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1. Dana Owens Album
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2. The Ultimate Collection [DVD]
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3. The Voice of the Sparrow: The
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4. Dresden Dolls
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5. Chicago (The Miramax Motion Picture
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6. Bette Midler Sings The Rosemary
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7. Motifs
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8. Live at Tavern on the Green
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9. All for You: A Dedication to the
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10. Love Scenes
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11. Sleepless In Seattle: Original
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12. Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday
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13. Dancing in the Dark
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14. Triplets of Belleville (Score)
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15. The Boy from Oz (2003 Original
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16. Get Away From Me
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17. At Last
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18. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well
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19. Capitol Sings Cole Porter: Anything
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20. Comic Strip

1. Dana Owens Album
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B0002XL1XU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 91
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Amazon.com

Everyone grows up…even rappers. Pioneering female MC Queen Latifah shows a newfound level of maturity on The Dana Owens Album.A set of standards the rapper/actress decided to cover, the album features a host of jazz classics and R&B favorites.

Latifah is at her seductive best when playing the sultry siren on Al Green's "Simply Beautiful." With a little help from Green himself, Latifah's vocals slide over the warm, organ-drenched instrumental. The result is one that works today as well as it would have several years ago. Similarly, the big band-backed "Baby Get Lost" swings with bluesy groove that is pure nostalgia.

However, it's when Latifah mines more standard fare that the album seems to hita snag. Fans of James Moody's "Moody's Mood for Love" may want to skip Latifah's version as it misses the subtle perfection of the original. Her rendition of "I Put a Spell On You" doesn't falter, but it's not impressive either. It ends up being the kind of performance that finds you constantly waiting for more but never getting it. The same can be said for her cover of the Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'."

That said, with Latifah's recent critically acclaimed turn in the film Chicago the timing for this album couldn't have been better. And with help from legendary producer Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin), The Dana Owens Album is an interesting and impressive new chapter in the star's diverse career. --Rashaun Hall

Amazon.com Exclusive
Hear an exclusive audio stream of Queen Latifah’s "What Is This Thing Called Love."

... Read more


2. The Ultimate Collection [DVD]
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Asin: B0007X9U2Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 439
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Billie Holiday (1917-59) wore gardenias, was a teenaged prostitute,did drugs, and died with a cop posted outside her hospital bed.But withher gravel-like vocals, and behind-the-beat phrasing, she was one ofthe greatest singers of the twentieth century. This multimedia collectioncommemorates her ninetieth birthday. Two CDs contain forty two of hergreatest hits, from her 1935 stint with Benny Goodman, to her chilling 1958strings album, Lady inSatin. It features her signature songs like "Good MorningHeartache," "God Bless the Child," and her unforgettable anti-lynchingnumber "Strange Fruit." The DVD includes film cameos withDuke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, photographs, posters, rehearsals andinterviews with friends and musicians, including a rediscovered 1956 radiobroadcast with a young Mike Wallace.Her achy artistry is timeless, and asAshley Kahn wrote in his superb liner notes, "Billie will be there tonight,tomorrow night and a long time to come." --Eugene Holley, Jr. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Billie Holiday - by far the best ever
I purchased this collection solely for the DVD that's included because I have all of the other audio material.The DVD is great!It leaves you wishing for more.It's a pity that this is all we have of the best jazz singer of all time.I'd like to see a movie made of her life;a true story, not the bunk that they gave us with "Lady Sings The Blues" back in the 70's.If you do not own any of Billie's music this is a great starting place.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate starting point (collectors take notice, too)!
It seems as if every year or two we're looking at a new and improved Billie Holiday anthology, and THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION is the latest and probably best Lady Day introduction to date.As others have mentioned, this set covers her entire career via 42 tracks on two CDs.The set is skimpy on Billie's first decade (albeit we do get such gems as "God Bless The Child").However, you can easily balance that out by one additional purchase: the highly-recommended 2-CD set LADY DAY: THE BEST OF BILLIE HOLIDAY on Sony, which has 38 key tracks from the early years (only three of which are repeated here).Several key tracks from her 1939-1944 Commodore sessions (including "Strange Fruit") and the 1942 cut "Trav'lin' Light" (with Paul Whiteman) offer further proof of this set's wide reach in covering her career.

Being that the set is produced in collaboration with the Decca and Verve labels, the last fifteen years of Billie's career get excellent coverage.There's a certain point in the 1950s where some Lady Day fans mourn the perceived wear-and-tear in her voice,while others such as myself celebrate the deeper emotive power and increasingly inventive melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic chances she takes with classic pop tunes.Even so, by the final track "I'm A Fool To Want You" (from the much-debated 1958 LADY IN SATIN album) it's difficult for most listeners to not feel 1) pushed away by her fading voice and 2) pulled back in by the communicative power of her heart-on-sleeve phrasing (one error in the set's booklet: this cut is not from her last session).

The DVD has an effective mix of seen and unseen footage.The 1934 and 1946 movie appearances have been issued in their entirety: here we get some highlights.The key bit of material that will attract Billie Holiday collectors is some newly-uncovered 1956 footage from the STARS OF JAZZ television show (three songs), and there is a 1958 appearance, too.The most famous Lady Day clip (1957's all-star jam on "Fine And Mellow") is seen in its entirety.The DVD also has a clip of Billie's key influences Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, plus lots of other extras that are interesting but mostly not essential.Although some excellent Billie footage didn't make the cut, there's still enough of value on the DVD to recommend it.Add the timeless, extraordinary music on the CDs, and you've got a great introduction to arguably the greatest jazz vocalist of all-time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Lady Day is timeless&Will never go out of style.this is without a doubt the best all around Compilation on her Work&the DVD is a great collection as well. you get a chance to hear her voice&Material through various era's&whatnot. Her voice just had a way of hitting you emotionally that so few Artists ever reach that Zenith. Her Tone&Feel captures so many things all at once. she died far too young.She is One of My All time Favorite Artists in any Style of Music Period.

5-0 out of 5 stars KUDOS!!!
So many great things about this collection its hard to know where to start. This is the first collection to include tracks from ALL the record companies that Billie recorder, not even the Ken Burns compilation touched so much ground. There are tracks that are unavailable in CD until now, like 'Detour Ahead', a classic song. The remastering, specially for the Blue Note and Verve catalog is breathtaking, the best these sides have sounded ever. Package is beatiful, this is one of those Sound + Vision collections, like the Hendrix at Isle of Wight. It includes a COMPLETE sessionography, every session, dates, musicians, places of every song released commercially. It includes a timeline, which is a biography, year by year of the life of lady day,with dozens anddozens of pictures and scans of documents and letters. Wow!! I was really impressed. The DVD also includes a bunch of audio feautures, like interview with Billie, and people who knew Billie. There is a great segment of Billie rehearsing with Jimi Rowles that is pure gold. Live tracks with Basie. The video clips are not remastered, some of them look and sound preety rough. There are more videos of Billie out there, I wish they had included more. The CD's are too heavy on the Verve material, some more Columbia sides with Lester Young could have been better, and where is 'Autumm in New York'? Still, this is a five star collection, recommended both for newbies and long time fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, THE definitive overview .... ESSENTIAL
For years, there have been hundreds if not thousands of imports of Lady Day's music on subpar compilations that don't do her justice, various box sets put out by different record companies in the US (Columbia, Commodore, and Verve all have exhaustive box sets), but no true retrospective that covers the bases in one place.

Until now. This is one of the best collections of songs ever assembled in one place. Previous retrospectives were great, but because they were usually limited to the respective record label, they fell short.

In a way, if it wasn't for downloading as well as record companies finally being more willing to compromise, this probably wouldn't have been possible.

From one of her earliest recording sessions where she sings "Miss Brown To You" to her final recordings where she does "I'm A Fool To Want You", all 42 tracks are classics.

As if that wasn't enough, you're also getting a DVD of rare TV and film appearances, a lot of which have only been seen in documentaries (except the clips from the "New Orleans" movie Holiday and Louis Armstrong starred in and available on Amazon and contains the "Symphony in Black" short) It also has a few rare audio tracks as well as an interactive timeline. The only criticism (other than it having a slightly higher price tag than it should) is that I would've wanted the clip of "Strange Fruit" to have been included on here (unless I've overlooked it or it's an Easter Egg). But considering there's so little footage of Billie Holliday otherwise, the DVD alone is worth getting the collection for people who have bought previous collections.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is a music lover of any age. If you own Jeff Buckley, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra (who was a huge fan of hers) or Nina Simone (or liked Queen Latifah's foray into jazz) this should ABSOLUTELY be part of your music library. If you want to hear what a torch song is and one of the most significant figures of jazz music let alone music, you'll find it here. If you want to hear what is considered one of the most important songs of the 20th Century, it's here.

This is one of the best collections of music ever assembled, and warrants why more artists from the past should be putting out CD/DVD combos... This package is by far THE standard allcompilations should go by, versus the 1 CD packaging done for the millionth time just to keep an artist's name alive.

I can't say enough good things about it.

Frank Sinatra is another artist that should have a comprehensive overview out like this one versusdifferent record companies putting out the different eras. It strengthens a legacy as well as putting something comprehensive for future fans to enjoy.

(Side note: A couple of compilations that I found are called "Billy Remembers Billie" and "The Milt Gabler Story", which comedian Billy Crystal put together (and amazon.com has it as well). Crystal's uncle Milt Gabler produced Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and others like Louis Jordan and Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock". Crystal has talked about Holiday taking him to his first movie. There's something about personalized compilations that I like though...)

If there's one CD worth buying this year, this is the one. ... Read more


3. The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf
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our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002UYD
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1064
Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

The voice of Edith Piaf carries with it perhaps more national identity than that of any other recorded artist in the world. Tiny, frail, and tragic in her life, Piaf brought French identity to the rest of the world in a way that was understandable to all. Known as "the Little Sparrow" in her country, her voice was strong, bold, and passionate, even as she grew more infirm. The archetypical torch singer, she had massive popular success with songs like "Milord," "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," and "La Vie, L'Amour," included here with 18 other classics. While this is a great compilation of some of her best material, the complete lack of enclosed notes or biographical material may frustrate those not familiar with her fascinating career. However, the work of one of the most original songbirds of all time speaks loud and clear for itself. --Derek Rath ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars " Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien "
For anyone that has perused my web site here on Amazon they are probably more than aware of my love for French culture. I'm a closeted Francophile...and proud of it! The films,wine,fashion and most of all the music of France is something I have always dearly loved. While being Irish (in origin only) I dearly love the French culture! That being said reviewing a disc by the amazing Edith Piaf is simply a "labor of love".

Now, to be completely honest I did not exactly warm up to this cd upon first hearing it. The sound is rather dated and I thought Ms. Piaf's voice, while indeed strong, was not exactly what I was used to when listening to female vocalists. I thought it sounded rather shrill and, at times, even off key. Mon Dieu!! What was I to do...my expectations were so high that I truly expected "magic" to come pouring out of my speakers! Well, as with anything else that is truly worthwhile, I decided to stay with Ms. Piaf and give her, at least, the respect she deserves by listening a few more times. Obviously, my patience has more than paid off....if only because I can now appreciate the immense talent that she possessed.While sounding unlike any other vocalist that I had previously known she is able to contain more "raw emotion" in one song than most vocalist can emote in an entire cd!

Now although I consider myself a Francophile my command of the French language is, how to say,just slightly appropriate enough to order a bottle of wine, ask for directions to the Louvre and watch "Jean DeFlorette" with out English subtitles. Fortunately though knowing French will not deter you from enjoying this wonderful disc. While Edith Piaf tends to tackle most songs in a similar fashion, full-throttle, the tunes themseleves are awe inspiring if only becausre she is such total command of each selection. Hightlights, for me, are "La Vie En Rose", "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien", "Hymne A L'Amour" and "L'Accordeoniste". Again, while the sound may be slightly dated that does add a certain charm to these pieces. Plus,other than Billie Holiday, no one makes a "broken heart" feel so good!

Overall, having a cd by Edith Piaf is another of those discs that one will always have in their collection. She simply exudes France (where are you Catherine Denueve?) and all that is right when an artist is in true command of her talents. So pick up your copy of Edith Piaf "The Voice Of The Sparrow", a bottle of wine, a copy of "A Year In Provence" by Peter Mayle with a few fresh baguettes and make your way
home. Paris is waiting....just inside your front door.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent collection of some of Edith's best songs
This cd features some of the greatest songs by one of the greatest voices of our time. Among my favorite songs are "T'es Beau, Tu Sais", "Comme Moi", and "La vie en rose". This album is a must for anyone who loves Piaf and is a good collection for beginners who are unfamiliar with her songs. One need not understand French to enjoy this wonderful music. I must give this cd 5 stars, as there is no other voice like the voice of Edith Piaf.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Sound of the Soul of France
Edith Piaf (1915-1963) was an unexpected artist, the child of a part-time prostitute and a circus acrobat, raised in a brothel, singing on street corners for pennies in Paris--until 1935, when her success at the famous Paris nightspot Gernys launched her to what would become international stardom. Notorious for her many ill-starred love affairs, attacked as a Nazi sympathizer during the French occupation, belatedly defended as a member of the French Resistance, self-destructing through alcohol and drugs, she proved as unexpected in her personal life as in her talents--but whatever the lady's personal failings, no one can fault her talents. She is, quite simply, the sound of the soul of France.

