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Product: Audio CD
Title: It Had to Be You... The Great American Songbook
Label: J-Records
Artist: Rod Stewart
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
This cd was great!!!

When I heard that Rod Stewart was singing old standards, I was not too interested, but yet had to buy it! Love Rod and love the old standards. As soon as I heard him singing, I HAD to dance! I just loved the way he did them in his own way. Made me think of the saying "dance like there is nobody watching", and that is exactly how I felt when I heard him sing these old standards. I'm still listening a lot, and when I hear him, I'm dancing too. I'm glad you made this cd, Rod. It's one of my favorites!!!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Aida (2000 Original Broadway Cast)
Label: Disney
Artist: Elton John, Tim Rice
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
A performer's playground

This score is a lesson in mediocraty. The lyrics are uneven and unrepresentative of Rice's usually good work. The score, mainly Gospel and Pop-Rock, fails to take advantage of the musical moments the story lends. There are two cultures in this show, the Egyptians and the Nubians. The music should have reflected the differences of the two cultures, and what happens when the cultures meet via the two young lovers. The score makes no such attempts. Each song in the score sounds like a totally seperate track, not part pf a larger work. (This is not a good thing). The songs are generally enjoyable, if formulaic. Fortuantly, most of the songs allow the immensly talanted cast to shine. Headly shows off her wonderful voice in every song she sings. "My Strongest Suit," one of my personal favorites from the show, lets Scott release the diva inside. Pacale sings his songs well, though he is most effective in "Fortune Favors the Brave," possibly because that song is very RENT-esque. These three performers are talented enough to carry the album and make it enjoyable. Buy it for them, not for the score.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Encore [Decca]
Label: Decca
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
A singer who croaks his way through the music

I have nothing against cross-over recordings. In fact, many of such recordings have given me and my family much pleasure in the past.
Unfortunately, this does not apply to this album by Russell Watson. My chief objection is in the singing, which is inadequate. Watson virtually croaks his way through the music, destroying the musical phrase and glossing over things that make such music great. As a result, he destroys the pieces that he sings, presenting them in a way that is only fit for consumption in the karaoke lounge.
I don't think I can recommend this album to anyone.

Product: Audio CD
Title: After the Rain
Label: Polygram Records
Artist: John Mclaughlin, Elvin Jones, Joey Defrancesco, Joey DeFrancesca
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A sleeper

I always enjoy this record. There's great empathy among the players. I think Elvin Jones, the master, is the real hero of this music. He keeps McLaughlin and Joey DeFranceso, two incredibly gifted musicians from getting too technical or flashy. Rather, it sounds like they all Heard (with a big "H") each other - there's a nice spirit to this record.
By the way, they all play great . . . but you knew that.