GRT's four-LP box set Magic Moments From the Musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein is a curious collection of 50 tracks. The package contains no information beyond song titles listed on the individual discs to indicate the source of the recordings; even the album cover is just an artist's rendering of scenes apparently based on photographs from various films and original stage productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musicals. But a listen to the discs suggests that GRT may be coy about the contents for legal reasons. The recordings seem to have been drawn from many copyrighted albums, including the original Broadway cast and original soundtrack LPs for the musicals, apparently unlicensed and without permission. Isn't that Ezio Pinza of the original Broadway cast of South Pacific singing "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine"? And isn't that Mary Martin singing "A Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific, and "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music, shows in which she starred on Broadway? Isn't that Julie Andrews of the original soundtrack to The Sound of Music singing the title song and "Do-Re-Mi"? Meanwhile, various pop singers seem to be present as well. That sounds like Burl Ives doing "A Fellow Needs a Girl," Lena Horne performing a live version of "A Cockeyed Optimist," and Tony Bennett singing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain." The tracks are mixed up in random order, and the sound quality varies considerably from track to track. But the real oddity is how a label can have the audacity to just copy recordings from other albums. Magic Moments From the Musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein may not be a bootleg in the sense of having a white cover, but it doesn't appear to be strictly legal.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann