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Flahooley (1951 Original Broadway Cast) Soundtrack

3.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, March 23, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

This 1951 show marked the Broadway debut of Barbara Cook, and with songs by Yip Harburg and Sammy Fain, we're talking serious musical talent here! Barbara writes the liner notes, too...delightful!
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Product Details

  • Performer: Sammy Fain, E.Y. Harburg, Barbara Cook
  • Audio CD (March 23, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Drg
  • ASIN: B0001CNR1Q
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,079 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Andrew Lawrence on March 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
FLAHOOLEY has had a checkered career in record company catalgues. The musical was a flop that folded after 5 weeks (40 performances) in the spring of 1951. Capitol records issued the cast album on June 18th ..2 days after the show had played its final performance. With the show no longer playing, interest was minimal and the Lp was deleted in 1955. Since very few copies had been sold, collectors who wanted the score had a difficult time tracking down the album. By the early 1970s its estimated value in collectors circles was $300. Finally in 1977...22 years after the album had left the catalogues, Capitol brought it back. A mid-priced ($6.98) reissue that duplicated the original album cover. The reissue was short-lived, for beyond harcore show music collectors there was no mass market for FLAHOOLEY and the Lp was deleted again.
In 1993 EMI launched a major Cd reissue campaign called Broadway Angel transferring 40 of the Capitol cast albums to CD, including FLAHOOLEY. This time the liner notes were expanded to include a history of the show, a detailed synopsis and an interview with Barbara Cook.
The CD again was bought mainly by collectors and was deleted in 1996. You would think that after 3 go-rounds, this would have been the end of FLAHOOLEY. But Noooooooooo... now DRG has brought it back.
The score by Sammy Fain and Ey.Y Harburg has several charming numbers: "Here's to your Illusions", "The World is Your Balloon"
and "The Springtime Cometh." None of the songs became hits, and FLAHOOLEY is never revived... not even in concert format.
Don't miss out on a chance to own a copy of FLAHOOLEY before it gets deleted for the 4th and final (?) time.
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Format: Audio CD
It's pointless comparing FLAHOOLEY with lyricist E.Y. (Yip) Harburg's masterpieces, FINIAN'S RAINBOW and THE WIZARD OF OZ. Although sometimes clever, the lyrics are just not up to the level of those shows. And, although Sammy Fain has written plenty of fine tunes ("You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me," "That Old Feeling," the score for CALAMITY JANE), the ones in this show are no match for OZ's Harold Arlen or FINIAN'S Burton Lane. Judging from a synopsis of the plot with its emphasis on social and political satire and supernatural magic, Harburg was trying to come up with another FINIAN, but just didn't pull it off.

However, that doesn't mean FLAHOOLEY is not a worthy show. It would be interesting to see how it would play to modern audiences, although the idea of a U.S. corporation making a deal with Arabians might be a bit touchy. And puppets played a major role in the action, long before AVENUE Q.

The show contains some lovely songs for the always-wonderful Barbara Cook in her Broadway debut, three numbers featuring the phenomenal voice of Yma Sumac, and some lively ensemble pieces. So, musically it's got quite a few things going for it. If you haven't listened to it yet, after reading the following commentary from musicalheaven.com you'll see what a daring show this was for 1951. And if you've already heard this original cast recording but were not aware of the show's history, listen again with new ears.

"For almost 25 years, the original Broadway cast recording of Flahooley, released by Capitol Records shortly after the show opened in 1951, was among the most difficult to find of all show LP's.
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Format: Audio CD
Flahooley, if you've read some of the other reviews, has got to be the most (in)famous flop, next to "Carrie". I bought this album because I am an avid collector of showtunes, but I was quite pleased with the recording. The sound quality is quite good, as the manufacturer opted (thankfully) to update the sound to stereo format.
Barbara Cook sounds wonderful on this recording, but the award goes to Yma Sumac for having the most memorable songs. Sure she has no actual purpose in the show's plot, but the album is worth every cent just to hear her sing two notes in different octaves at the same time. A truly memorable performance from an otherwise generic 1950's show.
Old-time Broadway fun at it's best and floppiest.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The story is a light comedy and the music fits perfectly. The music and lyrics are upbeat, for example, "The World is Your Balloon" and "He's Only Wonderful". Actually I like all the songs.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a must have for any serious musical theatre collector. It was so hard to get on LP for sooooo long and now to find it re-mastered on CD is fantastic! Barabara Cook is a dream on this CD. Don't download it, buy it for the CD booklet.
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This review is of the original cast recording (now on CD) of FLAHOOLEY, the 1951 musical with a book by E. Y. ("Yip") Harburg and Fred Saidy, lyrics by Harburg, and music by Sammy Fain. The show only lasted 40 performances on Broadway, a flop of that or any other era. One reason may have been that librettist and lyricist Harburg wanted to have another FINIAN'S RAINBOW politically, and this satire of big business, our kid culture, and McCarthyism, with a dose of the exotic thrown in, didn't please. Or, as the current Wikipedia article tartly affirms it: "It did not help that associate producer/director Harburg saw no need to edit writer Harburg's overstated political views."

But there is much to recommend the show, even without consulting the libretto. Lots of Broadway shows of the era had more songs, but this one has a dazzling variety of them, all well performed. In fact, if you want a great example of Broadway cast singing of the time (along with KISS ME KATE and some others, of course) listen to the cast in the expository numbers. The show had Barbara Cook, her first Broadway billing. The cast also had interesting peripheral types like Ernest Truex, Irwin Corey, Louis Nye, and Nehemiah Persoff.

But most of all, FLAHOOLEY has Yma Sumac, a Peruvian singer with a legendary four-octave-plus range (no BS, there are recordings that attest to that) who was thrown into the show to provide an exotic air (in other words, she was to this show what the leprechaun was to FINIAN'S RAINBOW). At this point in her career (her peak), Sumac was recording and touring exotic, often pseudo-folk Peruvian songs written largely by her husband and some others, like American Les Baxter. In FLAHOOLEY, she played an Arabian Princess toting an empty Aladdin's lamp looking for an American repair.
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