Essential Barbara

The Essential Barbara

4.5 2
by Barbara Cook
DRG Records' box set The Essential Barbara contains six discs, including two of Cook's studio albums (Close as Pages in a Book [1993] and All I Ask of You [1999]); two of her live albums (Live from London [1994] and Barbara Cook


DRG Records' box set The Essential Barbara contains six discs, including two of Cook's studio albums (Close as Pages in a Book [1993] and All I Ask of You [1999]); two of her live albums (Live from London [1994] and Barbara Cook at the Met [2006]); her home video Mostly Sondheim (2003); and an EP, Give Me the Simple Life, containing four newly recorded songs intended for a future album. Cook's tenure with DRG began with Close as Pages in a Book, a tribute album to Broadway lyricist Dorothy Fields, when the singer was already in her mid-sixties and had behind her an extensive career as a star of musical theater, plus a couple of decades of concert work. It has continued for more than 15 years, producing, as of 2009, 12 albums. The four included here make for a reasonable sampling of that catalog, in which Cook, usually accompanied by arranger/pianist Wally Harper and other musicians ranging from a small jazz band to a small orchestra, addresses a selection of songs taken mostly from the musical theater and sometimes from her own shows, but also from the Tin Pan Alley of the interwar period and even from contemporary (albeit, non-pop
ock) sources. Thus, on Live from London, she may take on "Beauty and the Beast" from the then-current musical of the same name, and mix it with "Never Never Land" from Peter Pan; try mid-century Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer songs like "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"; and include newly written songs by younger songwriters such as the poignant "Errol Flynn" by Amanda McBroom and "Sweet Dreams" by John Bucchino. By opting to create a box set that simply repackages existing releases for the most part, DRG almost inevitably repeats songs, as Cook sings some of the same numbers in the studio and in her concerts. Several songs are heard twice, and Stephen Sondheim's "In Buddy's Eyes" and "Losing My Mind," as well as Arlen and Mercer's "I Had Myself a True Love," each turn up three times. The Mostly Sondheim video (which, by the way, is an entirely different performance from the Cook CD of the same name) gives the strongest sense of her as a live performer, including far more between-song remarks to the audience. It also includes a Cook master class in which she instructs students, although the interview that is another of the extras only relates to the master class, not to her career in general. The EP material suggests that, although over 80, she is still in good voice and ready to continue her DRG discography with another fine recording.

Product Details

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Disc 1

  1. It's Not Where You Start
  2. Close as Pages in a Book
  3. I Can't Give You Anything But Love [from the Broadway Show Blackbirds o
  4. Make the Man Love Me
  5. Exactly Like You
  6. April Snow
  7. Don't Blame Me
  8. I'm in the Mood for Love
  9. On the Sunny Side of the Street [from the Broadway Show International R
  10. The Way You Look Tonight
  11. Bojangles of Harlem
  12. I Must Have That Man!
  13. April Fooled Me/I'm Way Ahead

Disc 2

  1. Sing a Song with Me/Let Me Sing and I'm Happy
  2. Beauty and the Best/Never Never Land
  3. Can You Read My Mind
  4. Come Rain or Come Shine
  5. Ship in a Bottle
  6. Sweet Dreams
  7. I See Your Face Before Me
  8. I'm Beginning to See the Light
  9. I Had Myself a True Love
  10. Sweet Georgia Brown
  11. Errol Flynn
  12. Love Don't Need a Reason
  13. He Was Too Good to Me/Losing My Mind
  14. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive
  15. Why Did I Choose You
  16. In Between Goodbyes

Disc 3

  1. All I Ask of You
  2. New Sun in the Sky /On a Clear Day You Can See Fore
  3. A Wonderful Guy
  4. The Very Next Man
  5. In Buddy's Eyes
  6. I Wonder What Became of Me?
  7. You're an Builder-Upper
  8. Glad Rag Doll
  9. He Loves Me
  10. Medley: Dear Friend/Will He Like Me?/Tonight Aat Eight/Ice Cream [From
  11. Somewhere
  12. We'll Be Together Again

Disc 4

  1. If They Could See Me Now
  2. It's Not Where You Start
  3. It Might as Well Be Spring
  4. A Wonderful Guy
  5. I Had Myself a True Love
  6. Another Hundred People/So Many People
  7. The Gentleman Is a Dope
  8. Them There Eyes
  9. Sweet Dreams
  10. Errol Flynn
  11. Introductions of Audra McDonald
  12. When Did I Fall in Love?
  13. Blue Skies
  14. Last Night When We Were in Buddy's Eyes Young
  15. In Buddy's Eyes
  16. Nashville Nightingale
  17. Introduction of Josh Groban
  18. Not While I'm Around
  19. Move On
  20. This Nearly Was Mine
  21. Not a Day Foes By/Losing My Mind
  22. We'll Be Together Again

