Saturday, May 26, 2012

Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments 1973

Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments 1973
While Barbra going from film to film to film and recording new songs that were reaching a younger demographic, she still had a commitment to CBS for one last TV special. The concept she and Joe Layton cooked up in 1974 would feature Barbra in a multitude of scenes, trying all kinds of musical styles and accompanied by all kinds of musicians. It was called Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments and while sumptuous and inventive to look at, it didn't translate to an album as successfully as My Name Is Barbra or Color Me Barbra. But fans who overlook Musical Instruments are bypassing some great Barbra vocals. Her "I Got Rhythm" medley, incorporating "One Note Samba" and Rodgers and Hart's "Glad to Be Unhappy" among others is brilliant, and ends with a lung-shattering final note! Two other highlights shine: Harold Arlen's "I Never Has Seen Snow" and Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds." Undiscovered gem: "Piano Practicing," a patter song reminiscent of "The Minute Waltz" that Barbra does with comic precision!

Piano Practicing
I Got Rhythm
Johnny One Note/One Night Samba
Glad to Be Unhappy
Second Hand Rose
Don't Rain on My Parade
Don't Ever Leave Me
Monologue/By Myself
Come Back to Me
I Never Has Seen Snow
Auf Dem Wasser zu Singen
The World Is a Concerto/Make Your Own Kind of Music
The Sweetest Sounds

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  1. This is the first Barbra tv special I remember seeing. The opening number must have taken weeks to film, but had the most beautiful visuals that matched each theme.

    The highlight of this special and album would have to be Barbra's take on "I Never Has Seen Snow" from House Of Flowers by Harold Arlen & Truman Capote. As we all know; Arlen is one of her favorite composers and she does justice to this song. Recorded live for the special, there are slight differences between the show and recorded versions. But watching Barbra perform live is always an amamzing event.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more, Robert. I never understood when people accused this TV special of being overproduced. To me, they were ambitious and tried to make it a visually exciting show. As for the soundtrack, I wish they'd gone outside the box and dropped the electronic music, letting Barbra do complete versions of "Come Back to Me" and "By Myself." The "World Is A Concerto" could have been dropped entirely. But for me, "Glad to Be Unhappy," "Sweetest Sounds" and "Snow" are essential Barbra recordings. Thanks for reading and commenting!