Somewhere in the world, someone is cold/Be aware/And while you're feeling young, someone is old/Be aware/And while your stomach's full, somewhere in this world, someone is hungry/When there is so much, should anyone be hungry?
On Sunday, March 14, 1971, CBS-TV aired Singer Presents Burt Bacharach. The composer's variety special welcomed Tom Jones, Rudolf Nureyev, and Barbra Streisand. After Bacharach and Streisand performed an intimate, close-up rendition of "(They Long to Be) Close to You," the duo engaged in a bit of patter. "I'm just nervous about what I have to do," she revealed of the next song she would be performing. By way of reassurance, Bacharach offered, "Hal and I wrote that new song especially for you." Streisand then introduced "Be Aware." She brought passion to his haunting melody and Hal David's poignant, socially-conscious lyric - an auspicious debut for a remarkable composition. But a Streisand release of "Be Aware" never materialized. Dionne Warwick brought it to records in 1972 and it was subsequently recorded by artists from Laura Nyro to Lea Salonga. Now, 50 years after Streisand introduced the song, that 1971 recording (with additional 2020 production) is opening her latest release: Release Me 2.
Due from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings on August 6, Release Me 2 is the long-awaited second volume of Streisand's rarities series launched in 2012. (Read our review of Volume 1 here!) The set features ten previously unreleased songs spanning nearly the whole of the artist's career, from 1962-2014, with an eleventh track circa 1984 arriving as a Target exclusive on both CD and LP. All physical editions are as follows:
- Target-exclusive CD with bonus track;
- Standard black vinyl;
- Target-exclusive gray vinyl with bonus track;
- Barnes and Noble-exclusive clear vinyl;
- Barbra Official Store-exclusive white vinyl (and various packages);
- Barbra Official Store-exclusive cassette; and
- Independent record stores picture disc vinyl.
The earliest recording on Release Me 2 is "Right as the Rain" which Streisand included on The Second Barbra Streisand Album in 1963. This take of the Harold Arlen/E.Y. "Yip" Harburg standard from their 1944 musical Bloomer Girl was recorded in 1962 with producer Mike Berniker. One other '60s-vintage recording has been included: Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman's "One Day (A Prayer)." The haunting plea was first heard on ABC-TV's 1990 The Earth Day Special; a version of the track was subsequently released on a publishing promo for the Bergmans. The 2020 mix is based on the original, unreleased 1968 production by Streisand and Wally Gold as arranged by Don Costa.
While those are the only two 1960s recordings included here, nearly half of the set's selections originated in the 1970s. Randy Newman's achingly beautiful "Living Without You" was recorded with producer Richard Perry for 1971's Stoney End LP. The original vocal has been utilized for this 2020 production and arrangement by Streisand and Walter Afanasieff. (Newman's "I'll Be Home" and "Let Me Go" made the cut for Stoney End while his "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" was featured on the first Release Me.) Carole King's "You Light Up My Life" was introduced on 1973's Fantasy. (The same album yielded "Being at War with Each Other," memorably sung by Streisand on her 1974 LP The Way We Were and reprised in her recent concerts.) Barbra's recording was intended for Butterfly - also from 1974 - but this version has additional production and mixing by Jochem van der Saag. One of the most surprising cuts here may be Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher's Academy Award-nominated Muppet Movie classic "The Rainbow Connection" as recorded for 1979's Wet and performed as a duet with the one and only Kermit the Frog (who else?). As on the 2012 Release Me, one track has been included from the unreleased 1973 Bergman/Bergman/Legrand concept album The Life Cycle of a Woman, "Once You've Been in Love."
The sole song from the 1980s is the Target bonus track. Richard Parker and Bobby Whiteside's "When the Lovin' Goes Out of the Lovin'" was recorded by Johnny Mathis for his 1982 Friends in Love album and was mooted by Barbra for inclusion on 1984's Emotion. Release Me 2 then jumps ahead to 1994 for the ballad "Sweet Forgiveness," penned by Walter Afanasieff and John Bettis. Of more recent vintage is an outtake from the 2005 Barry Gibb collaboration Guilty Pleasures ("If Only You Were Mine") and the Willie Nelson duet "I'd Want It to Be You." The latter was included on 2014's Partners as a duet with Blake Shelton; Willie had advocated for the release of his original version when speaking to Larry King. In that interview, he referred to Streisand only having finished a scratch vocal; at last, a final vocal has been recorded. "I'd Want It to Be You" is streaming and available for download now. Watch the video on YouTube here.
