Various Artists – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (OST) (1975)

FrrontCover1The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the original soundtrack album to the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, an adaptation of the musical The Rocky Horror Show that had opened in 1973. The soundtrack was released as an album in 1975 by Ode Records, produced by Richard Hartley.
This low-budget freak show/cult classic/cultural institution concerns the misadventures of Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) inside a strange mansion that they come across on a rainy night. After the wholesome pair profess their love through an opening song, their car breaks down in the woods, and they seek refuge in a towering castle nearby. Greeting them at the door is a ghoulish butler named Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), who introduces them to a bacchanalian collection of partygoers dressed in outfits from some sort of interplanetary thrift shop. The host of this gathering is a transvestite clad in lingerie, Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), a mad scientist who claims to be from another planet. With assistants Columbia (Nell Campbell) and Magenta (Patricia Quinn) looking on, Frank unveils his latest creation — a figure wrapped in gauze and submerged in a tank full of liquid.

With the addition of colored dyes and some assistance from the weather, Frank brings to life a blonde young beefcake wearing nothing but skimpy shorts, who launches into song in his first minute of life. Just when Brad and Janet think things couldn’t get any stranger, a biker (Meat Loaf) bursts onto the scene to reclaim Columbia, his ex-girlfriend. When Frank kills the biker, it’s clear that Brad and Janet will be guests for the night, and that they may be next on Frank’s list — whether for murder or carnal delights is uncertain. And just what is that mystery meat they’re eating for dinner, anyway? In addition to playing Riff Raff, O’Brien wrote the catchy songs, with John Barry and Richard Hartley composing the score. (vy Derek Armstrong)

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The album peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard 200 in 1978. It reached No. 12 on the Australian albums chart and No. 11 on the New Zealand albums chart. William Ruhlmann of Allmusic gave the album a star rating of five stars out of five and described it as the “definitive version of the [Rocky Horror] score”.

Following its initial release, the album was not successful, and was deleted everywhere but in Canada. Marty Scott, co-founder of Jem Records, obtained a licensing agreement from Ode Records owner Lou Adler, which enabled the album to be imported to the United States. Scott also obtained a production and distribution license from Adler, which resulted in renewed interest in the album.

The soundtrack omits two of the songs sung in the film: Rocky’s “The Sword of Damocles”, and the Frank-N-Furter-led “Planet, Schmanet, Janet” (often erroneously referred to as “Wise Up, Janet Weiss”). Also omitted is “Once in a While,” which was shot for the film but later unincluded.
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“The Sword of Damocles” and “Planet, Schmanet, Janet” are included on the album “25 Years of Absolute Pleasure” however “Planet, Schmanet, Janet” is missing the last verse (don’t get hot and flustered) and they are in mono and ported directly from the film itself and so include all the sound effects and dialogue that would normally be omitted from a soundtrack album.
In 2011 these three songs were released, as MP3 format only, in their stereo, studio mixes on the download only release “The Rocky Horror Picture Show Complete Soundtrack: Absolute Treasures 2011 Special Edition”. The album was later issued on double red vinyl for the film’s 40th anniversary. However, incidental music and cues are not included and “The Sword of Damocles” features an unknown lead vocalist in place of Trevor White. The latter is included with Trevor White’s vocals as a bonus track for the iTunes edition; this is the same version found on the “25 Years of Absolute Pleasure” release, albeit in stereo and contains the dialogue and sound effects from the film. (by wikipedia)
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For the 1975 film version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, American producer Lou Adler wisely mixed the best of the London and Los Angeles stage versions, shooting the movie in England with Tim Curry and several of the other original cast members, plus Meatloaf (years before Bat Out of Hell), and Americans Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon as the innocent couple Brad and Janet. Adler also brought back original London stage musicians in place of the slick studio musicians who had marred the L.A. cast album. The film version resequenced the songs and reassigned some of the vocals, with Brad’s song “Once in a While” dropped. But it all worked out fine. The strings that were added to ballads like “Science Fiction/Double Feature” only improved them; the rockers rocked out; Bostwick and Sarandon proved to be the best Brad and Janet ever; the original cast members, especially Curry, reveled in the opportunity to immortalize their portrayals; and Rocky Horror’s potential as a witty parody of cheap movies, rock & roll, and sexual mores was fully realized.

