Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Harold Arlen, Truman Capote|
House Of Flowers (1954 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
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Forgotten flop brought back on CD
Mark Andrew Lawrence | Toronto | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the start of its unusual Overture (with it's strange transitions) HOUSE OF FLOWERS is something unique. The Harold Arlen score has the proper Carribean flavour, but is still rooted in the Broadway vernacular. Truman Capote's book and lyrics are more variable, and the show has failed twice (1954 and an off-Broadway revival in 1968, recorded by United Artists but not issued on Cd) for the same reason most shows fail: A faulty or unintresting book. Still, its not the book that is showcased on the CD.Although Columbia's original 1954 LP release was a fairly full record for its day (53 min 55 seconds) this CD offers longer takes of both "Mardi Gras" and "Slide Boy Slide" adding nearly 2 minutes to the album proper. The reissue also includes 12 minutes of bonus tracks making a very attractive mid-priced reissue.The original LP artwork adorns the CD cover, and there are excellent liner notes and a synopsis. The original LP jacket did not include a synopsis, a rare omission for Columbia records. The LP also juggled some of the songs so the record actually ended with the Mardi Gras number (which actually belongs in the first act!) Some people here have questioned placing "The Turtle Song" as the last number in the show. This is correct. According to my copy of THE BEST PLAYS OF 1954-55, the song listing indicates that "Don't like Goodbyes" was sung in Act II, Scene 5 with "The Turtle Song" (and the un-recorded Finale) in Act II, Scene 6. What is strange about this song listing (which was taken from the opening night playbill) is that the song "Gonna Leave off Wearing My shoes" is NOT listed at all (although a song called "Husband Cage" is listed at the top of Act II, it is sung by Pansy, Tulip, Gladiola and Ensemble...but not Ottilie!) Even stranger... a 1980 reissue in Time Life's AMERICAN MUSICALS series puts the song in Act One but that placement may be based on the out-of-town try-outs. The song certainly makes a pleasing opening to Act II on the Cd. On this CD reissue it is listed as "Can I Leave off Weaing My Shoes" but Diahann Carroll clearly sings "Gonna..." in the lyric.The sound quality of this reissue is greatly improved over the muddy sound of the previous Columbia Special Products issue, and restores the original mono mix. (In 1963 Columbia re-released this LP in fake stereo and that was the version in general circulation though to the end of the LP era.)The performances are unmatchable today. Pearl Bailey's now famous quip at the end of "One Man Ain't Quite Enough" ("Supposed to have an ad-lib filled in here for the record date but we've been so terribly busy over at the theatre we haven't had time!") alludes to the show's tumultuous try-out and preview period, even though Bailey herself was cause of much of the trouble. Despite a cold, Diahann Carroll sounds fine. Juanita Hall is given surprisingly little to do for 3rd billed role.Richard Rodgers has cited "A Sleepin' Bee" as one of has favoutite songs from the score, and Barbra Streisand has recorded several songs from this show on her early albums, so even if the show spun off few "hit parade" hits, the songs did become standards.Given Sony's desire to concentrate on re-mastering and re-issueing teh big hit shows from their catalogue (MY FAIR LADY, WEST SIDE STORY etc) it's nice the label has given attention to this forgotten flop."
CD will be reissued
Mark Andrew Lawrence | 01/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Columbia Masterworks has announced that HOUSE OF FLOWERS will be reissued May 2003 with bonus tracks. You might want to consider this before paying $75+ for one of the rare original issues."
A must for both musical theatre and Capote fans.
I. Sondel | Tallahassee, FL United States | 05/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Frankly, this score is not as great as the sum of its parts. However, there are indeed some great numbers in this show. Arlen's music is always wonderful. Capote's lyrics are beautiful (it's hard to believe that he had never written lyrics before or that he never wrote them again - what a waste for musical thaetre fans.) Probably the best known song from this score is "A Sleepin' Bee" sung in the show by Diahann Carroll and included on Barbra Streisand's first Grammy award winning album [Streisand loves this score and has also recorded "Don't Like Goodbyes," "House of Flowers" and "I Never Has Seen Snow" - this last is one of her finest vocal performances ever and can be heard on "Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments"]. Pearl Bailey has a couple of terrific numbers here, especially "One Man Ain't Quite Enough." "Can I Leave Off Wearing My Shoes" is lots of fun. However, what makes this CD an absolute must is the inclusion of Capote reading from his original short story "House of Flowers" and Arlen's demo recording of "A Sleepin Bee" as a work in progress. What a treat."