles the lyrics effortlessly; the key and tempo changes never seem to faze her in the slightest. I'm very impressed!
"Not While I'm Around" comes from Sweeney Todd; and Barbra gives this the royal treatment as she sings this to perfection--and beyond! The piano arrangement is especially elegant and it all holds its own very well.
There's a very grand medley of hits from The King And I; listen for Barbra to do great justice to this stage play with her medley of "I Have Dreamed/We Kiss In A Shadow/Something Wonderful." This medley is a fine tribute to a classic Broadway play that truly remains one of the very best of all time! Barbra does this to perfection--and beyond! I love it.
"Adelaide's Lament" comes from Guys And Dolls; this tune always makes me laugh a bit because it's just that type of song. Although Adelaide is somewhat sad it's just a playful tune in its own way. Barbra sings this with panache and her accent is flawless. Barbra makes "Adelaide's Lament" a huge highlight of this album. In addition, "Send In The Clowns" from A Little Night Music gets one of its best treatments ever when the great Barbra Streisand delivers this without a superfluous note.
"Can't Help Lovin' That Man" again showcases Barbra's vocals squarely front and center--I really like "can't Help Lovin' That Man" a whole lot. This musical arrangement is very well done, too. "I Loves You Porgy/Porgy, I's Your Woman Now (Bess, You Is My Woman Now)" comes from Porgy And Bess; and yet again Barbra Streisand delivers this with panache! Great! The album ends with Barbra singing "Somewhere" from West Side Story; this truly is as grand as all the other reviewers say it is; you'll love every second of it!
The Broadway Album really showcases Barbra Streisand's singular vocal qualities. Her fans will definitely want this one for their collections; and people who like show tunes will want this album as well.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Barbra's best,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)Simply put, if you want to start a Barbra collection, buy the greatest hits sets and this one. It's absolutely amazing.
"Putting It Together" - simply a very fun song, very sing-a-long, and of course Barbra's voice makes it a joy to listen to it.
"If I Loved You" - A lovely ballad.
"Something's Coming" - from WEST SIDE STORY, this is another up-lifting song.
"Not While I'm Around" - proof that subtle interpretation can work wonders. Babs sings this one beautifully.
"Being Alive" - From subtle to rafter-shaking. The lyrics describe as a relationship should be, while Babs' ending notes put many other vocalists to shame.
"I Have Dreamed/We Kiss In A Shadow/Something Wonderful" - a dreamy medley of three songs from THE KING AND I. With Babs' supple voice crooning the lyrics, this comes off as the second-best song on the album.
"Adelaide's Lament" - one of the most hilarious theatre songs in history. Babs puts her comedic skills to work here and makes this one of the most charming songs on the album.
"Send In The Clowns" - The third-best song on the album. Singing wistfully, Babs puts in a wonderful performance of this song.
"Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch" - talk about ironic! Once again, la Babs uses her voice and skills to make this one of the album's best songs.
"Can't Help Loving That Man" - not one of my favourites.
"I Loves You Porgy" - another that is not one of my favourites.
"Somewhere" - the best number on the CD, what can be said about this song that hasn't been said already? Except that in my opinion, this ranks in the top 3 Barbra songs of all time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BARBRA'S ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE.,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)Nearly 14 years after this album was released on November 7, 1985 (yes, I still remember that day exactly), this collection is still the most magnificent of Barbra's, the most magnificent that any singer has ever sung. I bought the vinyl album that day and rushed home and put it on the turntable-- with trepidation. Trepidation because, how could this much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed work possibly match its expectations? Well, from the very first notes of "Putting It Together" through "If I Loved You" and "Something's Coming" to "Send In the Clowns" and "Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch" to the 'soaring to the stratosphere' with "Somewhere," the music and the voice were absolutely magnificent, and all these years later, and probably truly thousands of times that I have listened to the album, the enjoyment only increases with every listen. And the appreciation only increases by stratospheric leaps and bounds. Thank you, Barbra, for such a wonderful wonderful gift I'll still be listening to 50 years from now-- and still loving every note of your beautiful voice that, even when the world is celebrating the next millennium, you will still be held in awe as the very greatest ever.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something more than wonderful!,
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This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)This is the album that Barbra Streisand was born to create, and it is possibly the finest recording of her forty year career. Barbra wisely asked Peter Matz (who had inventively arranged many of her early recordings) to arrange much of the album and serve with her as executive producer. Matz's contributions clearly brings back the electricity and imagination that had been missing from many of Streisand's post-sixties recordings.
Barbra reportedly spent months deciding what songs to record, and her efforts were very well spent - the final song selection could not be improved upon. Choosing eight selections written or co-written by Stephen Sondheim was a masterstroke, and Streisand proves to be the perfect vocalist for his compositions. There is no one else who can pull off the breakneck phrasing of "Putting It Together," "Something's Coming," or the "Pretty Women/The Ladies Who Lunch" medley with the perfect balance of fervor and eloquence, and you've never heard "Being Alive" nor "Somewhere" until you've heard Streisand's powerhouse renditions. However, the best of the Streisand-sings-Sondheim material is arguably the gorgeously restrained reinterpretations of "Not While I'm Around" and "Send In The Clowns," both of which are performed with a mesmerizing, though hushed, intensity. Simply put, Streisand turns in the definitive renditions of all of the Sondheim material.
