Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Duets with Barbra and Smokey ...

Frank Sinatra started this trend with his DUETS cd in 1993, which even casual Sinatra fans had to have, it turned out to be the kind of novelty record one played once and then filed away, but it sold enough for Frank to do a second one. Later of course we discovered most of these "duets" were recorded with the singers not even together in the same studio  ...... but it was a trend that kept coming back, no doubt being a marketing ploy to cross-over to new markets as hopefully fans of the singer duetting with you would have to buy your album - before they could download the track they wanted. At least we saw Tony Bennett recording with Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga among others, and could see the genuine respect between them.

Couple of new Duets now - I am just playing SMOKEY & FRIENDS, Smokey Robinson's latest, its a mixed batch of course  Gary Barlow turns "Get Ready" into a cheesy fun missing early Take That hit, while Elton John and James Taylor slow down and do different arrangements to "The Tracks Of My Tears" and "Ain't That Peculiar" - Smokey may have wrote that one, but its the funky Marvin Gaye version that we loved back in the'60s. 

Good to see Smokey back in business and still grooving, and his Tamla-Motown hits getting a new lease of life  ..... I did a post on Marvin Gaye recently (music label), soon: Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross, Al Green ... 

Barbra Streisand's latest "Duets" venture PARTNERS has had a different reaction though, being it seems mainly bland versions of earlier hits of hers - who needs the umpteenth version of "People" or "Evergreen" or "The Way We Were" with a not very fascinating bunch of guest artists (Michael Buble it seems comes off best) with overwrought and syrupy orchestrations, so I think we will be giving this one a miss (Barbra is very airbrushed on the cover as well). It seems crass too to be duetting with 37-year-dead Elvis now, who needs that?  I was suckered into buying her last one BACK TO BROOKLYN cd & dvd - but have not felt the need to play them yet. That also has the same duet with her son Jason ("How Deep Is The Ocean?"), which she is including again now - couldn't they have recorded something else. But then Barbra keeps selling her back catalogue over and over. This new one is already a best-seller.

As per previous posts I have been a big Streisand fan since her first albums (up to her A STAR IS BORN which I loathed), but really all I need of hers now is that SECOND BARBRA STREISAND ALBUM (I loved "Where's That Rainbow", "Gotta Move" and "Down With Love"), her 1965 PEOPLE album (my best friend Stanley, another Barbra fanatic loved that one), the FUNNY GIRL Original Broadway cast (having seen the show on stage in London, in 1966, when I was 20, as mentioned here before  - I can still picture her singing "The Music That Makes Me Dance" but they used "My Man" in the film), the soundtrack of HELLO DOLLY (which has some amusing dialogue snippets), and her late 60s period STONEY END, BARBARA JOAN STREISAND and WHAT ABOUT TODAY?. Then there's WET and LAZY AFTERNOON and THE WAY WE WERE album (not the movie soundtrack), and I suppose the her first BROADWAY album .... the 40-track Best Of .... is good too, with a lot of the early stuff, and I liked her CLASSICAL album as well. In her seventies now, The Voice may not be what it was, but maybe she needs to do another Broadway collection, as there are lots she has not sung yet. 

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