Various Artists

Wonderful Town [Prism]

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AllMusic Review by

Since it was only in 2001 that Universal Music's Decca Broadway imprint undertook an upgrading of the 1953 original Broadway cast recording of Wonderful Town, adding as bonus tracks six performances taken from a 1945 studio cast recording of On the Town (another show featuring songs by composer Leonard Bernstein with lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green), the major label cannot be pleased to find that British budget label Prism Leisure, only three years later, has issued its own version of the same material, even to the point of using the same bonus tracks. But in Europe, the copyright on recordings lasts only 50 years, and as of 2004 Universal's rights to the 51-year-old recordings of Wonderful Town expired. This unlicensed version has a few minor sonic glitches due to the secondary sources from which it was mastered (and some more than minor problems with the bonus tracks, which sometimes sound like they're coming in on a radio tuned to a distant station with a weak signal), and the annotations are spare, but the music is here, and the price is likely to be much cheaper than that of the Universal reissue. (Although nominally speaking the Prism album is only for sale in Europe, in practice it was easily obtainable upon release by mail order in the U.S.)