It's Better With a Band [Bonus Tracks]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Barbara Cook established her second career as a nightclub and concert singer with her 1975 Carnegie Hall debut and the album At Carnegie Hall that was culled from it by Columbia Records. She followed two years later with a Columbia studio set, As of Today. By 1980, she and the major label had parted ways, but her performing career was as successful as ever. So, she returned to Carnegie Hall on September 14, 1980, with a new show, this time recorded by the Moss Music Group for 1981's It's Better With a Band. As the title suggested, Cook had augmented her accompaniment for the occasion. Musical director/pianist Wally Harper was still on hand, of course, but so were 15 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Barbara Cook established her second career as a nightclub and concert singer with her 1975 Carnegie Hall debut and the album At Carnegie Hall that was culled from it by Columbia Records. She followed two years later with a Columbia studio set, As of Today. By 1980, she and the major label had parted ways, but her performing career was as successful as ever. So, she returned to Carnegie Hall on September 14, 1980, with a new show, this time recorded by the Moss Music Group for 1981's It's Better With a Band. As the title suggested, Cook had augmented her accompaniment for the occasion. Musical director/pianist Wally Harper was still on hand, of course, but so were 15 other musicians, including three horns, three reeds, a percussion section, a string quartet, and a harp. That was just enough instrumentation, and just varied enough, to give her the suggestion of a big band here or an orchestra there. And she and Harper used that variety in a varied selection of songs. Although Cook's background was in the musical theater, she did not feel bound to perform only show tunes. On the contrary, she reached back to the Tin Pan Alley of the 1920s and '30s for two standards co-written by Maceo Pinkard, "Them There Eyes" and "Sweet Georgia Brown," while also making her own series of contemporary pop songs including Nilsson's "Remember," Melissa Manchester's "Come in From the Rain," and Laura Nyro's "I Never Meant to Hurt You." And, with Harper stepping in as composer, she introduced some specially written material that included in-jokes about her career for the benefit of her audience. Harper's novelty "The Ingenue," with lyrics by David Zippel, for instance, was a comic lament in the style of a Gilbert & Sullivan patter song about the travails of being an ingénue as Cook had been, among its complaints, "Movie roles you live to play/They give to Shirley Jones to play" as the producers of the film version of The Music Man did after Cook originated the co-starring part of Marian the librarian on-stage. Best of all was a medley of four Leonard Bernstein songs that somehow made its way from the reverent "Simple Song" to the racy "I Can Cook, Too," a journey that worked because Cook was capable of making it and taking her listeners along. In 2002, DRG Records reissued It's Better With a Band. With the greater time available on CD, the new version was 14 minutes longer, adding five songs performed in the show but left off the 1981 LP: Harper's introductory "Sing a Song With Me," Peter Allen's "Inside," Sylvia Fine's "Lullaby in Ragtime," Jerry Herman's "Marianne" from the musical The Grand Tour, and Harper's "Another Mr. Right Left." Also, with the exception of Noël Coward's "If Love Were All," which was placed at the end, the songs were re-sequenced to reflect the actual running order of the concert.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2002
  • Label: Drg
  • UPC: 021471147520
  • Catalog Number: 91475
  • Sales rank: 156,647

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Barbara Cook Primary Artist, Vocals
John Beal Electric Bass, Double Bass
Mort Bullman Trombone
John Frosk Trumpet
Hank Jaramillo Drums
Leo Kahn Violin
Steve Little Percussion
Sue Pray Violin
Brooks Tillotson French Horn
Sidney Weinberg English Horn, Oboe, Tenor Saxophone
Gene Moye Cello
Michael Spivakowsky Violin
Wally Harper Piano
Jim Mitchell Banjo, Guitar
Red Press Clarinet, Flute, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute, Piccolo, Alto Saxophone
Sally Foster Harp
Sam Pilafian Tuba, Soloist
Technical Credits
Leonard Bernstein Composer, Liner Notes
Stephen Sondheim Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Melissa Manchester Composer
Harry Nilsson Composer
Laura Nyro Composer
Noël Coward Composer
Peter Allen Composer
Carole Bayer Sager Composer
Luther Henderson Orchestration
Jerry Herman Composer
Ben Bernie Composer
Betty Comden Composer
Adolph Green Composer
Tom Jung Engineer
Joe Raposo Composer
Alan Silverman Remastering
John Wilson Liner Notes
David Zippel Composer
Jeff Gans Cover Design
Wally Harper Composer, Producer, Music Direction
Lucas Deaver Art Direction
Sylvia Fine Composer
Mack Schlefer Orchestration
Hal Prince Liner Notes
Maceo Pinkard Composer
Kenneth Casey Composer
Doris Tauber Composer
William Tracey Composer
Bill Brohn Orchestration
Stephen Schwartz Composer
Dan O'Leary Producer
Jeffrey S. Herbert Cover Photo
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