Here's Liberace

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With one side almost 20 minutes and the other clocking in at 13 and a half, this MCA reissue of Here's Liberace, a concert performance recorded live at the Palladium, is what you expect from the maestro. After a little chatter about his jacket, he tickles the ivories on Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and "I Got Rhythm." For those who underestimate the pianist -- don't. Liberace was more than running scales and showmanship -- his variations on Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Mack the Knife" are tremendous here, mixing the pop song with Strauss, Beethoven, and other masters. His touch on the keys is as elegant as always, taking "Mack the Knife" again and turning it into a rhumba. The accompanying band is understated, the horns and percussion in the background allowing the piano to be the star of the show. There's self-deprecating humor that he's heard all the stories about himself and claims to have started them. That's quickly followed by gay humor preceding the tune "Jalousie," which brings the house down. The Paris medley contains "The Last Time I Saw Paris," "The River Seine," "Autumn Leaves," "The Poor People of Paris," and "Can Can," which are all very entertaining, but it is when he has the audience sing on "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" that the listener gets a glimpse of the greatness of pianist/performer Liberace. Clocking in at 33 minutes, the album is short and sweet, but effective.

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