Ben Bagley ended the fourth volume of his Rodgers and Hart Revisited albums with a medley of the songwriters' better-known songs, which seemed to acknowledge that the task of combing through their lesser-known songs was essentially complete. In more ways than one, this fifth volume seems like a coda. Bagley's research has taken him from rarities to outright lost songs, several of which were written for movies but were never used, published or (probably) performed before. There are no real gems among them, though the melodies are pleasing and the lyrics occasionally display Hart's flair for wordplay. Adding to the elegiac tone is the musical approach. If Bagley's earlier albums often felt like revues, employing strings and horns, this one feels very much like a cabaret set, featuring piano, bass, and drums as accompaniment to such nightclub singers as Ann Hampton Callaway and Mary Cleere Haran, who take a deliberate approach to their interpretations. It's a difference in tone: if earlier recordings matched the frothy feel of the original shows from which the songs came, this one, in the '90s manner, makes the songs seem much more serious than they did when first presented. If the songs are classic, the approach works, but if, as here, they are less than great, it seems pretentious.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann