Liza Minnelli

Essential

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Liza Minnelli recorded three LPs and a handful of singles for Capitol Records in the U.S. between 1963 and 1966, when she was between the ages of 17 and 20. British parent label EMI Records' 22-track compilation Essential Liza Minnelli ignores the singles and compresses the albums into 66 minutes, starting with the complete contents of 12 songs from the first one, Liza! Liza! (1964), albeit in a different sequence, followed by five tracks from the second, It Amazes Me (1965), and five from the third, There Is a Time (1966). That seems like an odd balance, since Minnelli grew more assured as she went along in her teens and, if anything, There Is a Time is the most accomplished of the three LPs. It is also, however, different in style from the first two. Both Liza! Liza! and It Amazes Me were arranged and conducted by Peter Matz, who chose show music standards and worthy show music obscurities and gave them inventive new arrangements (just as he was doing at the same time for Barbra Streisand). There Is a Time, however, employing arranger/conductor Ray Ellis (another Streisand collaborator), was a concept album largely consisting of French songs written by the likes of Jacques Brel and Charles Aznavour. It makes sense to segregate the selections from that album and to put them at the end. But more songs from the disc would have strengthened the collection, as would a few of Minnelli's singles-only tracks, such as the four songs she recorded for Capitol from her Tony-winning performance in Flora, the Red Menace. Essential Liza Minnelli features some excellent early recordings by Minnelli, notably her first version of "Maybe This Time," a song that would become a signature number for her after she repeated it in the movie version of Cabaret in 1972. But as a single-CD compilation of her Capitol Records recordings, it could have been better selected and sequenced. [Essential Liza Minnelli was released originally in 1997 under the title Best of Liza Minnelli: The Capitol Years and reissued in 2001 under the title The Capitol Years. Unlike its predecessors, Essential Liza Minnelli is given a deceptive title that implies it is more comprehensive than it is, and a cover photograph of a much older Liza Minnelli that compounds that deception.]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:00 Spotify
2 2:25 Spotify
3 4:15 Spotify
4 3:30 Spotify
5 2:40 Spotify
6 2:50 Spotify
7 3:09 Spotify
8 3:00 Spotify
9 3:35 Spotify
10 3:26 Spotify
11 1:55 Spotify
12 3:13 Spotify
13 4:13 Spotify
14 3:06 Spotify
15 2:40 Spotify
16 2:15 Spotify
17 3:15 Spotify
18 3:09 Spotify
19 2:07 Spotify
20 2:00 Spotify
21 2:40 Spotify
22 2:15 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick