This is a reissue of the 1955 album, Lyrics By Lerner (Heritage 0600), which DRG previously reissued on LP (MRS-903). It contains a 14-song session in which Lerner (five songs), Kaye Ballard (eight songs) and a quartet (lead on one track, backup on two others) sing songs (in jazzy arrangements by Billy Taylor) from four Broadway musicals for which Lerner wrote lyrics: The Day Before Spring, Brigadoon, Love Life and Paint Your Wagon. Only the third of these were successful, of course, and the songs "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Heather on the Hill" (both sung by Ballard) are the most familiar tunes here, though "Wanderin' Star" and "I Talk to the Trees" (both sung by Lerner), from Paint Your Wagon, also became known outside the theater. Lerner admits in the liner notes that he can't sing, but in fact, he stays in tune most of the time, and his interpretations of his own words are highly effective, while Ballard, in her late 20s when the recording was made, has a good theater voice (which is to say that she sings clearly, projects well and seems to have a character conception for each song). One almost wishes, however, that it had been possible to wait until Lerner wrote My Fair Lady and Camelot so that some of those songs could have been included. (For that, see DRG's An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner, recorded in 1971.) This CD reissue adds six demo recordings, five of them performed by composer Burton Lane, of songs he and Lerner wrote in 1951 for a proposed film musical of Huckleberry Finn that was never made. Show music fans will be pleased.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann