Various Artists

Paint Your Wagon [Prism]: Original Broadway Cast

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The 50-year European copyright limit on recordings allowed the original Broadway cast recording of Paint Your Wagon, originally released by RCA Victor in 1951, into the public domain early in the 21st century, and British bottom-feeder reissue label Prism Leisure has responded by pressing up its own version. The sound quality is good, suggesting that someone simply went to a record store and bought the latest RCA CD for transfer, though, of course, the original was recorded in mono under what are now thought of as primitive conditions. Still, cast members James Barton, Olga San Juan, Tony Bavaar, and Rufus Smith come through loud and clear in their performances of the memorable Western-tinged score for the Gold Rush story, including the songs "They Call the Wind Maria," "I Talk to the Trees," and "Wand'rin' Star." And there is a bonus track of "They Call the Wind Maria" by Vaughn Monroe, whose RCA recording, contemporary to the show, is also in the public domain in Europe. The RCA version of the cast album is to be preferred for its superior sound and packaging over what is essentially a legal bootleg, but for casual listeners on a budget, this one will serve. (Although technically issued only in Europe, the album was readily available at a modest price in the U.S. upon release.)

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