Herschel Bernardi

Show Stopper

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Herschel Bernardi had a long history as a Broadway performer by the time he came to make his second solo album in 1970. He had starred in Bajour in 1964, then taken over the lead in Fiddler on the Roof in 1965, leading to his first solo album, 1966's Herschel Bernardi Sings Fiddler on the Roof, and that success led to his title performance in 1968's Zorba. Naturally, he devoted Show Stopper to show music. And, given his expansive personality, it was not surprising that, as with his first album, he introduced each song with personal remarks as if he were putting on a show on-stage. Some of the songs came from his musical appearances, such as "Life Is" from Zorba, a song that his character never got to sing in the show, and "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. The songs allowed him to take on characters, sometimes more than one. Overdubbing himself, he played all three parts in Guys and Dolls' opening number, "Fugue for Tinhorns." His voice was limited but expressive, a baritone with a bit of grit in it. And his patter was sufficiently good-natured and self-deprecatory to justify repeated listenings. Anyone charmed by his stage performances would find him equally winning on disc.

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