However, there is also material from five other composers, and they are all impeccably selected and executed as well. Rodgers and Hammerstein's "If I Loved You" finds Streisand at her most innocent and endearing, while three of the duo's songs from the King And I are expertly crafted into a medley that is a vocal tour de force for the singer. Barbra also returns to her "Miss Marmelstein" roots with a lively take on Losser's "Adelaide's Lament," and this track is full of the wicked humor that was sorely lacking from many of her post-sixties albums. The medley of songs from the Gershwins' PORGY AND BESS is absolutely delightful, and Barbra's heartfelt rendition of Jerome Kern's "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" is yet another highlight of a record that is filled with nothing but highlights.
Perfect from start to finish, this album is everything that a masterwork should be. Streisand's superlative effort was rewarded when THE BROADWAY ALBUM shot straight to #1 on Billboard's Hot 200 and was certified Quadruple-Platinum in sales. This album is the best of the best!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbra's Best...,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)Barbra Streisand is such a prolific and extremely talented woman, that given a mediocre material, she can rise above it and make it palatable to the public.
This however, isn't true with the Broadway Album. Clearly, she is at home singing these Broadway tunes. She sounds so fresh and vibrant, I do believe her voice is in full bloom, the pinnacle of perfect singing in this album. Every track is amazing.
But the best track in this album is Somewhere, produced by David Foster, engineered by Humberto Gatica. Even after 20 years, it doesn't sound dated or "80's" and each note is undiminished with each passing year. Her voice is like how Krupp Diamond would sound it could talk. Clear, radiant, luminous, breathtaking.
If I Loved You, Not While I'm Around, and Send in the Clowns are all strong and unforgettable tracks.
Even if you're not a Streisand fan, it's difficult not to be astonished listening to this album...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, excellent remastering,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)The cd I hold is not the original 1985 release, but the recently remastered version. How can one tell the difference? On the package there is a silver sticker with the words "Best Value" and the "spine" of the jewel case is not the familiar white background with red letters, but red with Barbra's name in black and the album title in a beige color. Do not think you are wasting money buying this disc if you own the first release, the remastering makes this album much better sonically.
As with any remastered album, the sound may be great, even if the material within marks time, as this album does. Eighties slickness abounds, including the manipulating of Barbra's voice on fade-outs, I'm so glad that trick is no longer in style or favor. The shiny moments now are even more shiny, like Barbra's tender reading of "Send In The Clowns" and "If I Loved You," the radio hit of "Somewhere" does sound a bit dated due to the aforementiond slickness, but the arrangement is interesting in the study of electronic music.
Overall the cd proves the potential of remastering music to its peak performance.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her finest work ever!!!,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)This certainly is her best work for me. I'm just the bigest of her fans, but don't get me wrong, I'm not blinded by her talents.
Even though I'm not specialized in music I know all of her recordings by heart and this is it...perfect. This is music, I don't know what some of the reviewers are talking about when they say that there is no emotion at all in this exquisite work of art. You can feel the perfect conection between the singer and the arrangements, the voice serves the music and the arrengements serve the singer. It's all just so perfect, every second of it. There are pauses in the right places and crecendos where they are suposed to be just in the benefit of the work.
Not to mention the selection of the songs and the VOICE.
Believe me, if there is an album that can be called classic in Babs'career is this one, and at the same time was very popular, "sweet artist justice" as she herself said, and that's not a matter of fate. It is the quality of it that makes it valuable to everyone. Buy it, and if you do not appreciate at first sight, play it again and again and it will conquer your heart, no matter what your musical preferences are...thrust me!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT,
This review is from: The Broadway Album (Audio CD)Barbra Streisand re-emerged as the classic pop interpreter of our time with this stunningly arranged album of B'way classics. Re-inventing the settings of these time-honored theatre songs with synthesizers, lush orchestrations and some lyric-meddling (Sondheim actually re-wrote Send In The Clowns and Putting It Together expressly for her), Streisand chews into each and every one of these numbers with obvious theatricality and the mature emotion befitting her age. Somewhere is at once a new anthem for the ages; Something's Coming, written for an optimistic young man, sounds as ideal in the voice of a woman on the edge of a new turn in her life; Putting It Together is an autobiographical, thrilling expose on her musical career. This album is so completely listenable; it is one of the best of all of Barbra's efforts, and it is so refreshing to hear her sing these full-bodied songs (the King & I medley is hypnotically gorgeous and romantic; the Ladies who Lunch/Pretty Women an explosive pairing of irony) after a decade-plus of pop/disco fluff. A keeper.
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