As longtime fans know, this release still represents the tip of the iceberg of the Streisand vaults. It appears that we'll have to wait a bit longer for official Streisand renditions of Leonard Bernstein and Richard Wilbur's "Make Our Garden Grow," Ed Kleban's "Better," Laura Nyro's "He's a Runner," Legrand and the Bergmans' "The Smile I Never Smiled," and the Leon Russell gospel sessions (just to name a few). But however belated, this sequel to Release Me is mightily welcome.
Barbra has shared her thoughts on the album on her website. She writes, in part: "My brilliant friend, Leonard Bernstein, once said, 'Music can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable.' I think that's true, because the songs I've recorded have provided me ways of expressing thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be difficult to convey. With that in mind, I hope this collection of tracks that have been quietly resting in their tape boxes, waiting to be released, will stir your emotions or simply make you smile." We hope so, too.
You'll find pre-order links and the full track listing below.
Barbra Streisand, Release Me 2 (Columbia/Legacy, 2021)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Target Exclusive CD with bonus track: Target.com
Target Exclusive Gray Vinyl with bonus track: Target.com
B&N Exclusive Clear Vinyl: BarnesandNoble.com
Barbra Official Store Exclusive White Vinyl and Cassette: Barbra Shop
Picture Disc Vinyl: Your Local Record Store
- Be Aware (Bacharach/David)
- You Light Up My Life (Carole King)
- I'd Want It to Be You (Tomberlin/Landers/Dorff) - with Willie Nelson
- Sweet Forgiveness (Afanasieff/Bettis)
- Living Without You (Randy Newman)
- One Day (A Prayer) (Bergman/Bergman/Legrand)
- Rainbow Connection (Williams/Ascher) - with Kermit the Frog
- Right as the Rain (Arlen/Harburg)
- If Only You Were Mine (B. Gibb/A. Gibb/S. Gibb) - with Barry Gibb
- Once You've Been in Love (Bergman/Bergman/Legrand)
- When the Lovin' Goes Out of the Lovin' (Parker/Whiteside) (Target-exclusive bonus track)
Track 1 originally recorded on Singer Presents Burt Bacharach, 1971/additional production 2020
Track 2 cut from Butterfly, 1974/additional production 2020
Track 3 intended for Partners, 2014/additional production 2020
Track 4 rec. 1994
Track 5 cut from Stoney End, 1971/additional production 2020
Track 6 rec. 1968, first aired on Earth Day Special, 1990 and earlier mix released on The Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Threesome Music, 1996
Track 7 cut from Wet, 1979/additional production 2020
Track 8 rec. 1962
Track 9 cut from Guilty Pleasures, 2005
Track 10 from Life Cycle of a Woman, unreleased, 1973
Track 11 cut from Emotion, 1984
Douglas Trapasso says
Happy Friday Joe - thanks for the heads-up!
I am sure many people reading that first paragraph (and don't remember the CBS special) are asking the same questions:
Did CBS -try- to book the Carpenters?
Were they on tour? Did CBS want to get Karen but not Richard? Did Barbra insist on performing -that- song even though another artist just hit with it? We want more info !
Hello, Douglas -- Perhaps you weren't alive in 1971, but I was and was a huge fan of both Barbra Streisand and The Carpenters. I saw The Carpenters and Burt Bacharach at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in 1971, the same year as the special.
You may or may not know this, but especially back at that time, TV variety shows often had entertainers, like a Cher on her own show and with Sonny, covering tunes made famous by other artists. And, as Burt Bacharach says in what was then his TV special, he says something to the effect of "and then someone like Barbra (Streisand) comes along, and it's a whole new ball game." You might not appreciate it, but in one decade -- the 1960s -- she conquered the stage (Broadway), television (winning an Emmy for her first TV special "My Name Is Barbra,") and then film, winning an Academy Award for her first movie, "Funny Girl." For Bacharach's first TV special, he had, as I believe Joe mentioned, Tom Jones, Rudolph Nureyev, and Streisand -- people at the top of their fields. These were huge "gets." Streisand duetted with Bacharach at the piano on "Close to You" and then sang "Be Aware," which was written for her by Bacharach and Hal David. Here is a video from YouTube --
If you are only familiar with The Carpenters' version of "Close to You," again, which I love, you might wonder why they were not asked. Despite having had a huge hit with "Close to You," The Carpenters were not in the league of Barbra Streisand, conquering so many areas of the entertainment industry -- records, nightclubs, Las Vegas, Broadway, TV, movies.
So, I do not know if CBS or Dwight Hemion, who was in charge of Bacharach's special, asked The Carpenters to be on it. Interestingly, as Bacharach did more TV specials, he would have on guests like Bette Midler who often didn't perform Bacharach's material (she did her hit of the old Andrews Sisters' tune "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" and Leon Russell's "Superstar").
If you weren't around in the 1960s and 1970s, then you likely weren't aware of the excitement that surrounded Streisand in that era. Besides all of that, Bacharach and Streisand were / are friends.
That's my best answer to your questions. Best to you. (FYI -- Streisand included the "(They Long To Be) Close to You" duet with Bacharach on her four-CD box set "Just for the Record" in 1991.
Did my best to answer your questions. Thank you.
Douglas Trapasso says
Thanks for writing back! I vaguely remember some of those variety specials; I didn't realize Bacharach headlined several of them (box set, anyone?). And of course, I developed an interest in Barbra as I got older; I'm actually a little jealous of my elders such as yourself, who witnessed that lightning in a bottle as it happened.
I'm in on this one. Was not interested in the first Release Me set.
David B says
It looks good . but just wondering why i can buy sets that contain 70s rarities but still can't get a decent remaster of either "Stoney end" or "Barbra Joan Streisand" .. two of her more rock orientated sets .. but both incredible .. brand new cd remasters would be great..
I have Barbara Joan that was "digitally restored from the original master tapes/ digitally remastered". I cannot remember what year though. I thought Stoney End was done at the same time. I am thinking 90s or early 2000s. It is definitely time for them to be done again and with bonus tracks! They never did remaster Emotion, that I am aware of.
Andrew Edwards says
Yup both digitally remastered in the 90's along with many others. They all came with a sticker that that said "DIgitally Restored from the Original Master Tapes Digitally Restored." And the copies with this white sticker indicated the date restored with Raw 01994 S1. The CD's were
1) My Name is Barbra,
2) My Name is Barbra 2
3) Color Me Barbra,
4) Je M'apelle Barbra,
5) Simply Streisand.
6) A Happening In Central Park,
7) Greatest Hits
8) Stoney End
9) Barbra Joan Streisand
10) Live at the Forum
11) Butterfly, Superman
13) Greatest Hits Vol. 2
Another group were remastered that came with a gold sticker that said "Digitally Remastered and Restored from the Original Master Tapes and had Best Value on the sticker," These CD's were
16) The Barbra Streisand Album,
17) The Second Barbra Streisand Album
18) The Third Album
20) What About Today
21) On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
22) Funny Girl Soundtrack
23) The Way We Were
24) A Star is Born
25) The Main Event
26) The Broadway Album (w a bonus Track).
I believe this 2nd group were redone and release around 2002/2003. And this 2nd group all came as red CD's. The first 1994 group were all silver discs. And yes Emotion has never been remastered. I assume that all these are the ones that Sony still has in circulation even when the sticker doesn't indicate it
Remaster information is shady because of lack of identifying data/credits in booklets/cd covers.
The following albums were also remastered between 1993 and 1998:
27) A Christmas Album
28) Classical Barbra
30) Harold Sings Arlen (with friend)
31) I Can Get It For You Wholesale
32) Lazy Afternoon (not sure)
33) Pins And Needles
The 2002 remasters (only) included (all remastered before) :
Funny People (soundtrack)
The Way We Were
A Star Is Born
The Broadway Album
Final note : The 2002 remaster of The Broadway Album (by Stephen Marcussen) was first released in 1995 on mini-disc (according to discogs). Unless proven wrong, I believe it was NOT available as part of the 90's remaster cd's.
Earl Cambron says
Stoney End is a helluva record!
It sure is! It is my very favorite of her albums! She really should have worked more with Richard Perry.
Barbra Archives has information on release dates on her catalog under Discography under Catalog --
David B says
Great info guys .. and i was surprised that "Barbra Joan Streisand" had a quad mix .. now it'd be great if they re-released that mix .. that'd be incredible ..
Ultra short cd (33:50) which could have used more tracks.
Rich B. says
Did you purchase the 10-track CD or vinyl OR the Target Exclusive Edition CD or vinyl, which has 11 tracks? Obviously that would be about 38 minutes plus.
Haven’t seen anything yet as to WHY, but looks like the Target edition may be delayed? I pre-ordered it and received notice this morning that the shipment date has been moved two weeks to August 20.
Joe Marchese says
The CD appears to be available in stores today but most/many of the preorders have unfortunately been delayed until August 20. (The vinyl edition is shipping now.)
Just came from local Target store. There were both CDs and vinyl copies of the Target Exclusive Edition w/ bonus track available in store. I knew if I had it shipped, Target would not offer day/date delivery the way Amazon would with Amazon Prime. Do you live far away from a Target?
I’m currently recovering from surgery and not able to get out to a Target. 🙁
I am sorry, Dave. Sending healing thoughts your way. Hope you're able to listen to the streaming version in the meantime.