Original Broadway Cast

Brigadoon [Original Broadway Cast] [Prism]

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In Europe, copyrights on recordings last only 50 years, which means that the great era of the Original Broadway Cast album started to fall into the public domain in the mid-1990s, and any record label could create its own versions of discs originally released in the U.S. in the '40s by Decca, RCA Victor, and Columbia, by taking an old copy of one of those records and transferring it onto a CD. Prism Leisure, a British budget reissue label, instituted its Broadway Musicals Series for just such a purpose. All that is surprising about its version of RCA's Brigadoon is that it took so long to get around to it; after all, the album has been ready for recycling for five years. Typically, Prism combines the original 11 tracks that RCA housed in a 78 RPM album in 1947 with some bonus tracks, in this case, contemporary studio recordings of the show's most famous song, "Almost Like Being in Love," by pop singers Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford, along with an aircheck of Al Jolson singing "Come to Me, Bend to Me." The sound of the transfers is somewhat muffled, and there is surface noise to be heard here and there, most prominently on "The Heather on the Hill." Tony Watts' liner notes suggest that he may never have seen any production of the show, much less the original one. Of course, this pale imitation is no competition with the RCA disc, still in print on CD. (Nominally, the Prism version is not for sale in the U.S.; practically speaking, it is easily obtainable.) But it is cheaper and longer.