What does one think of when imagining Barbra Streisand’s vault? Is it a Scrooge McDuck affair with gold and platinum records, diamonds, minks, Oscars and assorted trophys ready for Babs to dive into at moment’s whim? Or is it like the Temple of Doom, guarded by moats of all-white koi fish and Broadway bit players armed with immaculately manicured claws to scratch out the eyes of anyone foolish enough to invade the legend’s inner domain?
Either way, La Streisand dug — or rather, had someone else dig because…come on — through her private music vault where all the master tapes spanning her five-decade career are held and came up with 11 previously unreleased tracks for her latest album appropriately-titled Release Me.
From the diva’s website:
Highlights include: “Didn’t We” written by Jimmy Webb – recorded in 1970 for an unreleased album project titled The Singer; the standard “Willow Weep For Me” – an unreleased track recorded in 1967 for Simply Streisand, arranged by Ray Ellis noted for his legendary work with Billie Holiday; A striking version of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going Rain Today,” with Barbra on vocals and Newman on piano – from the 1971 Stoney End sessions; an unreleased studio version of “With One More Look At You” from A Star Is Born; Two tracks from the unreleased sequel to the acclaimed The Broadway Album, titled Back To Broadway – “Home” (from The Wiz) and “How Are Things In Glocca Morra ? / Heather On The Hill” (from Finian’s Rainbow / Brigadoon).
Reflecting on the album, Barbra noted, “The thing I’m happiest about is that I still have great affection for all these songs. They appealed to me at the time… and still do. Listening now, I actually think to myself, ‘The girl wasn’t half bad.’”
Oh, Babs, no one’s buying that false modesty, but we’ll be buying that album when it comes out on September 25 (on vinyl no less! — while the CD comes out October 9). There’s nothing like some vintage Streisand to get a queen’s heart singing ebulliently from straight-tone to vibrato.
Oh, and here’s the track listing:
1. Being Good Isn’t Good Enough (from Hallelujah, Baby!)
2. Didn’t We
3. Willow Weep For Me
4. Try To Win A Friend
5. I Think It’s Going To Rain Today
6. With One More Look At You (from A Star Is Born)
7. Lost In Wonderland
8. How Are Things In Glocca Morra? / Heather On The Hill (from Finian’s Rainbow/Brigadoon)
9. Mother And Child
10. If It’s Meant To Be
11. Home (from The Wiz)
Photo: Babs’ Web Portlal