Disc 5

  1. Everybody Says Don't
  2. Buds Won't Bud
  3. I Wonder What Became of Me
  4. The Eagle and Me
  5. I Had Myself a True Love [Multimedia Track
  6. Another Hundred People /So Many People [From Saturday Nig
  7. In Buddy's Eyes
  8. I Got Lost in His Arms [Multimedia Trac
  9. You Can't Get a Man With a Gun [Multime
  10. Medley:Hard Hearted Hannah/Waiting for the Robert E. Le/San Francisco [
  11. When in Rome (I Do as the Romas Do)
  12. Happiness
  13. Loving You
  14. You Could Drive a Person Crazy
  15. Send in the Clowns
  16. Ice Cream
  17. Not a Day Goes By /Losing My Mind [From Fol
  18. The Trolley Song
  19. Anyone Can Whistle

Disc 6

  1. Give Me the Simple Life
  2. It Was Written in the Stars
  3. I've Got You Under My Skin
  4. I'f Rather Be Blue

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Barbara Cook   Primary Artist
William Galison   Harmonica
Jay Berliner   Banjo,Guitar
David Nadien   Violin
Martin Agee   Violin
Dennis Anderson   Clarinet,English Horn,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
John Barclay   Trumpet
Jon Burr   Bass
Ronald Carbone   Viola
Roger Clark   French Horn
Harvey Estrin   Clarinet,Flute,Piccolo,Saxophone
Lawrence Feldman   Clarinet,Flute,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Woodwind
Barry Finclair   Viola
John Frosk   Trumpet
Jack Gale   Trombone
Jill Jaffe   Viola
Susan Jolles   Harp
Regis Landiorio   Violin
Chris Laurence   Bass
Larry Lunetta   Trumpet
Charles McCracken   Cello
Bob Millikan   Trumpet
Sharon Moe   French Horn
Brian O'Flaherty   Trumpet
Jim Pugh   Trombone
John Redsecker   Drums
Marilyn Reynolds   Violin
Russ Rizner-French   French Horn
Roger Rosenberg   Saxophone
Ralph Salmins   Drums
Jim Saporito   Percussion,Drums
Jack Schatz   Bass Trombone
Richard Sortomme   Violin
Hugh Webb   Harp
Masako Yanagita   Violin
Frederick Zlotkin   Cello
Emanuel Vardi   Viola
Maura Giannini   Violin
Michael Kosarin   Piano
Ashley Horne   Violin
Peter Donovan   Bass
Jonathan Barritt   Viola
Mike Eaves   Guitar
Richard Sarpola   Bass
Anne Callahan   Cello
James Saporito   Percussion
David Bargeron   Trombone
Julian Barber   Viola
Lanny Paykin   Cello

Technical Credits

Leonard Bernstein   Composer
Sigmund Romberg   Composer
Stephen Sondheim   Composer
Michael Callen   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Barbara Cook   Liner Notes
Amanda McBroom   Composer
Cy Coleman   Composer
Johnny Hodges   Composer
Harry James   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Peter Allen   Composer
Peter Matz   Arranger
Sheridan Morley   Liner Notes
John Bucchino   Composer
Sheldon Harnick   Composer,Liner Notes
Jerome Kern   Composer
Howard Ashman   Composer
Ben Bernie   Composer
Leslie Bricusse   Composer
Billy Byers   Arranger
Howard Dietz   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer,Lyricist
Hugh Fordin   Producer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Adolph Green   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Gordon Hunt   Composer
Michael Leonard   Composer
Alan Menken   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Arthur Schwartz   Composer
Jule Styne   Composer
Jack Yellen   Composer
David Zippel   Composer
Cynthia Daniels   Producer,Engineer,Remixing
Michael Kosarin   Arranger
Wally Harper   Composer
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Kenneth Casey   Composer
Don George   Composer
Marsha Malamet   Composer
Herbert Martin   Composer
Anthony Tommasini   Liner Notes
Walter Jurmann   Composer
Mack Schlefer   Arranger
Schwartz   Composer
Michael Gibson   Arranger
Jurmann   Composer
Lerner   Composer
Fischer   Composer

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The Essential Barbara 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
rossberliner More than 1 year ago
There is only one word necessary to describe the singing and showmanship of Barbara Cook. The word is OUTSTANDING. Ms Cook does not merely use her still supple voice to caress the song; she interprets the words and creates a dramatic inner life to each selection. The listener can understand every word. Her personal touch in dialogue is charming. The addition of a DVD of one of her stage performances is a very important extra benefit allowing the listener to see and bask in the stage magic that is Barbara Cook.
aficionadoDR More than 1 year ago
I first heard Barbara Cook as Marian the Librarian in "The Music Man" on Broadway in the mid-1960's. I have heard her a number of times since, though never again in person. Her voice is stronger and richer than ever, her choice of material impeccable, and every song is informed by her intelligence and the honesty of her delivery. One one disc only, for whatever reason, a number of her high notes had some rough edges. I don't know if this was the result of hard use or questionable engineering, but it did detract. My only other caveat is that one of the discs in the collection was faulty and would not play at all, Summary: buy the collection.