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Big River Cast Recording

4.8 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

CASSETTE.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette (October 17, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Decca U.S.
  • ASIN: B000002O4U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,041 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If you are going to be audacious enough to try and make a musical of Huckleberry Finn, then choosing Roger Miller of "King of the Road" fame to write the songs is certainly an inspired move. "Big River," the Tony Award winning musical, owes as much to Miller as it does to Mark Twain for writing the classic story in the first place. Of course when you are talking Roger Miller you are talking fun songs, from John Goodman's ripping diatribe on "Guv'ment" as Huck's Pappy and Tom Sawyer's (John Short) "Hand for the Hog" to the two songs by the King (Bob Gunton) and the Duke (Rene Auberjonois), "When the Sun Goes Down in the South" and "The Royal Nonesuch" ("She's got one big breast in the middle of her chest/And an eye in the middle of her nose/So says I, if you look her in the eye/You're better off looking up her nose"). Even when Miller offers us the tender country ballad, "You Oughta Be Here with Me," Mary Jane Wilkes (Patti Cohenour, who later went on to play Christine in "Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway) sings the song to her father's coffin. "The Crossing" is a nice spiritual, but clearly the best songs are reserved for the Huck (Daniel Jenkins) and Jim (Ron Richardson): "Muddy Water," as they shove off on a raft for Freedom, "River in the Rain" as they spend their last moments alone on the river, and "World's Apart" as the recognize the gulf that exists between them. They also do a trio with Mary Jane on "Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Roger Miller is remembered for his humorous novelty songs like "King of the Road," "Dang Me," "England Swings," "Do-Wacka-Do," and "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd." What gets forgotten sometimes is that he had considerable songwriting talent, and the best proof of that is his Tony Award-winning songs for "Big River." You have to appreciate the audacity of trying to turn Mark Twain's classic novel into a Broadway musical, but in turning to Roger Miller to write the songs you get the feeling Samuel Clemens was moving them in the right direction. Yes, there are stuff the fun songs like Pa's diatribe on "Guv'ment" and Tom Sawyer's "Hand for the Hog," as well as the two songs by the King and the Duke, "When the Sun Goes Down in the South" and "The Royal Nonesuch." But Miller also provides a tender country ballad, "You Oughta Be Here With Me" and the spiritual "The Crossing." The most powerful songs remain those between Huck and Jim, which includes "Muddy Water," "River in the Rain," and "Worlds Apart."
"Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" contains sixteen of Miller's songs, with piano-vocal arrangements by Rick Walters along with guitar chords. In addition to the above mentioned songs you also get the music for "Arkansas/How Blest We Are," "The Boys," "Do Ya Wanna Go To Heaven?," "Free At Last," "I, Huckleberry, Me," and "Waitin' For the Light To Shine.
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Format: Audio CD
The only reason I purchased a copy of the BIG RIVER soundtrack is because I wanted to incorporate some of the songs into a unit plan I was developing on Mark Twain and THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. I knew that the musical had won the Tony for Best Musical in 1985, but I honestly didn't think I was going to like the album that much. I was wrong. I've love the music from start to finish. The songs include a wide variety of styles from country to jazz to gospel. However, most of the tunes cannot be pigeonholed as one style of music or the other because Roger Miller has done a beautiful job of blending several types of music into one coherent whole on many of the songs. The company of this production of BIG RIVER includes such stars as Rene Auberjonois and John Goodman. Some of my favorite tunes from the album include:
"Do You Want to Go to Heaven"
"I, Huckleberry, Me"
"Muddy Water"
"The Crossing"
"Worlds Apart"
"Waiting For the Light To Shine"
"Free At Last"
Besides the beauty of the music itself, I was also impressed by how well the dialogue and lyrics complement Mark Twain's original text. Some changes have been made, of course, but not many. I'm really glad that I have purchased the ablum and know it will be a valuable part of my lessons whenever I teach about THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
BIG RIVER, which is based on Mark Twain's HUCKLEBERRY FINN, is a wonderful musical, and the original Broadway cast album is a delight from start to finish. Roger Miller created a country/western-style score that, even if it doesn't quite capture Twain's distinctive wit, is evocative, touching, and a joy to hear. The album is dominated by the partnership of Daniel Jenkins as Huck and Ronald Richardson as the runaway slave, Jim. Jenkins has a characterful tenor voice, while Richardson's sound is dark and mellifluous. Their three duets, "Muddy Water", "River in the Rain", and "Worlds Apart", are beautifully and emotionally sung. Twain's characters, from Huck and Jim to Tom Sawyer ("The Boys", "Hand for the Hog"), Pap Finn ("Guv'ment"), and the "Duke" ("When the Sun Goes Down in the South", "The Royal Nonesuch") come to life in Miller's songs and in this recording. As Mary Jane Wilkes, on whom Huck develops a crush, Patty Cohenour has a warm, pure soprano voice and sounds lovely in her songs, the bittersweet "You Oughta Be Here with Me" and "Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go" (a trio with Huck and Jim). The recorded sound is outstandingly clear. The editorial reviewer has it right: BIG RIVER is a "dazzling" achievement!
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