Unless you speak French you may find the idea of purchasing songs sung in French a little off-putting. I myself speak what you might call "hotel French"--which is to say handful of standard phrases that would get me through in a pinch. When I listen to Piaf I occasionally understand a term here and there, but the specific meaning of the words escape me. But this no hindrance at all. Piaf has a passion that truly transcends the limits of language. No one need tell you that her tone is ironic; no one need tell you that the song is about poverty, lost love, a plea to God; it is there, it is inescapable. Her voice has the delicacy and strength of a steel wire, alternating sharp and flat tones in a uniquely French style, setting forth a meticulously rolled "r" in such a way as to give you chills and flying into a series of electrifying vibratos that are unique in all of music.

Although it would take a box set to do this artist justice, THE VOICE OF THE SPARROW is a very nice introduction to eighteen of Piaf's most famous songs. In a general sense, Piaf typically sang love songs--and had an uncanny ability to shift from bright to dark tones, allowing the listener to feel a dozen different shades of each emotion that colors any single selection. Be it the internationally celebrated "La Vie en Rose," the intense "Mon Dieu," the defiant "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rein" or the super-sophisticated "T'es Beau, Tu Sais," once Piaf adopted a song it became hers alone; every other rendition seems pale in comparison. Sadly, the recordings on this CD have not been remastered--but it doesn't really matter. For one who could escape the limitations of language it is hardly difficult to leap the boundaries of recording technology with the sound of the heart.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

5-0 out of 5 stars She was such a babe!!!
I wish I could go back it time, so I could have an affiar with her. I'm completely infatuated with her, like Dana Andrew was with Gene Tierney's pertait in Laura! Her vocie is haunting, sexual, sensual, oozing with pain, laughter, humor, and SEX, SEX, SEX! A true legend, heck the woman had an affiar with Marlene Dietrich and was a legendary performer in her time, and conyinues to thrill young poeple liek me(I'm 19!). A great cd which covers ler last years on record, best in a french version of "Laugh clown." It's all good and poignient stuff, for us artistic types.

5-0 out of 5 stars La voix d'un ange
this is definitely a must-have for edith piaf fans. it covers all her most famous songs, and for anyone who either grew up in a french-speaking country [like i did], or even in europe, it is hard NOT to know who she is... "la vie en rose" and "non je ne regrette rien" are her true classics... i dont think anyone can hear "non je ne regrette rien" without knowing immediately who the singer is. it is simply her signature song, or at least one of them for sure. her voice is amazing and unique, and many try to cover some of her songs and they simply offer edith no justice watsoever. [patricia kaas being an eception-- their voices are interestingly similar].
whether you understand french or not, this is a great record, with many ballads and a few uptempo songs to make you happy to be in love, or contrastingly, feel the pain of a broken heart. but all i gotta say is she makes a broken heart sound SOOO good... :)
allez milord, souriez moi milord! ... Read more


4. Dresden Dolls
list price: $12.98
our price: $11.99
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Asin: B0001XARKE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 953
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Combine the smoky cellars of a Weimar-era cabaret with the rock n’ roll fury of Joan Jett, PJ Harvey and The Violent Femmes and you have a remote idea of what to expect when experiencing The Dresden Dolls. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Punk cabaret is a "perfect fit"
Old porcelain toys are what come to mind when you hear the name of the "Dresden Dolls." But their faces and their music sure won't make you think of toys. It's very different from what I had expected, with its raw lyrics and complex piano'n'drums music, and left me expecting future great things from the most original new group in eons.

The sound of a piano builds up to a crescendo in the pummelling, jerky "Good Day," a barbed, sarcastic little ditty. It's not a funny song, but has a dark humor that shines through in the deceptively simple, searing "Bad Habit," the jazzy, self-examining "Perfect Fit," and the quirky, funny "Coin Operated Boy." Some songs are a little more downbeat, like the chillingly creepy "Slide," with its bogeyman line "the orange man got you." Perhaps the best song on the album is "Girl Anachronism," a fast'n'furious, punkish song about a psychiatric patient.

The Dresden Dolls can catch your eye as no other band can, with their face paint and striking black-and-white clothing. And they can back up their unusual look by being just as musically interesting, with a strange mix of piano and drums that somehow weave together seamlessly. The piano at the start sounds like a dusty music box, coming form the corners of a dark, neglected attic. But that illusion is shattered as the album progresses to songs where the piano is as percussive as the hard drums.

Amanda Palmer's neurotic whirl of ex-boyfriends, razors, wind-up boy toys (literally!), black jeeps and not-cured psychiatric patients set the tone of the album. "Sappy songs about sex and cheating/bland accounts of two lovers meeting/make me want to give mankind a beating," she snaps. Her versatile voice can be high and girlish, or boom through the room.

Cabaret punk-rock sounds like some kind of novelty act, but the Dresden Dolls are the real thing: punk piano rock that is sexy, dark, twisted, and deliciously original. A must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Friggin Amazing
This album is amazing. The Dresden Dolls is a band that creates songs with my two favorite instruments: piano and drums. The songs are amazing, "demented" only beginning to describe their sound. I recommend that everyone at least give them a listen, keeping an open mind since their music really doesn't fit inside the restrictions of a particular genre.

I didn't like the album design too much, since the songs aren't listed on the back of the album and are instead on the inside, so I couldn't tell how many songs were on the disc until after I bought it. The little booklet that contains the lyrics though, is awesome. There's some great collage work going on, though some of the lyrics are out of order. The art alone makes it worth it, though (keep in mind, some of the art contains naked women drawings, so if you have overly-protective parents who like to peruse your CD collection, beware).

A warning to those of you who play your CDs on your computer, though. I have Windows ME and the CD didn't play on my computer. The only thing that registered was the video for Girl Anachronism. The songs didn't show up at all, even when I went to "explore" and specifically selected the E drive. So if you only have a computer to play your CDs on, be warned; it may not work on yours.

With that said, here are my personal ratings of the individual songs, rated out of 10, 10 being the best and 1 being absolute crap.

1. Good Day - 9/10 - I wasn't fond of this song at first, but after a couple listens, I couldn't get the chorus out of my head. I think it's the enthusiastic way the lead singer sings, "and I'M ON FIRE!" The song is original, a screw-you ode to an old boyfriend, with very clever lyrics ("I want to do more than survive; I want to rub it in your face," for example).

2. Girl Anachronism - 9/10 - The only reason this isn't a 10/10 is because this isn't the same version of the song that you can hear on their video. I prefer that version, which sounds like two different women (with identical voices!) singing the lyrics to each other, each too impatient to wait for the other to finish with her line before she begins her own. This version is cool, too, because what it lacks in the fine polishing of the video-version is made up for with an extreme amount of enthusiasm. The fast beat is wonderful. I love fast songs.

3. Missed Me - 10/10 - Demented! Twisted! Disturbed! This song is the very empitome of psychosis, a twisted little girl persona singing her own revenge fantasy about a (presumably) older lover. I even have a favorite line in the song, when she sings in a cute, high voice, "...and so misunderstood" and then follows it up with a wonderfully hellish growl of, "so treat me DELICATELY". Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. The only problem I have with this song is that parts of it are really, really quiet, so I can't understand the wonderful lyrics. I agree with previous reviewers - whoever produced this really sucked when it came to polishing the final sound, because the constant raising and lowering of volume is really an issue.

4. Half Jack - 8/10 - The second half of this song is my favorite, because it gets louder and more aggressive, while the first part is merely moping. Still, it's awesome and I almost never skip it.

5. 672 - 3/10 - I really don't like this. You can't understand anything she says in it except for the number, and it sounds far away, like a live recording instead of something from the studio. The piano would be pretty if the sound had been managed better. I always skip this one.

6. Coin-Operated Boy - 10/10 - Extremely, extremely catchy. I find myself humming it often, and the lyrics are a delight. I'm extremely impressed that the band wrote these songs themselves, since they all sound _different_! Many of the bands I listen to have songs that blend together, because they're all the same speed, key, style. The Dresden Dolls are awesome because each of their songs is an individual, Coin-Operated Boy being an excellent example. The melody almost sounds like something from the 1930s, with the exception of the bridge.

7. Gravity - 10/10 - Neat lyrics, extremely catchy chorus, wonderful tune.

8. Bad Habit - 10/10 - Wonderful song about self-mutilation, because the tune is so HAPPY. This song is another reason to purchase the CD. Original bands like The Dresden Dolls deserve all the royalties they can get.

9. The Perfect Fit - 5/10 - Slow and boring. It's occasionally soothing whenever I get to it, because it goes well as a follow-up to Bad Habit, but for the most part, it's forgetable.

10. The Jeep Song - 5/10 - It sounds like a refuge from the 80s, and while the lyrics are clever and there's a bit of an homage to "paint it black" stuck into the middle, I just can't get into it.

11. Slide - 8/10 - Creepy, creepy, creepy. You can't really appreciate the song until you read the lyrics, and THEN you'll get what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, it's very hard to make out what the lyrics are on your own, since this song, like "missed me", has VOLUME ISSUES! ARGH! If only they had fixed up the songs better before they released it, this would have been the most perfect album EVER!

12. Truce - 3/10 - Boring. Long. Endless. At over 8 minutes (including the creepy voice at the end), it went on way too long. The lyrics were kinda "blah" too, at least to me.

Despite a few duds on the album, however, there are more than enough good songs to make up for it. I love The Dresden Dolls. They're almost like a combination of the piano skills of Tori Amos with the eccentricity of Rasputina. They're a great, great band and they deserve a listen.

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost Amazing
The Dresden Dolls capture everything you would ever want in a great CD. They've got excellent dynamics going from soft (almost too soft at times) to very loud and full of emotion. They have twisted subjects. But, beware that if you buy this CD you are getting one heck of a lot of swear words. If you don't want to hear the F word, stay away from this. If you're okay with the swearing, then it's one of the best CDs you'll ever own. Just be aware of the amount of swearing

5-0 out of 5 stars Something new and fresh, yet oh so gorgeous!...
Amanda Palmer truly makes a statement with her beautifully written melodies concerning her story book past. The first track, "Good Day" can no greater define the way that an album should introduce you to a new sound of musical talent. The song could be considered "pop" if you really pushed the buttons, however the truth stands that the Dresden Dolls are far from entering the mainstream culture. Tracks like "Missed Me" and "672" gave me goosebumps for their intensely-stricken perfection. Amanda's melancholic, cabaret-style vocals are both amazing in her range of harmonies displayed in tracks like "Pefect Fit" and my personal favorite "Bad Habit" (such a cute little song about an infamousely mistaken fetish). I could go down the list and give a detailed explination of the beauty of each and every song, however it would be a waste of time to talk such nonsense and opinionated critiquing. Just know that I ONLY listen to the Dresden Dolls now that I own the album. Best thing I've heard in years. I have the priviledge of seeing them next month in Hollywood, so I'll get to see the gorgeous Amanda up close in storytelling mode. If you enjoy Goth Rock, Rasputina, you'll love this band.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing , quality music..
Its all i ever wanted .So much passion goes into this . They would be worth seeing Live . This cd is purely an experience . I seem to enjoy all of the tracks , each with their own story and emotion . Amanda and Brian are very talented .I cant express such quality , its simpley amazing . ... Read more


5. Chicago (The Miramax Motion Picture Soundtrack)
list price: $13.98
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006RIO7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 263
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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The movie version of Kander and Ebb's Chicago was long in the making, but it's well worth the wait. Director Rob Marshall's main change was to turn the classic musical numbers into fantasy sequences, but of course this isn't obvious on CD. Most importantly, the arrangements are bursting with life while being true to the show's spirit, and the casting is simply inspired. Catherine Zeta-Jones actually started her career on the British boards (she was in The Pajama Game and 42nd Street), so her turn as slinky Velma Kelly isn't that surprising; Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart is more of a leftfield choice, but she shows she can handle the singing demands with pizzazz. The real revelation may well be rapper Queen Latifah, who belts out "When You're Good to Mama" with a marvelous affinity for the material. OK, so the R&B reprise of "Cell Block Tango/He Had It Coming" by Queen Latifah, Macy Gray, and Lil' Kim fails to convince, while Anastacia's "Love Is a Crime" is just blah (rest easy, purists, it's over the end credits). On the other hand, the CD provides two bonuses: "Class," which was cut from the movie, and "I Move On," a great duet written by Kander and Ebb for the final cut. It's really easy to mess up film adaptations of Broadway shows. Happily, Chicago proves it can be done right. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (244)

4-0 out of 5 stars A worthy soundtrack for a great movie
Kander & Ebbs' music translates beautifully to the film version of their hit musical. All the songs capture the jazz flavor of 1920s Chicago and give a bit of insight into the characters themselves. For a good example of this, check out "Mr. Cellophane" about Roxie's husband Amos who is the most unnoticed person in all of Chicago, admirably sung here by John C. Reilly. Queen Latifah is brassy and risque with her rendition of "When You're Good To Momma." Catherine Zeta-Jones astounds with her sexy and boisterous "All That Jazz." Renée Zellwegger and Richard Gere surprise with their vocal talents, as well. My favorite number in the entire album is "The Cell Block Tango," a clever telling of how the Six Merry Murderesses wound up in jail.

Included also are the deleted song "Class," a duet between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latfiah, and two excerpts of Danny Elfman's excellent score to the film. The only drawbacks (and the only reason why I don't give the album 5 stars) are the songs "Love is a Crime" by Anastacia and "Cell Block Tango/He Had It Comin'" by Queen Latifah, Lil' Kim and Macy Gray. They seem out of place with the jazz feel of this album.

Barring those two songs, this is an excellent album and really exudes the style and feel of the film.

5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful musical experience
Much to my surprise, I had to get this CD right after seeing the movie and have played it every day since I've purchased it. Who would have guessed that Catherine Zeta Jones, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly and Renee Zellweger could excel in this genre?

From the first strains of Catherine Zeta Jones and All That Jazz to the last "legit" soundtrack vocal of Hot Honey Rag, this CD is a winner. Other standouts include Queen Latifah's When You're Good to Mama, John C. Reilly's Mr. Cellophane, Cell Block Tango and Renee Zellweger's renditions of Funny Honey, Roxie and Nowadays.

The extra songs, Love Is A Crime and the hip hop version of Cell Block Tango, aren't bad but they simply don't belong on this CD. It's a blatant pandering to a younger generation that will enjoy the soundtrack songs on their own.

This soundtrack could have easily turned into a very bad joke. A wild round of applause to the producers, director and actors who made it happen.

3-0 out of 5 stars Short & to the point
Great movie and this could have been a great soundtrack album if it wasn't completely ruined by the two additional tracks tacked on to the end of the CD. How could the producers have allowed this abomination?!

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
This CD is one of my favourite CD's. The performances are much more gripping on film, I recommend buying the film and then if you like the performances buy the recording. Otherwise check into the stage performances of Chicago.

But wow! The Kander and Ebb score is to die for!! Chicago is one of my favourite musical scores and the energy and excitement of their music comes out so well here! Both of the leading ladies are amazing and even Richard Gere has his moments. An altogether amazing and must have recording!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bang for your buck!
This CD only has 2 songs that I found to be really awful. #17 and #18. I don't what they were thinking when they put those 2 on the CD. The other songs are catchy and jazzy, and for $13, it's worth your money. Everyone complains about Class, but I like it. It has a certain appeal. The instrumental songs are great, they aren't boring and dull like some. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and John C. Reilly do a great job singing, especially Catherine. Overall, if you're looking for a good CD with great jazzy numbers, I recommend this one. ... Read more


6. Bette Midler Sings The Rosemary Clooney Songbook
list price: $13.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B0000BYMYK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 162
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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It's nice to see Bette Midler putting her spin on an American classic after less-than-convincing detours through adult-contemporary cheese. This tribute focuses on Rosemary Clooney in the early to mid-1950s--so we don't get any of the fabulous Nelson Riddle material--but it's a fairly strong offering. It was produced and arranged by Midler's old musical director, Barry Manilow--who actually dueted with Clooney on a couple of songs in the 1990s and here replaces Bing Crosby on the duet "On a Slow Boat to China." Mostly, the CD is about hits: "Hey There" and "White Christmas" are done in straightforward manner, while Linda Ronstadt fills in for Rosemary's actual sister Betty on a slinky version of "Sisters." Happily, Midler plays "Come On-A My House" down instead of up (the old Bette would have milked its comic aspect) but the singer lets loose on "Mambo Italiano." That's pretty much the only time the Divine Miss M peeks out from behind Clooney's elegant persona, and it's a delight. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (186)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bette pays tribute to the First Lady of Song - Rosie Clooney
This lovely album from Bette Midler is one of her best yet. Miss Midler pays loving tribute to legendary song stylist Rosemary Clooney in this collection of songs, produced by Barry Manilow.

Midler tackles Clooney standards like "This Ole House", "Tenderly", "Come On-a My House" and "Memories of You" with great skill. If there is one singer who has the chops to do these songs justice, it's Miss Midler.

Midler also does a beautiful rendition of THE PAJAMA GAME's ballad "Hey There", and joins Barry Manilow for the duet "On a Slow Boat to China". Linda Ronstadt joins Bette for "Sisters", the comical duet first introduced by Clooney in WHITE CHRISTMAS. Also from that memorable movie is the Title Song, sung by Midler in such a fashion that it makes the song new again.

Perhaps the one wrong number is "Mambo Italiano", which seems too overheated. And, at just over 30 minutes, the disc is a little brief.

However, this heartfelt tribute to the late Miss Rosemary Clooney is a delight, pure and simple. [COLUMBIA 5125062000]

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Divine After All These Years!
A new recording by Bette Midler is alway a treat and will brighten up the dullest day. Here she sings the songs of another talented lady, Rosemary Clooney. Midler teamed up with Barry Manilow-- he sings on one cut with her-- to produce this lush tribute. Midler is backed up by an orchestra on most of the songs although when she sings "This Ole House", she is accompanied by a banjo, mandolin, bass, guitar and drums. This is probably my favorite song on the CD, one I hadn't heard since childhood when I believe Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded it. This is a great, catchy arrangement of that song. Something tells me "Sisters" with Linda Ronstadt is already a favorite in gay bars everywhere. There's also "Hey There", "Tenderly" and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." All too quickly Midler sings the finale Berlin's "White Christmas" and a beautiful concert is over.

Midler is as good as she ever was. Hearing this CD made me want to listen again to Rosemary Clooney. This very polished recording will bring you much pleasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars SUPERB!
Words cannot describe Bette's rendition of Rosie's wonderful songs. I played it over and over again. If you loved Rosemary Clooney, you will love this CD. Buy it. You will not be sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
A great CD. The song Bette sings with Barry Manilow, On a Slow Boat to China, is so fabulous that you'll want to play this CD over and over again!

2-0 out of 5 stars You don't GET enough from BETTE!
I had this CD on my wish list from the time it was announced for release. I got it for a birthday present and played it at the party immediately upon ripping the package open. This CD is so short! Surely, Rosie made many more wonderful songs that Bette could have sung. This CD is 30 minutes long. There is not enough enjoyment to make it work the price. ... Read more


7. Motifs
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0006SSNPA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1454
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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With a sound made up of equal parts bossa nova and classic chanson transported almost unchanged from the 1960s, plus American jazz, Argentinean Tango, bal musette and the Manouche swing made famous by Django Reinhardt, Paris Combo undeniably personifies that city's aesthetic. French music and film tend to share an elegant, humorless, surreal, coolly theatrical artificiality so ingrained that observed or remembered passion becomes more seductive than the real thing. Style-over-substance is merely a different reality, no less involving than daily life. The band's membership includes a guitarist from Madagascar, a keyboardist/trumpeter from Australia, a French drummer and a French-Algerian guitarist, each of whom contribute whimsical, cosmopolitan images from their own travels. Bandleader-singer Belle du Berry's lyrics are wry metaphors, in which estrangement, loss and desire are experienced in nightclubs under the light of pink lampshades and each carefully posed film-noir frame is wreathed in expensive perfume and cigarette smoke. --Christina Roden ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid Album
This is an amazing album.I heard it in a store and said:

1.This is really unique.
2.What are they singing?

The entire album has a retro sound, it's also sung in French.Like most French things, this album is really unique, to the point that it is incredibly quirky.The cover says a lot, with its broad palette of colors, which is representative of the music.I think of it as music that would be playing in a Le Corbusier house with the owner's Citroen (DS) parked in the driveway to boot.

The music itself on this album is what really caught my ear on first listen.Lots of piano, strings and Spanish/ Gypsy guitar make for a varied mix.It reminds me of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Combustible Edison, but does not sound exactly like either of them.The sound reminds me more like the 30s, unlike the 60s listed in the editorial review posted here.Some songs are downright manic, while others are slow, some sound like they're out of a Broadway musical and some are just plain quirky.

Belle du Berry is a really cool singer.She does all kinds of neat things in her vocal delivery.Sultry lyrics, to hilarious manic repetitions (Baguee).I bet you haven't heard a singer like her too many times before.

This is one album I can listen to without skipping tracks.There's no filler and thus it makes a great addition to a mature individual's music collection.Pick it up.

5-0 out of 5 stars An enchanting release to relax with or hold your lover by!
Motifs by Paris Combo is one of those comparatively rare CDs you CAN truly relax with--just pop it in and pour yourself a nice glass of wine--and ENJOY! These French songs are creative, soothing (even when discussing sad times, a real feat) and just plain great to listen to. This group of band members from several different countries works hard and they won't fail you with this release.

Another tip: If you like groups like Pink Martini, then you'll REALLY like this album! Their work is every bit as elegant-and just like Pink Martini, and the group is made up of persons from all over the world. This careful arrangement of members and the thoughtful songs they give us make for a particularly pleasing experience.

Now for the songs: It's hard to say definitively which song is my favorite; they all are very well done. One thing is clear, however, the last track, entitled "Je Ne Sais Qui Fumer," is superb! The melody and vocals are just right. Another reviewer put it well when they wrote that the music "(is) jazzy, swing-y, loungy, a little bit Edith Piaf-y." Anything "Edith-Piaf-y can't go wrong! The songs "Discordance" and "Etoile Pâle" were also particularly special in my opinion.Another point: The songs reflect a fanciful and sophisticated image as well.

Even if you don't know French you will notice the elegance and the thoughtfulness of this group on this CD. The sounds of the French language coupled with the carefully arranged music provide the listener with a great experience. You will pick up on the elegance of the CD song tracks and you won't regret adding this CD to your collection!

5-0 out of 5 stars Now this is an exciting release!
This group defines energy and melding of styles and genres and just lovin' makin' music together.This is eclectic and fun AND it's a big seller.There might be hope for the music industry yet.I'm loving this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Paris Combo is fantastic.Having just seen them live last night in Chicago, they are every bit as good in the flesh.They are witty and urbane, but unpretentious at the same time.Most importantly the music is fantastic.I don't think I've ever heard a bad song from them.How many groups can you say that about?

I know I should say something specific about the music, but I really don't know how to categorize it.It's jazzy, swing-y, loungy, a little bit Edith Piaf-y.Decide for yourself.

They had people dancing in the aisles.If Paris Combo does not find great success in the music world, it will be a shame.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!!!
A website that has a story about this album categorize it as "World" music. It truly is. A dash of many genres are mixed into this album. If you want to try something non mainstream, I believe this is the one that you should try. ... Read more


8. Live at Tavern on the Green
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00079ZAFY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1824
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Released close to a decade after her death at 43, this live CD testifies to what made Nancy LaMott special to many cabaret lovers. The singer had a gentle, homespun manner rather different from the urban sophistication one so often associates with the classic American songbook. She sounded as if she didn't have a vindictive bone in her body and enjoyed the true worth of life's most basic pleasures with sincere optimism--no wonder she offers here a cleancut of Berlin's "I Got the Sun in the Morning." Backed by a discreet trio, LaMott is at her understated best on the more melancholy numbers, such as Rodgers and Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." The recording, which documents an entire show, banter included, also shows that LaMott was ahead of the game in the way she seamlessly mixed standards with modern pop (tracks by Rupert Holmes, Antonio Carlos Jobim and James Taylor). --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars From One Who Was There
Actually, I wasn't there, my wife was, so when she gets a chance, I'll have her write a review.She's told me so much about this concert, she'll be thrilled to know I'm ordering it for her.She said it was simply the best concert she's been to in her life. So if the reviewers are right that the recording quality and live environment on this album are superior, then this will be a hell of an album. And my wife was well aware at the time that Nancy was dying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Six new songs added to Lamott's songbook--at last.
For those who have been waiting more than eight years for a new Nancy Lamott album, this release is hugely welcome.New songs featuring this great American cabaret singer, and some new treatments for old songs, add new depth to her work and revive all the sadness that she was taken so soon, at age 43, long before she'd fulfilled her musical dreams.Here, in this live CD, one has the opportunity to hear a concert, complete with her amusing patter, and to appreciate her almost palpable sense of connection with her audience.

Six new songs and five previously recorded songs shows Lamott in all her moods.Among the new songs, "Sailin' On" is now one of my favorite Lamott songs, a song of a child's dreams and the uncharted oceans one explores in sleep.A classical piano solo, "Bach's Prelude No. 11, in F," played by Chris Marlowe, Lamott's long-time accompanist, gradually leads to variations, until it turns into a surprising version of the Warren and Mercer "Jeepers Creepers."Lamott sings Lorenz and Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" slowly and passionately--as a person who has just found love, regrettably late in life (as was true in her own case).

Recorded just seven weeks before she died, the concert seems subtly directed toward helping the audience deal with her illness.The slow but emotionally upbeat "The Promise" features lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and music by David Shire, and Lamott's musical declaration that "I trust tomorrow as much as today...and I promise I'll never say good-bye" achieves enormous poignancy."Help is on the Way," written at her direction by her long-time producer David Friedman, and James Taylor's "Secret of Life," with its lyrics that "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time...Isn't it a lovely ride?" all express her refusal to succumb to negative thoughts.

As always, Lamott is accompanied by Marlowe, whose piano accompaniments range from a quiet, elegantly melodic line in "Listen to My Heart" to a rich, fully developed, let-it-all-hang-out interpretation in "How Deep is the Ocean."The strength and purity of LaMott's voice, along with her control, allow her to give unique interpretations to songs, old and new.Her clear vibrato ranges from a soft whisper to full-out belting, though she never loses sight of her lyrics, offering unusual and gorgeous treatments.A vibrant woman and remarkable "saloon singer," Lamott leaves behind a great legacy, not only in her music but also in the strength she demonstrates in this concert.Mary Whipple

5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks to Jonathon Schwartz and David Friedman
My first exposure to Nancy LaMott was via xm radio and Jonathon Schwartzs' Sunday afternoon simulcast on WNYC.The clarity of her voice and her wide melodic range raised the hair on my neck and goosebumps on my skin.I rarely can listen to any of her recordings without this reaction repeating over and over.

Live at Tavern on the Green is true gift for those who are Nancy's fans and the newly initiated.With less than a couple of months to live, she exudes such enthusiasm and a zest for her craft...which is why her talent will continue to be appreciated along with the great ones....Sinatra, Clooney, Bennett and all the rest of the performers that made the American Songbook the gold standard in music.

I cannot close without saying many thanks to Jonathon Schwartz for playing her music during the "embargo".It is hard to contain such a bright lamp under a bushel basket.And to David Friedman for writing lyrics/music that enabled us all to "hear the angel(s) sing".

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Inspiring
I just got this CD today and could not wait to play it.Every earlier comment here is right on target -- this is raw, essential, touching, human, and touchingly sad in retrospect.

I first was acquainted with Nancy when she performed at a (no longer existing) cabaret called 88's in New York back around 1990.She performed in solo in the evening but occasionally played and sang at their Sunday brunch.She was a remarkable and amazing talent way back then.To hear this magnificent album so many years after having loved 'the real thing' is an indescribable treat.

I highly recommend this album to anyone who can appreciate not only the best cabaret performer, but also perhaps the best interpreter of standards and ballads who ever graced our presence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - yet representative
As a cabaret goer in NYC, I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. LaMott over the course of 15 years at many smaller clubs, the rare concert and the high end rooms as her artistic/commercial appeal grew more popular. The venues were unique, the overall performances evelotionary but the musical genius was there from the begining.This Live CD not only captures Nancy at the pinacle of her recording career but is truly representative of a life given over to an artist's dedication to honest expression and the devotion to their craft. Nancy LaMott's artistic expression was/is singular, in my opinion, in its presentation of emotional truth and appeal to honesty. This CD is a very worthy introduction to an artist whose life, not her tragic death, engendered such devotion from a core group of dedicated "fans" - - really just people who yearn for emotional truths from an inspirational messenger.We need all the grace and redemption we can find nowadys and this CD, and Nancy, are a beacon that lights the entrance to the path that leads to a better place. Hopefully more lights will be lit and more songs will be heard from musical messenger. ... Read more


9. All for You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B000003N89
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2623
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

All for You is a tribute to the Nat "King" Cole Trio of the 1940s, when Cole performed as both a singer and a pianist. Krall, like her heroes Lena Horne and Carmen McRae, is also a singer-pianist, and she plays both roles on most of the songs here. She's able to link her singing to her piano playing in sympathetic ways and projects tremendous feeling through both. Like Cole in the '40s, Krall plays with a drummerless trio--here with guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Paul Keller. Their sense of intimate rapport is especially valuable on ballads such as "You Call It Madness" and "I'm Thru with Love," but also allows such uptempo tunes as "Hit That Jive Jack" to swing with surprising lightness. --Geoffrey Himes ... Read more

Reviews (78)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprised That I Bought This First
All For You is the best representative of Diana's gift for jazz and swing music at its best, whether bouncy or intimate. You may think you're listening to a live recording. Even Boulevard of Broken Dreams or You're Looking at Me remain sophisticated without the addition of strings. Played just as the Nat Cole Trio might have down at Smokey Joe's.

For someone raised on the pop and rock sounds that came out of the 60's hearing a trio play mostly without percussion was a revelation. When I clicked the local FM station back on after several hours with All For You as music while I worked, the incessant snare of the rock beat pounded in my head like waking up to a jack-hammer on the street below. I have _not_ been listening to jazz for decades. That's the point. I learned a lot about Nat Cole's early career that was unkown to me from the CD notes. If I hand't been able to listen to samples of this album, I would have considered it last because of the Nat Cole connection. I am in debt to Diana Krall for bringing to my attention music I would have never listened to without experiencing her love for it.

I am in agreement with the other reviewers here that this is a great CD to unwind to, with its spare arrangements and quiet presence, not sleepy or mushy with strings. I love the playful Frim Fram Sauce, which Diana makes her own on this performance. Errand Girl for Rhythm is exactly what Diana becomes on this CD, supplying us with a steady telegraphing of her gifted jazz piano. You're Looking at Me is delivered with knowing sophistication the lyric deserves. I enjoy the simpler arrangements and intuitive playing of All For You more than any of her later CD's containing lush string arrangements that just sound studied and distant to me. The guitar work of Russell Malone is very tasteful, blending well with Diana's piano.

This CD has a very intimate and immediate sound. The recoding mikes each player very close, making for the intimate sound of this performance. You feel as if you're right in the middle of Krall, Malone and Keller as they play. Each instrument (including her voice) can be heard distinctly. There is no "wall of sound" or distant miking and mushy strings to come between you and the artist.

The production on Diana's early efforts, such as her first CD and Love Scenes, is uneven and less polished in comparison to the effort lavished on All For You. That is partly why I chose this as the first Diana Krall CD I bought. Unlike the other CD's the mike level and quality does not vary wildly from song to song, which I find annoying.

If you have a strong liking for this recording you will probably have a strong dislike for Diana's later recordings made in lush string settings that place her and the band at a sonically distant location, as we are listening to the band at the back tables of a smoky nightclub in the '50s. The kind of stuff you'd expect to be playing on a penthouse hi-fi in an old movie. Diana does a solid job with the standards on When I Look in Your Eyes and continues the evolution on her new recording The Look of Love. But I can't help but think marketing forces are behind this transformation to the kind of sentimental, mushy sound that Nat Cole was doing by the time of hits like The Christmas Song. I'd like to think it's just Diana's changing sensibility, but could the same process be at work? I say this because I think if you're put off by her latest effort, then by all means try one of her earlier recordings.

5-0 out of 5 stars five stars aren't enough...
I discovered this album because a friend of mine in the music industry (who doesn't know all that much about jazz vocalists) wanted to know if Diana Krall was as good as all the hype about her said she was. After a quick scan of the song list I replied that it would be easy to tell because she had a version of "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and that was one of my favorite pieces -- not only one of my favorites, I said, but I have a recording on a mix tape at home by some woman (who's name escaped me) that I considered the definitive version of " Boulevard Of Broken Dreams".

Two seconds into the song I realized that this was the woman. I said, " she's better".

Diana Krall's ability to interpret standards is truly amazing. I have a fairly extensive collection of jazz vocal albums and I place this one right up there at the top with singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman, Nat Cole & Billy Holiday -- not necessarily because they sound alike, but more because all of these artists can sing a song and make you hear it differently than you've ever heard it before.

Now I'm not going to try to convince you that all of her recording are flawless, but this one is a pure winner. There's not a bad track on here. Some of the stand outs are 'You Call It Madness', 'You're Looking At Me', 'A Blossom Fell', and of course my favorite 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams'.