The film soundtrack album became the definitive version of the score, despite lacking the songs “Planet Shmanet Janet” and “The Sword of Damocles.” The Rocky Horror Picture Show was not successful in its initial theatrical run, but then a strange thing happened. In 1976, the Waverly Theater in New York’s Greenwich Village began showing the film at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Soon, a cult of repeat viewers began turning up every week; they began to dress like the characters, call out their own comments at strategic moments, sing along, and add their own theatrical effects. The phenomenon spread across the U.S., with fans rivaling Trekkies and Deadheads for loyalty and eccentricity, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show took on a life Richard O’Brien never could have anticipated. (William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Count Ian Blair (guitar)
John Bundrick (keyboards)
Mick Grabham (guitar)
Phil Kenzie (saxophone)
B.J. Wilson (drums)
Dave Wintour (bass)
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background vocals:
Abigale Haness – Susan Morse – Bruce Scott
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Trackist:

Richard O’Brien:
01. Science Fiction/Double Feature 4.30

Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon:
02. Dammit Janet 2.51

Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Richard O’Brien:
03. Over At The Frankenstein Place 2.37

Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Little Nell:
04. Time Warp 3.15

Tim Curry:
05. Sweet Transvestite 3.21
06. I Can Make You A Man 2.07

Meat Loaf:
07. Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul  3.00

Tim Curry:
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8. I Can Make You A Man (Reprise) 1.44

Susan Sarandon, Little Nell, Patricia Quinn:
09. Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me 2.27

Jonathan Adams, Little Nell, Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry:
10. Eddie 2.44

Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Little Nell, Peter Hinwood, Tim Curry, Trevor White, Jonathan Adams   :
11.1. Rose Tint My World :
11.2. Floor Show
11.3. Fanfare/Don’t Dream It
11.4. Wild and Untamed Thing 8.13

Tim Curry:
12. I’m Going Home 2.48

Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Jonathan Adams:
13. Super Heroes 2.45

Richard O’Brien:
14. Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise) 1.26
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15. Time Warp (1989 remix – extended version) 5.36
16. Time Warp (music – 1 = background track = U mix) 4.09

All Songs written by Richard O’Brien.
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Ivan Rebroff – Un Violon Sur Le Toit (1969)

FrontCover1Instantly recognisable in trademark Russian chic – Cossack hat and brightly coloured peasant garb or fur greatcoat – Ivan Rebroff, who has died aged 76, was a European singing sensation. During the 1960s and 70s, he projected a television-friendly image and a sentimental picture of Mother Russia at odds with cold war rhetoric. More importantly, his voice gained him admirers worldwide. His repertoire comprised folk songs and carols, opera and operetta, hymns and songs from musicals, delivered variously in Russian, German, French, English and Afrikaans.

Rebroff employed his extraordinary vocal range – described in the Guinness Books of Records as extending “easily over four octaves from a low F to a high F, one and a quarter octaves above C” – on albums with titles such as Kosaken Müssen Reiten (Cossacks Must Ride, 1970). During his lifetime, his recordings were extensively repackaged and recompiled. The sheer scale of his success has not been properly tallied, but he reportedly chalked up 49 gold discs across five continents.

Rebroff, the epitome of a Russian singer for many, was, in fact, born Hans-Rolf Rippert in Berlin’s Spandau district. He always played his cards close to his chest about his origins. His engineer father apparently came from Hessen, while his mother, he said, was Russian. He grew up in Belzig in Brandenburg and Halle in Saxony-Anhalt. He progressed from singing in choirs to studying singing, piano and violin in Hamburg between 1951 and 1959 on a Fulbright scholarship. His professor of singing and voice, Adolf Detel, guided him towards eastern European song.

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There are two, not necessarily contradictory accounts of why he adopted the stage name “Ivan Rebroff”. In Russian that surname means “rib” and consequently carried an echo of Rippert since Rippe means “rib” in German. Rebroff was also supposedly the name of a famous singer with Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre. (Reinforcing this russification, “Ivan” is also German slang for Russian, much in the vein of “Tommy”.)

