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Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture

Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture

4.3 3
by Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy

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Modeled after the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes, the long-overdue film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls -- starring Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx -- tells the story of three childhood friends and girl-group mates who rise to stardom in the early '60s. And just like the


Modeled after the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes, the long-overdue film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls -- starring Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx -- tells the story of three childhood friends and girl-group mates who rise to stardom in the early '60s. And just like the film, the soundtrack is an irresistible treat from start to finish. The stars -- Beyoncé as the Ross-like Deena Jones, Murphy as the James Brown-esque James "Thunder" Early, and Foxx as the Berry Gordy-reminiscent Curtis Taylor Jr. -- deliver stellar performances; but it's newcomer and onetime American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson who steals the show, much like her Broadway counterpart Jennifer Holiday, as Effie White, the Dreams' front woman, who loses the spotlight and her lover to the more glamorous Deena. With a commanding soprano caressed by gospel nuances, Hudson delivers several of the disc's highlights, including a chill- and tear-inducing rendition of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" and a dynamic version of "I Am Changing." To her credit, however, Beyoncé's star still shines brightly on the Dreams' disco version of "One Night Only" and the original song "Listen." Both Murphy and Foxx -- comedians who've dabbled in music before -- give convincing vocal performances; notably Murphy on the Marvin Gaye-styled "Patience" and Foxx on the tender "When I First Saw You." Rounding out the cast is Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, delivering seasoned vocal accompaniment throughout as the Dreams' Lorrell Robinson. Thanks to its superb cast, the magical Dreamgirls is the must-see film and must-hear record of the 2006 holiday season.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
When Dreamgirls became the most successful musical of the 1981-1982 Broadway season, composer Henry Krieger and lyricist Tom Eyen's score was not the primary reason most observers pointed to, opting instead first for director/choreographer Michael Bennett's imaginative, non-stop staging and second for the talented cast, led by Jennifer Hudson in the role of Effie Melody White. (In the plot's fictionalized retelling of the story of Motown Records and the rise of the Supremes, Effie is the Florence Ballard character, shunted aside by manipulative record company president Curtis Taylor, Jr. (read: Berry Gordy, Jr.) in favor of the bland Deena Jones (read: Diana Ross), who he thinks is more likely to reach a crossover audience.) Krieger and Eyen did succeed in providing a showcase for Holliday in the volcanic torch song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," which topped the R&B charts and made the original Broadway cast album a gold record (a rarity for show music LPs by 1982), but on the whole, their score struggled to achieve its twin goals of shadowing actual Motown and other pop music of the '60s and early '70s, while also expressing plot and character points. Twenty-five years later, the score has been reshaped for a movie version of Dreamgirls. On this 36-track deluxe edition of the soundtrack album (the regular version has only 20 tracks and is 45 minutes shorter), for the most part even less of an attempt has been made at fidelity to the sounds of the '60s; in these new arrangements, the songs, which always had elements of early-'80s adult contemporary styles, lean even more toward American Idol power ballad territory. Ironically, Dreamgirls, which on-stage was sort of an anti-star vehicle driven by the injustice against Effie and her subsequent revenge, has been partially transformed into a star vehicle for other characters. One of those characters is Deena, here played, even more ironically, by Beyoncé Knowles who is, arguably, the Diana Ross of her times in more ways than one. (Destiny's Child, her former group, also had its share of controversy and personnel changes, with attendant lawsuits.) Not surprisingly, Deena Jones is softened in the movie and given a new solo song, "Listen," co-written by Knowles. That the song is out of character for Deena and defies the logic of the plot doesn't seem to matter; Knowles must have a showcase, and this is it. Similarly, Eddie Murphy, as James Thunder Early, a James Brown-like singer unable to smooth his rough edges sufficiently to cross over, also gets an out-of-character number, "Patience," which improbably bids to transform Early into a kind of Marvin Gaye figure. Again, the plot suffers, but a star is accommodated. (The one other major star in the film, Jamie Foxx, having already won an Academy Award for Ray, doesn't seem to have felt the need to turn Curtis into a good guy with a big solo number. Instead, he revels in his villainy, all but twirling a mustache on occasion.) Neither "Listen" nor "Patience" is really a bad song, however, and both are competently sung. Both were composed by Krieger with new lyricists, along with two other new songs, "Love You I Do" and "Perfect World." (Eyen has died in the interim.) The real problem is that they take some focus away from the show and film's real star, Effie, here played by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson is an American Idol runner-up, but that should not be held against her. In fact, she's a major talent, and she dominates the musical and dramatic proceedings exactly the way Effie is supposed to, not only on "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," but throughout, from "the Dreamettes"' first song, "Move," to "Dreamgirls (Finale)," with convincing performances of "Love You I Do," "I Am Changing," and "One Night Only" in between. It is striking that, while Holliday won the Tony Award for Best Actress for Dreamgirls the stage musical, Hudson entered the 2006-2007 movie awards season being touted for Best Supporting Actress nominations for the same part in the film version. But on the soundtrack album, at least, the added attention given to her co-stars is a minor complaint. To work, Dreamgirls requires one major talent, and Jennifer Hudson is it for the screen version, just as Jennifer Holliday was on-stage. Meanwhile, this deluxe edition of the soundtrack rights a wrong that dates back 25 years. On-stage, the music in Dreamgirls practically never stopped, with lots of incidental songs and even much of the dialogue delivered as recitative with underscoring. But the original Broadway cast album didn't have room for that much music, and a lot of it was never recorded. Admittedly, the songs that were jettisoned, such as the extra numbers in the talent show sequence at the top of the show, were minor, and the recitative was actually better forgotten. But theater music fans would have preferred a more complete recording, and some of that preference is satisfied here, with lost songs from the show such as "I'm Lookin' for Something," "Goin' Downtown," "Takin' the Long Way Home," "I Want You Baby," "Heavy," "I'm Somebody," "Step on Over," and "Effie, Sing My Song" featured for the first time on disc. (Meanwhile, "Ain't No Party" has been cut.) "It's All Over," one of the recitative pieces, which is the scene preceding "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," is also here, and it shows that this kind of material doesn't work well in mere audio. (Actually, it doesn't work very well in the movie, either.) "Perfect World," a newly written incidental song, is a curiosity. For the show, Krieger made a point of never writing outright copies or parodies of Motown songs, but "Perfect World" is a spot-on re-creation of an early Jackson 5 number like "ABC," and it is performed in the film by a group clearly meant to suggest the Jackson 5. The result is a cheap laugh, a gratuitous swipe at the hapless Michael Jackson, and it demonstrates perfectly why Krieger was wise to avoid this kind of thing originally. Also included are radically altered dance mixes of "One Night Only" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (the former done in a late-'70s, electronic Euro-disco style, as if by Donna Summer with Giorgio Moroder producing), and the album concludes with Krieger's vocal-and-piano demo of "Patience." These tracks make for entertaining extras. [This is the Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack.]

