Various Artists

Original London Cast Recordings

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LaserLight's budget-priced five-CD collection Original London Cast Recordings consists of augmented (yet abridged) versions of the EPs made by members of the original London casts of Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun, abridged versions of the original London cast recordings of The Music Man and The Sound of Music, and the 1971 London revival cast recording of Show Boat. (Each of the discs is also available individually.) As such, it's a mixed bag of material, and even the theater music fans who might be attracted to it should be price-conscious. Released at a list price of $25.98, the set was often discounted, and it should be: The five discs amount to only three hours of music. This is material originally released on Rod McKuen's Stanyan Records in the early '70s, the most valuable being 1971's Show Boat, starring Cleo Laine, originally issued as a two-LP set. The Music Man, starring Van Johnson, and The Sound of Music are both enjoyable, though The Music Man is shorter than the original Stanyan LP and The Sound of Music has been released in a more complete form in the U.S. on Angel. Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun consist of medleys of the songs from the shows, which is not apparent from the album cover; the songs are really just choruses, most lasting not much more than a minute, and they are all mixed up, giving no sense of the show. Also, these recordings are not even complete; they were cut down to fit onto single sides of an LP by Stanyan, and the missing material has not been restored. Even with bonus tracks by people like Dinah Shore and Rosemary Clooney thrown in, the discs are quite short. There are some interesting performances of some good music here, but don't pay much.

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