After graduating, Rebroff showed his versatility, donning many musical hats including major operatic roles, singing in Cossack choirs and performing the work of Hugo Wolf. In 1968 he made his French breakthrough at the Théâtre Marigny in the leading role of Tevye in Un Violon sur le Toit (the French version of Fiddler on the Roof) and bringing If I Were a Rich Man in its original version to the French public’s notice. France’s love affair with Rebroff had begun and Rebroff joined Zero Mostel, Chaim Topol, Shmuel Rodensky, Alfie Bass and Lex Goudsmit in the international pantheon of Tevye interpreters.

Rebroff lived in many places but finally settled on the Greek island of Skopelos. Until almost the end of his life, he maintained a rigorous touring schedule, and his last concert was in Vienna in December.

Rebroff never married. After his death, Horst Rippert emerged to lay claim to part of his estate. The German press described him as his “secret brother”. (by The Guardian)

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And here is his french version of “Fiddler On The Roof”:

Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.

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The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s sixteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.

Fiddler on the Roof is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman), a series of stories by Sholem Aleichem that he wrote in Yiddish between 1894 and 1914, and is also influenced by Life Is with People, by Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog. Aleichem wrote a dramatic adaptation of the stories that he left unfinished at his death, but which was produced in Yiddish in 1919 by the Yiddish Art Theater and made into a film in the 1930s. In the late 1950s, a musical based on the stories, called Tevye and his Daughters, was produced Off-Broadway by Arnold Perl. Rodgers and Hammerstein and then Mike Todd briefly considered bringing the musical to Broadway but dropped the idea.

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The Fiddler by Marc Chagall, from which the musical takes its name

Investors and some in the media worried that the show might be considered “too Jewish” to attract mainstream audiences. Other critics considered that it was too culturally sanitized, “middlebrow” and superficial; Philip Roth, writing in The New Yorker, called it shtetl kitsch. For example, it portrays the characters of the local Russian officer and Fyedka as sympathetic, instead of brutal and cruel, as Sholom Aleichem had described them. Aleichem’s stories ended with Tevye alone, his wife dead and his daughters scattered; in Fiddler, the family ends up together, emigrating with hope to America. The show found the right balance for its time, even if not entirely authentic, to became “one of the first popular post-Holocaust depictions of the vanished world of Eastern European Jewry.” Harold Prince replaced the original producer Fred Coe and brought in director/choreographer Jerome Robbins. The writers and Robbins considered naming the musical Tevye, before landing on a title suggested by various paintings by Marc Chagall that also inspired the original set design. Contrary to popular belief, the “title of the musical does not refer to any specific painting”. During rehearsals, one of the stars, Zero Mostel, feuded with Robbins, for whom he had contempt because Robbins had testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was a closeted Jew, while Mostel was publicly proud of his heritage. Other cast members also had run-ins with Robbins, who reportedly “abused the cast, drove the designers crazy [and] strained the good nature of Hal Prince”

Act I:
Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters, explains the customs of the Jews in the Russian shtetl of Anatevka in 1905, where their lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof (“Tradition”). At Tevye’s home, everyone is busy preparing for the Sabbath meal. His sharp-tongued wife, Golde, orders their daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel, TheFiddler2Chava, Shprintze and Bielke, about their tasks. Yente, the village matchmaker, arrives to tell Golde that Lazar Wolf, the wealthy butcher, a widower older than Tevye, wants to wed Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. The next two daughters, Hodel and Chava, are excited about Yente’s visit, but Tzeitel is unenthusiastic (“Matchmaker, Matchmaker”). A girl from a poor family must take whatever husband Yente brings, but Tzeitel wants to marry her childhood friend, Motel the tailor.

