Archive for April 13th, 2012
Bacharach, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber Honored by Melissa Manchester, Dave Koz, Stephen Bishop and More on New Kritzerland Releases
Kritzerland is reaching into the vaults of Los Angeles’ S.T.A.G.E. charitable organization for three star-filled releases celebrating composers who need no introduction: Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. These live concert recordings feature renowned artists from the worlds of pop (Melissa Manchester, Stephen Bishop) and jazz (Dave Koz, Ann Hampton Callaway) plus stars from stage, screen and television (Tyne Daly, Felicity Huffman, Len Cariou, Charlotte Rae, Donna McKechnie) and even some rather unexpected performers (Rip Taylor, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry), all tackling selections from these deep songbooks. The Lloyd Webber and Sondheim tributes are both 2-CD sets, while the Bacharach is a single disc. A portion of the proceeds from all three albums will be allocated to AIDS Project L.A. and other AIDS organizations.
These releases mark a return to S.T.A.G.E., or Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, territory for producer Bruce Kimmel. On the Kritzerland label he’s issued Strouse/Schwartz/Schwartz (that’s Charles, Arthur and Stephen!) and prior to that, Kimmel produced numerous concert releases on Varese Sarabande. As for S.T.A.G.E. itself, the company’s first such benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to composers and lyricists from the musical stage including: Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996, 2007), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993, 2009), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005), and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006).
The albums are scheduled to ship the fourth week in May, but pre-orders will likely be mailed several weeks earlier as per Kritzerland’s custom. Hit the jump for a look at each of this trio of recordings, including full track listings and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »
With a catalogue of over fifty studio albums, both solo and as a duet partner, and a reported 3,000+ songs, it’s hard to dispute Dolly Rebecca Parton’s standing as a reigning queen of country music. Still, such an appellation sells Parton short, seeing as she’s also an actress, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist with multiple Grammy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, the National Medal of Arts, and Oscar and Tony nominations. Even when crossing over onto the pop charts or courting a wide audience, however, Parton has never lost sight of her Tennessee mountain home and Southern roots. In 1969, another Tennessee icon arrived on the scene, the Cracker Barrel restaurant and country store. Though the chain hasn’t been without its share of controversy over the years, it’s endured as a favorite destination of travelers with over 600 locations nationwide. Parton first teamed with Cracker Barrel for an exclusive edition of her 2008 album Backwoods Barbie, and has recently delivered to the chain a new CD/DVD set via her Dolly Records label. An Evening with…Dolly is essentially a reissue of the singer’s 2009 CD/DVD Live from London with a number of changes.
An Evening with…Dolly, like Live from London, is drawn from the superstar’s concerts at London’s O2 Arena on July 5 and 6, 2008. At those shows, Parton played a variety of her greatest hits including songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (“Here You Come Again”) and the Brothers Gibb (“Islands in the Stream”) and of course, her own songbook (“9 to 5,” “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors” and the inevitable “I Will Always Love You,” which has recently taken on a new resonance). She also tapped Backwoods Barbie for a number of new songs including its title track from the 9 to 5 stage musical, “Shinola,” “Only Dreaming” and “Better Get to Livin’.”
How does the Cracker Barrel edition differ from the original release? Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »