Historically and musically valuable versions
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 04/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now this I never knew. Before some Broadway musicals opened, the composers would hire singers to record selections from the plays and these discs would be sent to better known singers to consider recording. In this way, first-night audiences would already be familiar with one or two of what the producers hoped would be hits. Naturally these special recordings were never meant to be heard by the general public. That is until a label called Slider Stage obtained some of these historical rarities and decided to release the first in a series of CDs to let us have "a listening experience of tremendous charm" (as the press release puts it). (SMS 702) is the first in the projected series and offers us 21 selections from three giants: "Hello, Dolly!" "Gigi," and "How to Succeed in Business." The vocalists were specialists in these promotional recordings which were carefully supervised by the composers and lyricists: Rose Marie Jun, Bernie Knee, Jack Carroll, and Jack Haskell. (You see what I mean? No name-recognition. Just good vocalizing.) Therefore, you can be assured that what you hear is what the creators wanted. In fact, Jerry Herman is quoted as saying about the "Hello Dolly" section of this release, "These recordings really express the songs as I wrote them, without any of the extra trappings that so many interpreters put on them." So this is worth hearing per se and even more so because of the authenticity and to a lesser (or Loesser) degree because of its historical interest."
CURTAIN UP ON A THEATRICAL GEM!!
Alan W. Petrucelli | THE ENTERTAINMENT REPORT (ALAN W. PETRUCELLI) | 01/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The curtain has just gone up on perhaps the most historically significant collection of theater music. This disc contains the newly-discovered, very-first-ever recordings of tunes from "Hello, Dolly!," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Gigi"---tunes we all know and love, though no one has ever heard of the singer, a woman named Rose Marie Jun who, between 1957 and 1963, was paid for [every] track to cut these "demos." (It was a way to convince famous singers to record them on their own, before the shows actually opened. It was called smart marketing.) It worked; the 21 songs here have been recorded nearly 100 times by such stars as Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Perry Como and Bing Crosby. This is Volume I of a planned six-CD set. We'd start applauding, but we're too busy pushing the "repeat" button."