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Dreamgirls [Original Broadway Cast Album]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Dreamgirls, the longest running musical to open during the 1981-1982 Broadway season, was a triumph of staging for director and Tony-winning co-choreographer Michael Bennett, who kept it moving with a cinematic flow, aided by the imaginative work of scenic designer Robin Wagner and Tony-winning lighting designer Tharon Musser, who placed the action within an ever-shifting group of lighting towers that made for instant scene changes. Tony-winning librettist Tom Eyen's story concerned the upwardly mobile aspirations of African-Americans in the music business in the 1960s and early '70s; specifically, it was a fictionalized retelling of the rise and fall of the Supremes ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Dreamgirls, the longest running musical to open during the 1981-1982 Broadway season, was a triumph of staging for director and Tony-winning co-choreographer Michael Bennett, who kept it moving with a cinematic flow, aided by the imaginative work of scenic designer Robin Wagner and Tony-winning lighting designer Tharon Musser, who placed the action within an ever-shifting group of lighting towers that made for instant scene changes. Tony-winning librettist Tom Eyen's story concerned the upwardly mobile aspirations of African-Americans in the music business in the 1960s and early '70s; specifically, it was a fictionalized retelling of the rise and fall of the Supremes as a vehicle for examining the ways in which gritty R&B was smoothed into mainstream pop for crossover success at Motown Records. Although his treatment was heavy-handed, if anything Eyen softened the facts in his version. As had happened with the Supremes, one member of the group was shunted aside for another who was more photogenic. But Eyen's creation, Effie Melody White, was closer to Aretha Franklin than to her nominal model, Florence Ballard. And unlike Ballard, who died of a heart attack at 32 in 1976, Effie succeeded on her own. Meanwhile, in a wholly invented subplot, a James Brown-like character, James Thunder Early, also rebelled against homogenization, but with less happy results. In addition to Bennett's dazzling staging, Dreamgirls had some powerful performances going for it, starting with that of Jennifer Holliday, who, as Effie, sang the show-stopping "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," and also including Ben Harney, who played Curtis Taylor, Jr., the stand-in for Berry Gordy, Jr., and Cleavant Derricks, who played Early; all three won Tony Awards. If the score to Dreamgirls, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Eyen, came in for belated attention after the production and the performances, that was because, while above average for Broadway, it was compromised by having to do too much. First, it had to compete credibly with the actual black pop and R&B music of the '60s as released by Motown, Atlantic, and other labels. Second, it had to express the themes of the show. So, for example, James Thunder Early had a song called "Fake Your Way to the Top," the lyrics for which expressed the show's criticism of show business, while Derricks was expected to sing it as though it were a regular R&B song. A greater problem was that, in order to maintain the pace of the show, Krieger and Eyen had to create a lot of recitative in which the characters delivered what was essentially dialogue set to music. In his liner notes, Kevin Kelly comes up with excuses why most of that recitative and some songs by lesser acts have been excised for the cast recording. He needn't have bothered. The album is actually better for sticking with the actual songs for the most part. That discipline helped the disc become a considerable hit, especially considering how poorly cast albums were selling in the early '80s. It made both the pop and the black charts and went gold as "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" topped the black singles chart and went Top 40 pop on its way to winning Holliday a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Two other songs, Holliday's second-act showcase "I Am Changing" and "When I First Saw You," by Harney and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who played Diana Ross clone Deena Jones, also made the black singles chart, and the recording as a whole won the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Listening to the Dreamgirls cast album is no substitute for seeing the show, but the songs do provide platforms for some outstanding performers, and they give a sense of the highlights of the plot. Just don't expect Motown's greatest hits. Prepared to mark both the 25th anniversary of the show and the opening of the movie version, the two-CD special edition of the Dreamgirls cast album expanded the recording with five minutes of extra material recorded at the original sessions, mainly a chunk of recitative called "It's All Over" that came just before "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Kelly's liner notes were edited to remove his justification for the shorter version of the album. This was not an improvement, and neither was the second disc, which consisted largely of the instrumental tracks of some of the songs, originally prepared so that the performers could sing over them at promotional appearances, plus a "mix" of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" that was actually a disco-styled re-recording. Minus the vocals, the music sounded much more like '80s black pop music than it did like anything from the '60s.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Decca U.S.
  • UPC: 720642200728
  • Catalog Number: 2007

