Liza Minnelli

The Best of Liza Minnelli [Columbia]

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Although she's one of the great performance dynamos of American pop music, Liza Minnelli's recording career has always functioned in a supporting role to her appearances in dramatic roles, concerts, and specials. (The same was true for her mother, Judy Garland, and Sammy Davis, Jr.) Liza fans know that hearing her sing "Some People" (from Gypsy) is nothing compared to the total experience -- sound and vision -- when she performs it live. For those who can't afford golden-circle tickets to her next appearance, the Columbia collection The Best of Liza Minnelli functions as the next best thing. Previous collections unsuccessfully dealt with the fact that Minnelli's material is spread across several labels; the Sony-related compilations don't include anything from Cabaret or New York, New York, and any MCA disc avoids songs from her triumphant live shows of the '70s. Although a tad short, this one features a few feats of creative licensing to make it the best collection yet, the first one to showcase the familiar versions of "Cabaret," "Maybe This Time," and "Theme from New York, New York" next to "Say Liza (Liza With a 'Z')" (from her 1972 television special), "There Is a Time" (from 1974's Liza Live at the Winter Garden), and her 1989 hit version of "Losing My Mind." Unless Columbia adds 20 minutes to the program for a subsequent issue, this is as good as it's going to get.

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