Tevye is delivering milk, pulling the cart himself, as his horse is lame. He asks God, whom would it hurt “If I Were a Rich Man?” Avram, the bookseller, has news from the outside world about pogroms and expulsions. A stranger, Perchik, hears their conversation and scolds them for doing nothing more than talk. The men dismiss Perchik as a radical, but Tevye invites him home for the Sabbath meal and offers him food and a room in exchange for tutoring his two youngest daughters. Golde tells Tevye to meet Lazar after the Sabbath but does not tell him why, knowing that Tevye does not like Lazar. Tzeitel is afraid that Yente will find her a husband before Motel asks Tevye for her hand. But Motel resists: he is afraid of Tevye’s temper, and tradition says that a matchmaker arranges marriages. Motel is also very poor and is saving up to buy a sewing machine before he approaches Tevye, to show that he can support a wife. The family gathers for the “Sabbath Prayer.”

After the Sabbath, Tevye meets Lazar at Mordcha’s inn, assuming mistakenly that Lazar wants to buy his cow. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, Tevye agrees to let Lazar marry Tzeitel – with a rich butcher, his daughter will never want for anything. All join in the celebration of Lazar’s good fortune; even the Russian youths at the inn join in the celebration and show off their dancing skills (“To Life”). Outside the inn, Tevye happens upon the Russian Constable, who has jurisdiction over the Jews in the town. The Constable warns him that there is going to be a “little unofficial demonstration” in the coming weeks (a euphemism for a minor pogrom). The Constable has sympathy for the Jewish community but is powerless to prevent the violence.

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The next morning, after Perchik’s lessons with her young sisters, Tevye’s second daughter Hodel mocks Perchik’s Marxist interpretation of a Bible story. He, in turn, criticizes her for hanging on to the old traditions of Judaism, noting that the world is changing. To illustrate this, he dances with her, defying the prohibition against opposite sexes dancing together. The two begin to fall in love. Later, a hungover Tevye announces that he has agreed that Tzeitel will marry Lazar Wolf. Golde is overjoyed, but Tzeitel is devastated and begs Tevye not to force her. Motel arrives and tells Tevye that he is the perfect match for Tzeitel and that he and Tzeitel gave each other a pledge to marry. He promises that Tzeitel will not starve as his wife. Tevye is stunned and outraged at this breach of tradition, but impressed at the timid tailor’s display of backbone. After some soul-searching (“Tevye’s Monologue”), Tevye agrees to let them marry, but he worries about how to break the news to Golde. An overjoyed Motel celebrates with Tzeitel (“Miracle of Miracles”).

In bed with Golde, Tevye pretends to be waking from a nightmare. Golde offers to interpret his dream, and Tevye “describes” it (“Tevye’s Dream”). Golde’s grandmother Tzeitel returns from the grave to bless the marriage of her namesake, but to Motel, not to Lazar Wolf. Lazar’s formidable late wife, Fruma-Sarah, rises from her grave to warn, in graphic terms, of severe retribution if Tzeitel marries Lazar. The superstitious Golde is terrified, and she quickly counsels that Tzeitel must marry Motel. While returning from town, Tevye’s third daughter, the bookish Chava, is teased and intimidated by some Russian youths, but one of them, Fyedka, protects her, dismissing the others. He offers Chava the loan of a book, and a secret relationship begins.

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The wedding day of Tzeitel and Motel arrives, and all the Jews join the ceremony (“Sunrise, Sunset”) and the celebration (“The Wedding Dance”). Lazar gives a fine gift, but an argument arises with Tevye over the broken agreement. Perchik ends the tiff by breaking another tradition: he crosses the barrier between the men and women to dance with Tevye’s daughter Hodel. The celebration ends abruptly when a group of Russians rides into the village to perform the “demonstration”. They disrupt the party, damaging the wedding gifts and wounding Perchik, who attempts to fight back, and wreak more destruction in the village. Tevye instructs his family to clean up the mess.
Act II:
Months later, Perchik tells Hodel he must return to Kiev to work for the revolution. He proposes marriage, admitting that he loves her, and says that he will send for her. She agrees (“Now I Have Everything”). They tell Tevye that they are engaged, and he is appalled that they are flouting tradition by making their own match, especially as Perchik is leaving. When he forbids the marriage, Perchik and Hodel inform him that they do not seek his permission, only his blessing. After more soul searching, Tevye relents – the world is changing, and he must change with it (“Tevye’s Rebuttal”). He informs the young couple that he gives them his blessing and his permission.