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Move (You're Steppin' on My Heart) - Loretta Devine (1:56)
  2. 2 Fake Your Way to the Top - Loretta Devine (2:27)
  3. 3 Cadillac Car - Ben Harney (3:32)
  4. 4 Steppin' to the Bad Side - Ben Harney (3:44)
  5. 5 Family - Ben Harney (3:19)
  6. 6 Dreamgirls - Loretta Devine (3:14)
  7. 7 Press Conference - Ben Harney (1:40)
  8. 8 And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going - Jennifer Holliday (4:05)
  9. 9 Ain't No Party - Loretta Devine (2:08)
  10. 10 When I First Saw You - Ben Harney (2:41)
  11. 11 I Am Changing - Jennifer Holliday (3:59)
  12. 12 I Meant You No Harm - Cleavant Derricks (1:05)
  13. 13 The Rap - Cleavant Derricks (1:41)
  14. 14 Firing of Jimmy - Ben Harney (2:36)
  15. 15 I Miss You Old Friend - Obba Babatunde (1:33)
  16. 16 One Night Only - Loretta Devine (3:42)
  17. 17 Hard to Say Goodbye, My Love - Loretta Devine (3:36)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jennifer Holliday Track Performer
Mike Lawrence Trumpet
Dennis Anderson Woodwind
Eluriel Tinker Barfield Bass
Bruce Bonvissuto Trombone
Brian Brake Drums
Debbie Burrell Track Performer
Katherine Cash Violin
Myles Chase Keyboards
Vincent Della-Rocca Woodwind
Gayle Dixon Violin
Katsuko Esaki Violin
Tony Franklin Track Performer
David Gale Trumpet
Jerry Kail Trumpet
Jeanne LeBlanc Cello
Seymour Red Press Woodwind
Joe Randazzo Trombone
Marilyn Reynolds Violin
Janice Robinson Trombone
Sol Schlinger Woodwind
Maxine Roach Violin
Terry Woitach Violin
Andrew Schwartz Guitar
Nick Cerrato Percussion
Yolanda Segovia Conductor
Allen Spanjer French Horn
Sheryl Lee Ralph Track Performer
Cleavant Derricks Track Performer
Obba Babatunde Track Performer
Loretta Devine Track Performer
Comp Track Performer
Ben Harney Track Performer
Technical Credits
David Foster Producer
Humberto Gatica Engineer
Harold Wheeler Arranger
Kevin Kelly Liner Notes
Tom Eyen Lyricist
Henry Krieger Composer
Ian Gales Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This Show Is Unique And So Good To Listen To!

    Dreamgirls is wonderful. With a shining cast,amazing and original music, a great story line, this show stands out as one of Broadway's best shows. Jennifer Holliday is a powerhouse with her voice and can bring down the house with "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going". No musical lover should miss out on this CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the best there is...

    I saw dreamgirls twice on broadway. Spectacular both time!!! I was born and raised in NYC and have seen alot of plays...Dreamsgirls remain my favorite. I still have the Dreamgirls program, album and the sweatshirt!! Oh how I wish I could see Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Jennifer Holiday on stage one more time!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Dreamgirls,they made me happy

    I love this soundtrack. This is the best broadway show ever. I wish I could see it live. My Favorite songs are One Night Only,and Hard To Say Goodbye My Love. Their's a great line when they say ''We didn't make forever, how could we lose tommorow?'' I don't know what they mean but I love it. I love the story ,but I wish it had all the songs . My favorite charecter is Deena Jones, which is easy because I love Diana Ross. I don't think it's the supremes story,but somethings are dej vu. It really shows the seedy and cut throat side of the music industry, Like when Curtis stop Effie's song to promote a more diso flavored version on the dreams. Also it shows how fickle the buisness can be like when James''Thunder'' Early was cast aside because of the growing disco craze and he wasn't really willing to follow the fad and decided to stay a soul singer. So his time passed and his carrer was over. The real villian was CurtisTaylor who crossed everyone. He really wanted to makeit,and he meant well but his tatics were wrong. I really love this soundtrack and I think their should really be a movie and revival.

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