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beyoncé   Vocals
Jennifer Hudson   Vocals
Jamie Foxx   Vocals
Eddie Murphy   Vocals
John Beasley   Piano
Robert Becker   Viola
Denyse Buffum   Viola
Darius Campo   Violin
Larry Corbett   Cello
Darrell Crooks   Guitar
Nathan East   Bass
Stephen Erdody   Cello
Armen Garabedian   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Endre Granat   Violin
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Alan Grunfeld   Violin
Jerry Hey   Trumpet
Dan Higgins   Saxophone
Stephen Holtman   Trombone
Peter Kent   Violin
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Cynthia Moussas   Violin
Greg Phillinganes   Piano
Michele Richards   Violin
Anatoly Rosinsky   Violin
Haim Shtrum   Violin
David Stenske   Viola
Kristin Wilkinson   Viola
John Wittenberg   Violin
Kenneth Yerks   Violin
Gayle Levant   Harp
Susan Chatman   Violin
Daniel Smith   Cello
Damon Thomas   Keyboards
Michael Hart Thompson   Guitar
Larry Greene   Choir, Chorus
Suzie Katayama   Cello
Mario Diaz de Leon   Violin
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone
Tim Carmon   Piano
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet
Glendon Campbell   Drums
Harvey Mason   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Kevin Randolph   Piano,Keyboards
Gordon Campbell   Drums
Sara Parkins   Violin
Julian Hallmark   Violin
Roberto Cani   Violin
Richard Bowers   Choir, Chorus
Daphne Chen   Violin
Eric D. Jackson   Guitar
John Hayhurst   Viola
Eric King   Choir, Chorus
Randy Spendlove   Guitar,Keyboards
Nicole Thrash   Choir, Chorus
Melissa Bereal   Choir, Chorus
Alyssa Park   Violin
Vanessa B. Freebairn Smith   Cello
Andrew Duckles   Viola
Kevin Shannon   Choir, Chorus
Jen Kuhn   Cello
Sharon Jackson   Violin
Rudolph Stein   Cello
Josefina Veraga   Violin
Natalie Ganther   Choir, Chorus
Nicole Ganther   Choir, Chorus
Camille Grigsby   Choir, Chorus
Cassandra Grigsby   Choir, Chorus
Tereza Stanislav   Violin
Erica L. King   Choir, Chorus
Frederick Fiddmont   Saxophone
James Johnson   Bass
Anthony Moore   Drums
Kalia Rafa   Choir, Chorus
Robert Thrash   Choir, Chorus
Dreamgirls Cast Ensemble   Vocals

Technical Credits

Jerry Hey   Arranger
Glen Brunman   Soundtrack Executive Producer
Damon Thomas   Arranger
Underdogs   Arranger,Producer
Erwin Gorostiza   Art Direction
Tim Carmon   Arranger
Damon Intrabartolo   Arranger
Richie Jones   Producer,Remixing
Harvey Mason   Arranger
Beyoncé Knowles   Producer
Mathew Knowles   Soundtrack Executive Producer
Randy Spendlove   Arranger
Dabling Harward   Engineer
Chris Spilfogel   Engineer
Billy Condon   Arranger,Liner Notes,Soundtrack Executive Producer
Matt Sullivan   Arranger
Deborah Lurie   Arranger
Fusako Chubachi   Art Direction
Henry Krieger   Arranger
Frank Rich   Author
David Campbell   Arranger

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Dreamgirls 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What can I say? Dreamgirls is the best movie musical since West Side Story. The singing will blow you away! Like the great Jennifer Holiday before her, Jennifer Hudson lives up to the task and moves you with her powerful voice. Eddie Murphy is crazy and awesome as Jimmy Early, and Beyonce makes the perfect Deena. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, and the music is perfect. "The musical for people who don't like musicals" will also saticfy musical lovers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought Jennifer Hudson was fabulous. The music just took me away. Loved it . I play the CD all the time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a great great fan of Jennifer Holliday and agree that she is a phenominal singer. Jennifer Holliday provided the blueprint for Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Hudson "walked with it"! You can't/shouldn't compare the two because both singers are "moving and powerful" in their rendition of the song!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I figured with musical talents like Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, this Cd would be better. Jennifer Hudson has a great voice, but is no match for the original Jennifer Holiday. Once you hear Jennifer Holiday sing "I am telling you I am not Leaving," Hudson's voice just can't match up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago