Barbara Cook

Legends of Broadway

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Utilizing the combined resources of the Columbia and RCA Victor Records catalogs, compilation producer David Foil has constructed a Barbara Cook compilation out of six albums originally released between 1956 and 1985: the original Broadway cast recording of Candide; a 1962 studio cast recording of Show Boat; a 1964 studio cast recording of The King and I; the 1966 Broadway revival cast recording of Show Boat; the 1975 Cook solo album Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall; and Follies in Concert, a 1985 concert cast recording of the musical Follies. Foil's use of five songs from Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall allows him to incorporate music from several Broadway shows that starred Cook, but had cast albums released by other labels: The Music Man, The Gay Life, and She Loves Me. Thus, he is able to give a good sense of the highlights of her career as a Broadway star, from her repeated high Cs as Cunegonde, singing "Glitter and Be Gay" in Candide to the two performances of Follies staged to be recorded, nearly 30 years later, at which she gave a heartbreaking interpretation of "Buddy's Eyes." In between are other songs many fans would count among her "greatest hits," among them "My White Knight" from The Music Man and -- as the burst of applause that greets it demonstrates -- "Ice Cream" from She Loves Me. The studio cast recordings and a song such as "Magic Moment" from The Gay Life, a flop, may be less familiar, but Cook's renditions are no less impressive. She particularly makes a powerful Magnolia in Show Boat, whether she is playing against the Gaylord Ravenal of John Raitt (in 1962) on "Make Believe" and "Why Do I Love You?" or Stephen Douglass (in 1966) on "You Are Love." Cook has had such an extensive second career as a concert singer since her Broadway days that this album, which only samples the start of that period, cannot be considered a comprehensive look at her work. But it does make the case for her on both the Broadway and concert stages.

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