Barbara Cook

The Broadway Years: Till There Was You

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Before she established herself as a concert performer and solo recording artist in the mid-1970s, Barbara Cook had an extensive career on the Broadway stage that included originating roles in eight musicals over a period of 20 years, plus revivals, road companies, and studio-cast recordings. The Broadway Years: Till There Was You surveys this period, drawing excerpts from Cook's cast albums originally released on Columbia, Capitol, and MGM Records, with songs originating on the original Broadway cast albums of Flahooley, Plain and Fancy, Candide, The Music Man, The Gay Life, and She Loves Me (the missing titles are Something More!, which was not recorded, and The Grass Harp) as well as studio cast albums of Show Boat and The King and I, and a few tracks from 1975's At Carnegie Hall, which helped establish the singer's post-Broadway concert career. Since she has not revisited such stage triumphs as "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide and "Till There Was You" from The Music Man in her albums of the '70s and beyond; this is the first collection to compile some of Cook's signature songs, and it does so in their classic performances. Anyone who knows her primarily from her mature years will be surprised to hear how young she sounds on the 1950s tracks, but her lovely voice is as powerful as usual, even if her personality is subsumed into the characters she is playing. Particularly welcome are the studio cast treatments of songs not usually associated with her, such as "Getting to Know You" and "You Are Love." It's hard to imagine her on-stage in The King and I (even though she did appear in a revival in New York in 1960 and got good notices), but on disc she is characteristically winning. James Gavin's extensive liner notes trace her stage career well. The only possible criticism is that one might have hoped for more from The Music Man -- "Goodnight My Someone," say, and/or "My White Knight." But Sony Music Special Products, which assembled the set for KOCH, licensed half of it from rivals EMI and PolyGram as it is, so this is a minor complaint.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Flahooley, musical
1 2:56
2 3:35
Plain and Fancy, musical play
3 2:57
Candide, operetta in 2 acts (original version, withdrawn)
4 5:45
The Music Man, musical
5 2:47
The King and I, musical
6 3:16
7 3:14
The Gay Life, musical
8 4:08
She Loves Me, musical
9 4:22
10 3:01
11 3:12
Show Boat, musical in 2 acts
feat: John Raitt
feat: John Raitt
Funny Girl, musical
14 3:29
Mack & Mabel, musical play
15 4:34
By Jupiter, musical
16 3:21
blue highlight denotes track pick