Liza Minnelli

Touch of Class

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The cover photo of Dutch reissue label Disky's Liza Minnelli album Touch of Class shows a mature Minnelli, which is deceptive, considering that all of the 16 tracks on the disc were recorded before the singer turned 21. As is often the case, Disky has licensed its tracks from EMI, parent company of Capitol Records, the label to which Minnelli signed at the age of 18 in 1964, and, indeed, the first 11 of those 16 tracks are drawn from her 12-track debut LP, Liza! Liza! (the only missing title is "I'm All I've Got.") It was an album of pop standards and a few new songs arranged and conducted by Peter Matz, who was performing the same duties for a young Barbra Streisand at the same time. Most notable is Minnelli's introduction of the John Kander and Fred Ebb ballad "Maybe This Time," which would become a signature song for her and be interpolated into the movie version of Cabaret in which she starred in 1972. The remainder of the album picks one track from Minnelli's second album, It Amazes Me (1965), a cover of Cole Porter's "Looking at You," and two from her third, There Is a Time (1966), the standards "I (Who Have Nothing)" and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise." Then, the collection concludes with two duets drawn from Minnelli's concert album with her mother, Judy Garland (whose name is not mentioned in the credits), Live at the London Palladium (1965). Despite her youth, Minnelli often turns in accomplished interpretations of the songs, but fans looking for a well-rounded compilation of her recordings should look elsewhere.

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