This is an abridged version of Jay Records' two-CD "complete recording" of Guys and Dolls recorded in London in June 1995 by the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of John Owen Edwards with a studio cast largely made up of American stage stars, all of whom are impressive. Gregg Edelman captures Sky Masterson's swagger, Kim Criswell seems to be channeling original Adelaide, Vivian Blaine, and Emily Loesser, the daughter of the show's songwriter, Frank Loesser, naturally knows her way around the Sarah Brown songs. Less impressive are the British performers Tim Flavin, Don Stephenson, and David Green, whose inconsistent accents mar "Fugue for Tinhorns" and "The Oldest Established" (here oddly renamed "Oldest Established Craps [sic] Game in New York"). A little less than an hour has been cut out, and the choices of what to include are ponderous. The full-length version includes as bonus tracks three songs that were written for the movie adaptation, and the unnamed editor here seems to have decided to try to assemble a disc corresponding to the soundtrack, since those songs have been retained and sequenced on the album in the same order they appear in the film. Like the film, the disc makes the enormous mistake of eliminating some of the show's best songs and biggest hits, particularly "A Bushel and a Peck," but also "My Time of Day/I've Never Been in Love Before." Some of the other major songs have been retained -- "Adelaide's Lament," "If I Were a Bell," "Luck Be a Lady," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" -- so the disc is not a total loss. But it does not deserve the cover notation "selected highlights." "Idiosyncratic selection" would be closer to the mark.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann