When It Comes Down to It: 1968-1977

When It Comes Down to It: 1968-1977

by Liza Minnelli
     
 

"Forget Cabaret, proposes Australian music journalist Glenn A. Baker at the outset of his liner notes to When It Comes Down to It: 1968-1977, Raven Records' Liza Minnelli compilation. Baker, who also conceived and compiled the album, thus sets forward the contrarian view of Minnelli's career that his selections from some of her studio albums of the late See more details below

Overview

"Forget Cabaret, proposes Australian music journalist Glenn A. Baker at the outset of his liner notes to When It Comes Down to It: 1968-1977, Raven Records' Liza Minnelli compilation. Baker, who also conceived and compiled the album, thus sets forward the contrarian view of Minnelli's career that his selections from some of her studio albums of the late '60s and '70s explore. He complains that most accounts of her give short shrift to this material, which interests him because of its connection to Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen, her first husband, and other singer/songwriters of the period, such as Randy Newman, who is tapped for the first four tracks. Although Minnelli came up as a Broadway stage star and nightclub performer in the mid-'60s, as a recording artist she faced the same problem as the generation of singers including her mother, Judy Garland, in that period. With the onset of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, such singers, endlessly recycling the works of Cole Porter and George Gershwin, were rendered commercially marginal. The solution many record executives hit upon was to have these singers record the songs of the new young songwriters. When Minnelli, still only in her early twenties, signed her second record contract with A&M Records after a 1963-1966 stint at Capitol, the new label had her perform songs by Newman, John Denver, and Gordon Lightfoot, among others, on her first two A&M LPs, Liza Minnelli (1968) and Come Saturday Morning (1970). Baker ignores Minnelli's next A&M album, New Feelin', on which she took the opposite tack, recording traditional pop standards in rock & roll arrangements. He also skips 1972's Live at the Olympia in Paris and Liza with a Z since these concert recordings don't fit in with his concept. On 1973's Liza Minnelli, The Singer and 1977's Tropical Nights (both recorded for Columbia Records), Minnelli again tried contemporary material, and tracks from those albums conclude the collection. The trouble is that Minnelli was much more at home with traditional pop than with the work of the singer/songwriters of the late '60s and '70s. Right from the start of this album, as she tackles Newman's "Love Story," she entirely misses his irony. It's not that she doesn't seem to know the song has more than one level, but as a performer she is only capable of interpreting it on the surface. She can't get away from trying to be a likeable entertainer at all times, which makes her reading of another Newman song, "So Long Dad," sound so foolish. Newman's narrator is glib and mean to his father; Minnelli just can't pull that off. She is actually much better at getting to the heart of a more mediocre pop song like Sonny Bono's divorce ballad "You Better Sit Down Kids," which she does as a medley with "Married" from Cabaret (guess it can't be forgotten even here). Bono's plainly stated sentiments are ones she can sink her teeth into, just as she can appreciate the feelings of separation in "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," a song about the entertainer's traveling life. On the later material, she often sounds like she's just trying to hold her own against unsympathetic dance arrangements of songs like "Dancing in the Moonlight" and "When It Comes Down to It," the latter a Minnie Riperton composition that calls to mind the odd picture of Liza Minnelli fronting Earth, Wind & Fire. The best performances in this album of oddities include songs actually written for Minnelli or ones she clearly feels connected to. Among them are "Come Saturday Morning," the theme song for her 1970 film The Sterile Cuckoo and "The Singer," which sounds like something she might actually perform in concert. Best of all, especially for Minnelli fans, are the tracks rescued from non-LP singles, particularly both sides of a 45 that contained two of Allen's better compositions, "Harbour" and "More Than I Like You." These are the hidden gems on a Liza Minnelli collection that otherwise fails to prove its compiler's assertion that her work as a pop
ock interpretive singer is worthy of more consideration than this minor aspect of her recording career has attracted before.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/09/2004
Label:
Raven [australia]
UPC:
0612657017722
catalogNumber:
177

Tracks

  1. Love Story
  2. The Debutante's Ball
  3. Happyland
  4. So Long Dad
  5. For No One
  6. Wherefore and Why
  7. Wailing of the Willow
  8. You Better Sit Down Kids
  9. Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy
  10. Leavin' on a Jet Plane
  11. Don't Let Me Lose This Dream
  12. Come Saturday Morning
  13. (The Tragedy Of) Buttefly McHeart
  14. Simon
  15. Harbour
  16. More Than I Like You
  17. Mr. Emery Won't Be Home
  18. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
  19. Dancing in the Moonlight
  20. I Believe in Music
  21. Use Me
  22. The Singer
  23. I'd Love You to Want Me
  24. I Love Every Little Thing About You
  25. When It Comes Down to It
  26. Come Home Babe

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Liza Minnelli   Primary Artist
Steve Morse   Guitar

Technical Credits

Mac Davis   Composer
Gordon Lightfoot   Composer
John Denver   Composer
Aretha Franklin   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Lobo   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Randy Newman   Composer
Harry Nilsson   Composer
Minnie Riperton   Composer
James Taylor   Composer
Bill Withers   Composer
Peter Allen   Composer
Peter Matz   Arranger
Gene Page   Arranger
Dory Previn   Composer
Jim Grady   Arranger,Composer
Alan Bergman   Composer
Marilyn Bergman   Composer
Sonny Bono   Composer
Capps   Arranger
Michel Colombier   Arranger
Nick DeCaro   Arranger
Tommy "Snuff" Garrett   Producer
Dick Hazard   Arranger
J. Hill   Arranger
Fred Karlin   Composer
Sherman Kelly   Composer
Carl Maduri   Producer
Steve March   Producer
Larry Marks   Producer
Rik Pekkonen   Producer
Richard Rudolph   Composer
Brian Stone   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Glenn A. Baker   Liner Notes,Concept,Annotation
Warren Barnett   Mastering
Fred Ebb   Liner Notes
Walter Marks   Composer
Ted White   Composer
Craig Peihopa   Artwork

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