Tevye explains these events to an astonished Golde. “Love,” he says, “it’s the new style.” Tevye asks Golde, despite their own arranged marriage, “Do You Love Me?” After dismissing Tevye’s question as foolish, she eventually admits that, after 25 years of living and struggling together and raising five daughters, she does. Meanwhile, Yente tells Tzeitel that she saw Chava with Fyedka. News spreads quickly in Anatevka that Perchik has been arrested and exiled to Siberia (“The Rumor/I Just Heard”), and Hodel is determined to join him there. At the railway station, she explains to her father that her home is with her beloved, wherever he may be, although she will always love her family (“Far From the Home I Love”).

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Time passes. Motel has purchased a used sewing machine, and he and Tzeitel have had a baby. Chava finally gathers the courage to ask Tevye to allow her marriage to Fyedka. Again Tevye reaches deep into his soul, but marriage outside the Jewish faith is a line he will not cross. He forbids Chava to speak to Fyedka again. When Golde brings news that Chava has eloped with Fyedka, Tevye wonders where he went wrong (“Chavaleh Sequence”). Chava returns and tries to reason with him, but he refuses to speak to her and tells the rest of the family to consider her dead. Meanwhile, rumors are spreading of the Russians expelling Jews from their villages. While the villagers are gathered, the Constable arrives to tell everyone that they have three days to pack up and leave the town. In shock, they reminisce about “Anatevka” and how hard it will be to leave what has been their home for so long.

As the Jews leave Anatevka, Chava and Fyedka stop to tell her family that they are also leaving for Kraków, unwilling to remain among the people who could do such things to others. Tevye still will not talk to her, but when Tzeitel says goodbye to Chava, Tevye prompts her to add “God be with you.” Motel and Tzeitel go to Poland as well but will join the rest of the family when they have saved up enough money. As Tevye, Golde and their two youngest daughters leave the village for America, the fiddler begins to play. Tevye beckons with a nod, and the fiddler follows them out of the village. (by wikipedia)

FiddlerOnTheRoof

Personnel:
Philippe Ariotti (vocals)
Sibyl Bartrop (vocals)
Florence Blot (vocals)
Janet Clair (vocals)
Geneviève Darnault (vocals)
Monique Galbert (vocals)
Maria Murano (vocals)
Carlos Otéro (vocals)
Marco Perrin (vocals)
Ivan Rebroff (vocals)
Eliane Thibault (vocals)
Michel Vernac (vocals)
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Marco Perrin et les Hommes (vocals)
Les Chœurs + Orcvhestre under the direction of Wal-Berg (Voldemar Rosenberg)

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Tracklist:
01. Traditions 7.55
o2. Un Homme À Marier 3.45
03. Ah, Si J’Étais Riche 4.55
04. Prière Du Sabbat 2.55
05. À Toi, À Moi, L’Chaim 3.35
06. Prodigieux, Miraculeux 2.11
07. Le Rêve 6.50
08. Un Jour S’En Vient 3.53
09. Si Tu M’Aimes 3.40
10. Loin De Notre Maison 2.30
11. Anatevka 3.00

Music: Jerry Bock
Original lyrics: Sheldon Harnick
French lyrics: Maurice Vidalin

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Oscar Brown Jr. – Jean Pace- Sivuca – Joy (1970)

FrontCover1Joy – “A musical come-together,” is a musical from 1970. It had a respectable 208 performances in New York, having already had a run in San Francisco. And this is the original cast recording.

Oscar Brown’s score for a hip play that he wrote (one of his many plays!) – performed by him, Sivuca, and Jean Pace. Despite the “show” quality of the material, this actually stands simply as a great Oscar Brown Jr. LP, and the production is nice and intimate, and sounds just like an ordinary studio album. Sivuca’s great, and his breathy voice and playing really open up Oscar Brown with some great Brazilian touches. And as usual, the writing’s great, especially on tracks like “Brown Baby”, “Mother Africa’s Day”, “Funky World”, and the great version of “Afro Blue”, featuring Oscar’s classic lyrics. Also features a wonderful version of Johnny Alf’s “Sky & Sea” – done by Sivuca with an incredible lilting groove! (by dustygroove)

It reminds me a lot of the famous Stax album “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth” by 24 Carot Black. Funky, soulful, all around very well done soundtrack.

