Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Pal Joey (1950 Studio Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
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Finest recording of a superb Rodgers and Hart score
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 08/21/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Naming this in Amazon's records as an "original cast" recording is an error. This was the studio cast recording of 1951 that was such a hit it inspired a 1952 Broadway revival of this 1940 show. This recording features original cast member Vivienne Segal and KISS ME KATE co-star Harold Lang, who both went on to star in the 1952 Broadway revival. The orchestrations are alternately lively, jazzy and lushly romantic. The sound is incredibly crisp and "present" - a masterpiece of sound recording by Columbia. Every number is a winner and a fine recording achievement. Oddly enough the so called "cast album" of the 1952 revival for Capitol only features members of the supporting casts. Dick Beavers and Jane Froman fill in for Segal and Lang who were "unavailable" for the cast recording. No matter, the Capitol is far inferior. Froman sings beautifully and Beavers is acceptable but there is no excitement and the recording is pedestrian. Helen Gallagher is heard vivaciously in a few numbers - she won the Tony for this performance. The only standout is Elaine Stritch's hilarious ZIP. The CD pressing of the Capitol cast album seems to have been discontinued."
A definitive Rodgers-and-Hart album
Gene DeSantis | Philadelphia, PA United States | 02/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all Goddard Lieberson's great recordings this one stands with "My Fair Lady" and "Kismet" as his best. One may quibble with a few of his choices -- they weren't always the best -- but his gut instinct was so right this album could not have been anything less than brilliant.* Though made in 1950 it is redolent of the pre-war Broadway sound, before the arrangers slicked it up. Listening to this exceptionally atmospheric album one can't help thinking "Pal Joey" could have been the first "noir" film musical, had someone been enlightened enough to do it that way, rather than having Ol' Blue do some throwaway singing and cheap interpolations. Happily Jule Styne was so enthralled by this album he revived the show in '52, a smash hit that cemented its reputation.
The casting here is perfect. It's hard to believe Gene Kelly originated the role of the cad Joey Evans, and even if he'd been available (I'd doubt it) he might not have been the best singing choice. Happily we have the accomplished stage dancer Harold Lang, a dead-ringer for John Travolta who makes one pine for what Travolta would have been like if he could have sung. A veteran of several Rodgers-and-Hart shows, the beautiful Vivienne Segal, reprises her role of 1940 and I've no doubt she was a stronger presence in person than even on this recording. Lehman Engel conducts with unusual eloquence and brio (not unusual for him, I should say) and calls to mind a show that opened soon after the sessions: "Guys and Dolls," a "Pal Joey" with sunshine. (They also shared an excellent orchestrator, Ted Royal.) This new remastering concludes with two bonus tracks: Miss Segal singing a bowdlerized "Bewitched" for a Mike Wallace radio show, and Lang doing a thoroughly preposterous "I Could Write a Book" for a CBS color "spectacular." It's nice to have them, but really, this album is so overwhelming you should push the stop button after the finale. (Don't bother with Capitol's '52 "cast" recording with Jane Froman, currently on DRG; it's a mediocre studio album with different arrangements.)
Excellent transfers (except for the bonus tracks), although some may find the sound a little bright. Note: the disc and booklet give incorrect timings on the bonus tracks: they should be 2'38 and 4'23, not 2'00 on both.
*Some examples include lopping off the opening verse of "I Could Write a Book." One must keep in mind Lieberson was recording for three formats -- LPs, 78s and 45s -- and thus had to work with time constraints; as it happens, this song is quite effective without it. Also he replaced "Bolero" with "Tchaikovsky's '1812'" in "In Our Little Den of Iniquity," but that's just as well; "Bolero"'s not sexy anyway. I should like to have heard the "clark-jark" lyric in "Zip," but that surely appears elsewhere."
Great studio treatment of a groundbreaking musical
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 09/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PAL JOEY is given a superb treatment in this 1950 studio recording starring Vivienne Segal.PAL JOEY opened in 1940, and changed the face of the Broadway musical. It also made the reputation of the one and only Gene Kelly - as the title character. The show also featured Vivienne Segal as Vera Simpson and June Havoc as Gladys Bumps.However, cast recordings were not a regular practice until the 1950's. Columbia's producer Goddard Lieberson rectified the situation 10 years later, recruiting Vivienne Segal to reprise her role as Vera and featuring a brand-new cast.Harold Lang (who created the role of Bill/Lucentio in the original KISS ME KATE), is adequate as Joey, but was a much better dancer than he was a singer. He gives a rather fetching version of "You Mustn't Kick It Around", and his "I Could Write a Book" is lovely.Vivienne Segal, as in the original production, is luminous as Vera, and sings the most glorious version of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" that will never be bettered. She also sings a rather plaintive "Take Him" in a duet with Beverly Fite (as Linda English).So successful was this recording that a new revival was brought to Broadway in 1952, starring Vivienne Segal and Harold Lang (though the cast album of the revival features Jane Froman and Dick Beavers) in the lead roles. The show also featured Helen Gallagher, Elaine Stritch and Barbara Nichols.Rodgers and Hart's PAL JOEY is still one of the most-beloved and admired Broadway musicals, and this recording, sung with love and affection by a stellar cast, is a worthy tribute to it."