Well folks, Streisand's 63rd officially released recording is a REVELATION! The end result isn't so much a traditional jazz recording, but a quiet and meditative collection of love songs. It's so incredibly intimate that you feel as if you're right there in the studio with her! From the opening tracks declaration "Here's To Life" to the dreamy Steve Allen-penned "A Time For Love", Barbra hasn't sounded so beautiful in years. And the album features some of her most deft vocal phrasing since perhaps the 1970's. Yes kids, it's that good.
Some highlights for me...
The first time I heard "Where Do You Start " was on a terrific Jerry Grillo recording in the early 90's. I thought it had such a beautiful melody and poignant lyric. I could easily hear Barbra singing it in my head- and have been hoping she would record it ever since. Well, as good as it sounded in my imagination, it never sounded quite this exquisite, or touching.
"Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)" is one of Barbra's finest recorded performances in 3 decades. Just when you thought you'd heard every version of this Jacques Brel torch-classic, it gets the Streisand touch. As with most of the album [but especially on this track] it seems that "Streisand the actress who sings" has returned to her roots as a dramatic interpreter of lyrics. At 67, there's a burnished glow to her voice now, and a little raspiness here and there that adds a yummy new layer.
Her version of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" is so good that it may just become known as the definitive.
On the album's closer "You Must Believe In Spring", Barbra reminds us that hope springs eternal if only we believe. With just Diana Krall at the piano to accompany her, she delivers the lyrics with such tenderness and delicacy...a gentle plea to embrace all that is beautiful in life. It reminds me of the Streisand I fell in love with as a child. The Streisand that might be lost on some, but that her true fans connect with so easily. And ultimately that's what this album is.
A Valentine for lovers, and for her fans.
There are 2 versions available. Barbra recorded the album with Diana's quartet, then Johnny Mandel wrote some sumptuous orchestral charts which were recorded separately and layered on top. The "singular" disc contains the recordings with those orchestrations. The "deluxe" version has a complete second disc with the "naked" original quartet versions. There are a few discernible alternate vocal takes on this disc, which for fans will add to the joy.While I love both, I must admit I'm a little partial to the quartet versions, so I'm recommending to you the deluxe version.
I've now heard a few people refer to this as Barbra's "make-out album". I have to agree, and will add that it might be the most romantic album, by anyone, that I've ever heard. I have plenty of candles. So where's my slow dance partner?www.barbrastreisand.com