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Personnel:

James Benjamin (bass)
Oscar Brown Jr.(vocals)
Everaldo Ferreira (drums)
Jean Pace (vocals)
Sivuca (vocals)
Norman Shobey (vocals, congas)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Time (Brown Jr.) 2.56
02. What Is A Friend (Brown Jr./Henrique/Sivuca/Shobey) 2.48
03. Funny Feelin’ (Brown Jr./Henrique/Pace) 3.50
04. Under The Sun (Brown Jr./Pace) 2.29
05. Wimmen’s Ways ((Brown Jr) 10.55
06. Brown Baby (Brown Jr./Pace) 4.04
07. Mother Africa’s Day (Brown Jr./Sivuca) 3:18
08. A New Generation (Brown Jr./Pace) 2.58
09. Sky And Sea (Alt) 4.55
10. If I Only Had (Pace) 3.20
11. Nothing But A Fool (Reis/Barbosa) 3.05
12. Much As I Love You (Brown Jr./Sivuca/Shobey) 3.31
13. Afro Blue (Pace) 3.07
14. Funky World (Brown Jr) 8.42

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Cole Porter – Kiss Me, Kate (Original Broadway Recording) (1949)

CDFrontCover1Kiss Me, Kate is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show’s director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul with some gangsters. The original production starred Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang and won the Tony-Award.

Pic01Kiss Me, Kate was Porter’s response to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and other integrated musicals; it was the first show he wrote in which the music and lyrics were firmly connected to the script, and it proved to be his biggest hit and the only one of his shows to run for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. In 1949, it won the first Tony Award presented for Best Musical.

After a 3½-week pre-Broadway tryout at the Shubert Theatre in Philadelphia starting December 2, 1948, the original Broadway production opened on December 30, 1948, at the New Century Theatre, where it ran for nineteen months before transferring to the Shubert, for a total run of 1,077 performances. Directed by John C. Wilson with choreography by Hanya Holm, the original cast included Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk, Harold Lang, Charles Wood and Harry Clark.

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 Original frontcover from 1949

The idea for Kiss Me, Kate was planted in the mind of producer Saint Subber in 1935. While working as a stagehand for the Theatre Guild’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, Subber noticed that the stars of the show, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, had a backstage relationship that was almost as tempestuous as the one they had onstage while portraying Shakespeare’s famous quarelling couple.

Although veteran comedy writers Samuel and Bella Spewack had been separated for some time, they reunited to write the libretto for Kiss Me, Kate, and after the production, they chose to stay together permanently. Their libretto creates a play-within-a-play that follows the lives of egotistical actor-producer Fred Graham and his temperamental co-star and ex-wife, Lili Vanessi in a production of, you guessed it, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Cole Porter’s brilliant score borrows freely from Shakespeare’s dialogue for lyrics in the musical numbers that take place “onstage” but makes use of more modern syntax in the “backstage” numbers.

Kiss Me, Kate opened at the New Century Theatre on December 30, 1948, with Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison in the lead roles. The production went on to win 5 Tony Awards including “Best Musical,” “Best Script” and “Best Score” before closing on July 28, 1951 after 1,070 performances. The show was then remounted at the London Coliseum on March 8, 1951 and ran for another 400 performances

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Personnel:
Alfred Drake (Fred Graham, Petruchio); Patricia Morrison (Lilli Vanessi, Katharine); Lisa Kirk (Lois Lane, Bianca); Harold Lang (Bill Calhoun, Lucentio); Thomas Holer (Harry Trevor, Baptista); Don Mayo (Ralph); Annabelle Hill (Hattie); Lorenzo Fuller (Paul); Harry Clark (First Man); Jack Diamond (Second Man); Bill Lilling (Stage Doorman); Denis Green (Harrison Howell); Edwin Clay (Gremio); Charles Wood (Hortensio); John Castello (Haberdasher); Marc Breaux (Tailor)
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Orchestra conducted by Pembroke Davenport

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Original playbill from 1949

 Tracklist:

