Monday, February 25, 2013

the barbra streisand album

Barbra Streisand defied her critics and made her first album on her own terms. Even in high school, she was an iconoclast:    “I don't know why I always felt alone—a person apart from others, but I did. In high school, I used too much make-up, both on my lips and my eyes. Oh those crazy weird shades! I bleached my hair and wore very off-beat clothes. Why did I dress this way? Well, the kid who looked ridiculous with a ribbon in her hair as a kid didn't think she was the most gorgeous teenager either. But rather than sulk, I rebelled, I dressed the way I did to show everybody that I didn't care what they thought of me. I didn't know then that I really did.  I never thought of being unhappy or lonely. I hate self-pity—in myself, in anybody.”

After working for years in nightclubs, she had made television appearances on 'The Tonight Show' and 'PM East/PM West' before making her Broadway debut as Miss Marmelstein in the musical 'I Can Get It for You Wholesale'. This led to a recording contract with Columbia Records.  Streisand remembers:    "The most important thing about that first contract - actually, the thing we held out for - was a unique clause giving me the right to choose my own material. It was the only thing I really cared about. I still received lots of pressure from the label to include some pop hits on my first album, but I held out for the songs that really meant something to me ... When I first auditioned for Goddard Lieberson [Columbia's president], he said I wouldn't sell records, that I was much too special, that I would appeal only to a small clique who would dig me. But the first album went right on the charts...Everyone was surprised. But I always knew it would happen this way. People were ready for me...When I was looking for someone to arrange and conduct the album, I called Harold Arlen who recommended Peter Matz. This was the beginning of a long and creative relationship."

'The Barbra Streisand Album' was recorded over three days at Columbia Studio A in New York with producer Mike Berniker on a very small budget because the executives were not sure if she could sell a lot of records. The material was mostly Broadway standards that the label thought were too obscure. Streisand considers:    "A lot of people used to tell me, 'Kid, you better dress this way, and sing this kind of song.' But I think that when you ask an audience to love you, they turn away. So I dress the way I feel, and sing the way I feel, and I don't worry about the audience—not till afterwards, anyway. People say I'm fresh, because I don't take advice. But even if the advice is right, I have to find out it's right my own way ... I’ve never taken voice lessons and never will. I act out my songs more than I sing them. To tell you the truth, I don’t like singing. I think I’m awful. I don’t like other singers, either. What’s singing? Acting is the thing. I think it’s a waste of time to sit around and listen to music.”

'The Barbra Streisand Album' went to number eight on the US album chart and number six in Australia. It was certified gold and went on to win Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performance, and Best Album Cover - Other Than Classical in 1964, as well as a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2006.

1. "Cry Me A River" Arthur Hamilton 3:37

2. "My Honey's Lovin' Arms" Joseph Meyer, Harry Ruby 2:14

3. "I'll Tell the Man in the Street" Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers 3:09

4. "A Taste of Honey" Ric Marlow, Bobby Scott 2:51

5. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" Frank Churchill, Ann Ronell 2:35

6. "Soon It's Gonna Rain" Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt 3:44

7. "Happy Days Are Here Again" Milton Ager, Jack Yellen 3:04

8. "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" Andy Razaf, Thomas Waller 2:11

9. "Much More" Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt 3:02

10. "Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking" Cole Porter 1:56

11. "A Sleepin' Bee" Harold Arlen, Truman Capote 4:21

Barbra Streisand - A Sleepin' Bee by enricogay

'The Barbra Streisand Album' 
full album:

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