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Product: Audio CD
Title: Dreamgirls in Concert (2001 Concert Cast)
Label: Nonesuch
Artist: Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A dream of a recording


DREAMGIRLS may be the closest thing Broadway has ever come to an authentic and richly textured pop/R&B opera. There are more than three dozen numbers in the show, which is almost entirely sung through.Not only do the songs reflect a variety of musical traditions, but they have a kind of musical sophistication, with key musical and verbal leitmotifs ("You were wonderful Miss Jones," "You're bringing us down," "It's just showbiz") accruing new meanings as they're repeated throughout the show. Most of the songs are sung as numbers by the Dreams and the R&B groups they meet, but they comment in fascinatingly textured ways upon the action of the show's major characters. Unfortunately the original show was given an extremely truncated cast recording that beautifully demonstrated the skills of the legendary Jennifer Holiday in the central role of Effie, but didn't give the marvelous libretto and score their due.
Twenty years later, we finally have a full recording of DREAMGIRLS--with all of its complexity restored. It is hard to imagine that for a score of years people who were not lucky enough to have seen the original show on Broadway had no idea of the terrifically complex ensemble numbers such as "It's All Over" and "Heavy," which add so much to the characterization and meaning of the work. Some of the Dreams' hit numbers from when they become famous which exist only in a few tantalizing musical phrases--"Step On Over," "I'm Somebody"--are now available for the first time on recording. This is really a superb show, and more than worthy of a fullscale revival.
And what a dream of a cast we have on this concert recording! Lilias White is a superb Effie White: although her voice, while magnificent in its own right, doesn't have quite the power of Jennifer Holliday's (but then, whose does?), she still manages to make the role her own in this performance. But the real miracles are the other two stars, Heather Headley (Broadway's Aida) as Lorrell and the inestimable Audra McDonald as Deena.
Headley is really a revelation in her role: as expected, she makes Lorrell's great Act II number "Aint' No Party" a showstopper, but she also acts the hell out of the role's other moments in this recording, making her coltish and vulnerable Lorrell a real delight. As for McDonald, this may be the best performance she's ever given, which (given her exceptional work elsewhere) is really saying something. When this production was announced McDonald mentioned to the press that Deena Jones was a role she had always longed to play, and this production shows exactly why: the part is perfectly suited for McDonald's talents. She's superb conveying both Deena's sweet ingenuousness in the first act and her growing confidence in the second, and even tinges the role at the appropriate points with the right note of mounting panic (catch the Garlandesque rising gasp of near-hysteria in her voice when she announces in the Act II opening medley she's "bought out Europe"). And she's in splendid voice: her first rendition of the show's title number is the recording's true highlight, even considering the other treats here. Indeed, it's almost fortunate we have MacDonald's performance here for this one-time concert version because she's SO good that her Deena would never work onstage (given that Deena isn't supposed to be as good a singer as Effie--here, all three Dreams are equally superb singers).
Given that this is a concert recording, there are a few minor glitches here and there that aren't what one would wish for: the actor who sings the Pat Boone-like final reprise of "Cadillac Car," for example, is pretty flat. But that's a small quibble. This is a production one could never hope to see onstage, and we are lucky to have it available on cd.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Beautiful Stranger
Label: Phantom
Artist: Madonna
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
The Orbit around planet Madonna...


The LP version has a raw, sort of 60s production to it. Almost reminds me of the new Blur, but you can dance to it! The Calderone radio remix has the modern, summer dance song of 1999 appeal. This is the version one blares from the car... plus there's a cute picture of Madonna grabbing Austin Powers by the waist



Product: Audio CD
Title: Organ Fireworks, Vol. 4
Label: Hyperion
Artist:
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
The best organ CD since "The Digital Fox".


Herrick at his best! The Aeolian-Skinner organ at St.Bartholomew's is the greatest and the finest instrument of NYC. The sound is astonishing! No doubt this is my favourite CD of this wonderful series together with "Organ Fireworks II" recorded at Royal Albert Hall, London. Buy it!



Product: Audio CD
Title: In The Zone
Label: Jive
Artist: Britney Spears
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Britney Is Back, CD is A Getter!!!


I liked Britney before, but this cd has done it's magic to love her, This album really rocks ass, the songs are all great and full of beats, My favorite is all of them!!! Britney has really grown up and sounds even better than before. Songs have this cool mid-eastern, r&b, techno, dance, and raggae sounds. This week only you can get the album for 9.99 at Best buy and Circuit city. Enjoy IT