The original Broadway version from 1949:
01. Overture 2.42
02. Another Op’nin’ Another Show 1.45
03. Why Can’t You Behave? 3.00
04. Wunderbar 3.39
05. So In Love 3.38
06. We Open In Venice 2.02
07. Tom, Dick Or Harry 2.08
08. I’ve Come To Wive It Wealthily In Padua 2.14
09. I Hate Men 2.15
10. Were Thine That Special Face 4.14
11. Too Darn Hot 3.37
12. Where Is the Life That Late I Led? 4.26
13. Always True To You (In My Fashion) 4.01
14. Bianca 2.10
15. So In Love 2.15
16. Brush Up Your Shakespeare 1.43
17. I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple 1.52
18. Finale 0.48

The Original London version from 1951:
19. Why Can’t You Behave? 2.52
20. Wunderbar 3.01
21. So In Love 2.28
22. I Hate Men 3.18
23. Were Thine That Special Face 3.41
24. Always True To You (In My Fashion) 2.59
25. Where Is The Life That Late I Led? 4.23
26. Brush Up Your Shakespeare 4.10

Words and music written by Cole Porter

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Cole Porter during the recording sessions, 1949

Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe – Paint Your Wagon (1951)

FrontCover1Paint Your Wagon is a Broadway musical comedy, with book and lyrics by Alan J. Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story centers around a miner and his daughter and follows the lives and loves of the people in a mining camp in Gold Rush-era California. Popular songs from the show included “Wand’rin’ Star”, “I Talk to the Trees” and “They Call the Wind Maria”. (While the name in this title is pronounced as in the currently popular spelling “Mariah,” the original spelling is the classical spelling of “Maria.”)

The musical ran on Broadway in 1951 and in the West End in 1953. In 1969 the film version also titled Paint Your Wagon was released. It had a highly revised plot and some new songs composed by Lerner and André Previn.

Act I
In the California Wilderness in May 1853, a crusty old miner, Ben Rumson, is conducting a makeshift funeral for a friend. Meanwhile his 16-year-old daughter Jennifer discovers gold dust. Ben claims the land, and prospectors start flocking to the brand new town of Rumson (“I’m On My Way”). Two months later Rumson has a population of 400, all of whom are men except for Jennifer. Prospector Jake Whippany is waiting to save enough money to send for Cherry and her Fandango girls (“Rumson”), while Jennifer senses the tension building in town (“What’s Going On Here?”). Julio Valveras, a handsome young miner forced to live and work outside of town because he is Mexican, comes to town with dirty laundry and runs into Jennifer, who volunteers to do his laundry. They also talk to each other (“I Talk to the Trees”). Steve Bulmarck and the other men ponder the lonely nomadic life they lead in the song “They Call the Wind Maria”.

Two months later the men want Ben to send Jennifer away, and he wishes her mother was still alive to help him (“I Still See Elisa”). Jennifer is in love with Julio (“How Can I Wait?”), and when Ben sees Jennifer dancing with Julio’s clothes, he decides to send her East on the next stage. Jacob Woodling, a Mormon man with two wives, Sarah and Elizabeth, arrives in Rumson where the men demand Jacob sell one of his wives. To his surprise, Ben finds himself wooing Elizabeth (“In Between”) and wins her for $800 (“Whoop-Ti-Yay”). Jennifer is disgusted by her father’s actions and runs away, telling Julio that she will be reunited with him in a year’s time (“Carino Mio”). Cherry and her Fandango girls arrive (“There’s a Coach Comin’ In”). Julio learns his claim is running dry which means he has to move on to make a living and that he will not be there to greet Jennifer when OriginalMusicalPoster1951she returns.

Act II
A year later in October, the miners celebrate the high times in Rumson now that the Fandango girls are around (“Hand Me Down That Can o’ Beans”). Edgar Crocker, a miner who has saved his money, falls for Elizabeth and she responds, although Ben does not notice since he thinks Raymond Janney is in love with her (he is). Another miner, Mike Mooney, tells Julio about a lake that has gold dust on the bottom and he considers looking for it (“Another Autumn”). Jennifer returns in December, having learned civilized ways back East (“All for Him”). Ben tells his daughter that he will soon be moving on since he was not meant to stay in one place for long (“Wand’rin’ Star”). The next day as Cherry and the girls are packing to leave they tell her about Julio leaving to find the lake with a bottom of gold. Raymond Janney offers to buy Elizabeth from Ben for $3,000, but she runs off with Edgar Crocker.

