37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Everything a Soundtrack Should Be/Cavanaugh is Awesome!,
This review is from: Movin' Out (Based on the Songs and Music of Billy Joel) (2002 Original Broadway Cast) (Audio CD)I just recently saw the Broadway production of "Movin Out". This musical basically puts to life the music of Billy Joel. Characters such as "Brenda and Eddie" and "Anthony" (Tony) are put to life as it traces the story of a group of friends from the 60s, through the Vietnam War, and the after effects of the war. (I for one always wanted to know the story of what happened to Brenda and Eddie) The setup of the play is pretty interesting. The characters I mention tell their story through Dance - there is no dialogue and the characters do no singing. The singing is done the young Piano Player named Michael Cavanaugh (who really does play Piano). Cavanaugh and his backup band are actually suspended above the stage (on another stage) and sing and perform Billy Joel's music. The Dance numbers are nice (John Selya who plays 'Eddie' will really shine), but it is ultimately Cavanaugh's vocals that are going to be the really the stars of this show. Here is what is so great about this soundtrac - You get all of the vocals from the production on one CD - no editing, no shortening. This is as good as it gets on a soundtrack. You might be missing the visual dance of the production, but you are getting what is the best part. Even if you haven't seen this play before, you will probably still get blown away from Cavanaugh's voice.
At first I was skeptical about anyone doing Billy Joel vocals, but Michael Cavanaugh finds a way to pull this off. Cavanaugh doesn't attempt to duplicate Joel's style here, he brings a much different dimension to Joel's vocals and it works. While Joel has more of a blue collar style to his vocals, Cavanaugh has some powerful vocals - a true broadway quality. This is not meant to knock Billy Joel - who is one of the greatest vocalists of all time. The point is - Michael Cavanaugh's vocals truly come through on this soundtrack. With just a couple of exceptions, Cavanaugh is able to shine very brightly while bringing a new element to the song.
The catalog of the Billy Joel music library spans his full career. There are old songs from "Turnstiles" such as "Summer, Highland Falls", "I've Loved These Days", and "James" (who also is a character in the Play). Other old songs include "She's Got a Way", "Angry Young Man", and "Captain Jack". There are some classics from the peak of Joel's career including "Movin Out", "Only the Good Die Young" (an instrumental as part of a medley), "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant", "Just the Way You Are", "The Stranger", "Big Shot", "Big Man on Mulberry Street". Joel's best album "The Nylon Curtain" is represented by "Goodnight Saigon" and "Pressure". The retro style from "An Innocent Man" is central to the story of the play, thus songs like "Uptown Girl", "The Longest Time" (a shortened version), "This Night", "An Innocent Man", and "Keeping the Faith" are key. Other later works included are "We Didn't Start the Fire", "The River of Dreams", and "Shameless". Joel's recent venture into classical music is represented by five instumental cuts - these instrumental cuts fit very nicely into the story.
Cavanaugh does a great job on all of the vocals. One of the best cuts is a segue between "The Longest Time" and "Uptown Girl". Although "The Longest Time" is shortened, it is the perfect lead in to "Uptown Girl". Another medley that is sensational is the "The River of Dreams/Keeping the Faith/Only the Good Die Young". "The River of Dreams is a song done toward the finale and fits perfect. Cavanaugh and the band vocalize the harmonies perfectly. Then Cavanaugh and the Band have a smooth segue into "Keeping the Faith". I was never a fan of "Keeping the Faith", but the spin of this song is a much more uptempo version and it works perfectly. The medley wraps up by using instrumentals from "Only the Good Die Young". Other noteable performances are "This Night", "Captain Jack", "Movin Out", "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant", "The Stanger" and "Goodnight Saigon".
There are two songs where I think its hard for Cavanaugh to really capture the song. This is "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Pressure". I think in these particular songs, they just don't work with Cavanaugh's style. The songs are included because they are central to the story in the play, but in reality a blue collar voice like Billy Joel's works much better for these particular songs.
There are some songs I would have liked to have seen on here. "Glass Houses" is not represnted at all. Other songs like "Vienna", "Laura" (they could have easily had a character called Laura instead of a character called 'Judy'), "Modern Woman", "Everybody Has a Dream", and of course "Piano Man". But this isn't a negative on the soundtrack - this is something that the play should have done.
The Liner Notes are sensational. You get full credits from the Broadway show and you get all of the lyrics from all of the songs. There are a couple of photos of the Piano Man himself with Director Twyla Thorp. It is also worth noting the soundtrack follows the same exact order as the songs are done in the play. You'll see the names of each scene along with the song that covers that scene.
The point is - this soundtrack is everything a soundtrack should be. It perhaps comes the closest to any soundtrack I have ever seen in capturing the picture of what the soundtrack is for. It's even fair to call this one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Don't underestimate Michael Cavanaugh either - I have a feeling this man is going to have a very long and successful career in the industry.