OriginalLabelWord comes of another strike 40 miles south of Rumson and the rest of the town packs up to leave except for Jennifer, who is waiting for Julio to return, and Ben, who suddenly realizes that Rumson is indeed his town. Late in April, Julio appears, a broken man. The now dying Ben welcomes him and Julio is amazed to see Jennifer is there. As they move toward each other, the wagons filled with people move on.

The musical opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on November 12, 1951, and closed on July 19, 1952, after 289 performances. The production was directed by Daniel Mann, set design by Oliver Smith, costume design by Motley, lighting design by Peggy Clark, music for dances arranged by Trude Rittman, with dances and musical ensembles by Agnes de Mille set to the orchestrations of Ted Royal.

It starred James Barton (as Ben Rumson), Olga San Juan (Jennifer Rumson), Tony Bavaar (Julio Valveras), Gemze de Lappe (Yvonne Sorel), James Mitchell (Pete Billings), Kay Medford (Cherry), and Marijane Maricle (Elizabeth Woodling). Burl Ives and Eddie Dowling later took over the role of Ben Rumson. De Mille later restaged the dances as a stand-alone ballet, Gold Rush (by wikipedia)

Sheet01The 50-year European copyright limit on recordings allowed the original Broadway cast recording of Paint Your Wagon, originally released by RCA Victor in 1951, into the public domain early in the 21st century, and British bottom-feeder reissue label Prism Leisure has responded by pressing up its own version. The sound quality is good, suggesting that someone simply went to a record store and bought the latest RCA CD for transfer, though, of course, the original was recorded in mono under what are now thought of as primitive conditions. Still, cast members James Barton, Olga San Juan, Tony Bavaar, and Rufus Smith come through loud and clear in their performances of the memorable Western-tinged score for the Gold Rush story, including the songs “They Call the Wind Maria,” “I Talk to the Trees,” and “Wand’rin’ Star.” And there is a bonus track of “They Call the Wind Maria” by Vaughn Monroe, whose RCA recording, contemporary to the show, is also in the public domain in Europe. The RCA version of the cast album is to be preferred for its superior sound and packaging over what is essentially a legal bootleg, but for casual listeners on a budget, this one will serve. (Although technically issued only in Europe, the album was readily available at a modest price in the U.S. upon release.) (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
James Barton (as Ben Rumson)
Tony Bavaar (Julio Valveras)
Olga San Juan (as Jennifer Rumson)
Gemze de Lappe (as Yvonne Sorel)
Marijane Maricle (as Elizabeth Woodling)
Kay Medford (as Cherry)
James Mitchell (Pete Billings)
+
Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra

OriginalFrontCover1Original frontcover, 1951

Tracklist:
01. I’m on My Way (Chorus / Robert Penn / Rufus Smith / Dave Thomas) 3.54
02. Rumson (Robert Penn) 0.48
03. What’s Going on Here? (Olga San Juan) 3.28
04. I Talk To The Trees (Tony Bavaar) 3.31
05. They Call the Wind Maria (Chorus / Rufus Smith) 3.17
06. I Still See Elisa (James Barton) 3.17
07. How Can I Wait? (Olga San Juan) 4.13
08. In Between (James Barton) 2.40
09. Whoop-Ti-Ay! (Chorus) 1.45
10. Carino Mio (Tony Bavaar / Olga San Juan) 2.46
11. There’s A Coach Comin’ In (Chorus) 1.58
12. Hand Me Down That Can O’Beans (Chorus / Robert Penn) 1.44
13. Another Autumn (Tony Bavaar / Rufus Smith) 2.52
14. All For Him (Olga San Juan) 2.28
15. Wand’rin’ Star (James Barton / Chorus) 2.31
16. They Call The Wind Maria (bonus track) (Vaughn Monroe) 2.50

Music: Alan Jay Lerner / Book & lyrics: Frederick Loewe

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FrontCover1965AReissue, 1965