I can't wait for Diana to outgrow this label. They spend way too much time trying to promote her image. It's not an insult to say that her image is the least of her qualities.

1-0 out of 5 stars HOT MUSICIANS & MONOTONE VOCALS
Sorry but Nat would not be thrilled with vocals that would be more fitting to a Julie London tribute. If you really want to be blown away by a JAZZ DIVA tribute to Nat, then sample the tracks on Carmen McRae's brilliant "You're Lookin' At Me" tribute and you will hear a tribute collection that is classic and would get a big nod of approval from Nat himself! Diana does some excellent keyboard playing and I love the guitar work and rhythm but these vocals don't take you away like Carmen's or many other Jazz Diva's who are not getting the acclaim they deserve. I guess the music industry thinks that a pretty face is what sells in a well produced setting but you cannot build alone on this for too long. The character and soul in the Carmen McRae tribute is so strong and one can go to the Liza Minnelli "Minnelli On Minnelli-Live at the Palace" and sample "If I Had You" and hear how a rich soulful voice can turn this song into a really satisfying listening experience!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Diva's Best to Date
Diana Krall is the consensus Diva of Jazz these days. While I don't necessarily agree, there's no denying her talent, and if you're curious about her artistry, this is a good place to start. This, her tribute to Nat King Cole, along with the ensuing "Love Scenes", are her best works to date. Highlights include the rollicking "Hit That Jive, Jack" and the haunting "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (the latter proving that Krall is capable of doing something memorable that isn't necessarily "cool.") Highly recommended, whether you're a big fan or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite Krall CD !
This is my favorite Krall CD as she swings much more on this Nat King Cole Trio tribute (not just sultry singing like her newer Cds) . Also she plays the piano more. I would buy her CDs just to listen to here play the piano as she is one the best jazz pianist on the scene today. I like her song selection which includes Hit that Jive Jack, Frim Fram Sauce, Deed I Do. Baby baby all the time, Gee Baby ain't I good to you . Her trio (like the Nat King Cole Trio)with no drums - Russel Malone on guitar and Paul Keller on bass really sound good together. ... Read more


10. Love Scenes
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000003NA4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1220
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Like a mink draped over mahogany, Diana Krall's luxuriously supple alto adorns the vintage songs of romance and longing found on Love Scenes with a palpable aura of glamour and late-night cool. Her ostensibly effortless command of phrasing and intonation, whether the mood is seduction or a sweet sassiness, further fortifies the opinion that the Canadian vocalist-pianist possesses one of the great female jazz voices to surface in the late 1990s. Augmented by spare but skillful instrumentation from bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone, Krall sustains a largely quiet (though hardly sleepy) ambience throughout the CD's 12 selections, from Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky)," which she also uses as a showcase for her touch at the keyboard, to Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Her swing is artfully subdued ("All or Nothing at All"), and her wry, expressive approach to "Peel Me a Grape" is pure charm. Yet Krall shines most luminously on languid gems such as "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" and "Garden in the Rain." Anyone in search of an album ideal for watching city lights at 2 a.m. should keep Love Scenes in mind. --Terry Wood ... Read more

Reviews (152)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow - what a performance!
Outstanding and oh so alluring collection of beautiful romantic ballads. The clean simplicity of Diana Krall's smooth and sultry alto voice with only a string base and guitar and her own lush piano makes this some of the best music I have heard in years. The thoughtful styling she displays in each cut on this CD makes this the ideal score for the concept of "Love Scenes". Her rendition of "I Don't Know Enough About You" (it's the cut that first hooked me on her) is bouncy and petulant and showcases her vocal and piano talent while her bluesy "Lost Mind" transports me to places dark and romantic. Her take on "I Miss You So" exudes a wonderfully rich torch song aura and drips of romance. Overall, the cuts on this CD are remarkably reminiscent of the combination of dark chocolate and cabernet - rich, smooth, tasty, and utterly romantic.

Definitely a "candlelight evening for two" collection that should touch the true romantic in anyone who listens to it. Ideally, the second CD for such an evening would be another of hers, The Look of Love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Polished set from masterful traditionalist
Jazz singers who turn songs inside out, such as Cassandra Wilson and Holly Cole, are spectacular to witness, but staying traditional and still standing out is just as noteworthy accomplishment. With "Love Scenes" Diana Krall becomes more than noteworthy.

A smoky, intimate singer just as at home with ballads as she is with swinging numbers, Diana is at her finest here on the longing "I Miss You So," the toe-tapper "I Don't Know Enough About You," and the bouncy "All or Nothing at All." "Lost Mind" offers a tasty bit of blues, "Peel Me a Grape" boasts a sexy swing, and "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me" is downright irresistible. But the album's crowning moment comes on the classic "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You," where Diana sings over a simple guitar and bass arrangement and manages one of the warmest and most inviting interpretations of this standard ever recorded. Not bad for a song commonly associated with Billie Holiday.

The only complaint possible would be that Diana didn't shake up the format much; a Bossa Nova arrangement would have been nice somewhere along the line for variety. But in the face of such glorious singing and musicianship that both flaunts and inspires a love for jazz, such complaints matter little.

5-0 out of 5 stars About as perfect as hubby's "North"
I have not purchased the new CD by the husband-wife team of Diana Krall and Elvis Costello but am planning to do so. Both have long been in my vocal top ten for sheer talent, originality and musicality. You never know what to expect from such a hyped offering but for once, I was not disappointed. There is something interesting and lovely in ever single track. From the sexy "Peel me a Grape" to the fantastic "Garden in the Rain" these are extremely intelligent interpretations of several old classics.

One almost wants to enter that smoke-filled bar, order a Martini and take a seat. The piano-playing complements the vocals and that is another reason to like this album. With so many rap and hip-hop "singers" abounding who can neither read music nor play a musical instrument, it is refreshing to find an artist who can do both effortlessly. Wonderful, soulful sounds.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sit down and relax...
Being next to her just as she sings... simply couldn't get better than that! As a jazz freak, it is nice to settle down and just enjoy little nicely composed tunes, in all sense just a great work! Very standard preserved jazz, well structured and entertaining, and Diana's piano skills just add more and more to the scene, not to mention her consonant beautiful voice that is always precisely adding more harmonic structure overall. The girl is talented, no doubt, but I recognize other than her virtuosity the fact that she sticks to her style, and she does it like few others, Sarah Vaughan et al... Great music, just get it...

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
The first song I ever heard of Diana Krall was 'Peel me a grape' and boy did I fall in love. I automatically bought the cd and fell in love. She is one of the first jazz artists I was introduced to and remains to be my favorite. ... Read more


11. Sleepless In Seattle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000002947
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2603
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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A romantic's collection if ever there was one, this cachet of songs graced the equally heart-tugging film. King of the Croon and Swoon, Nat King Cole's "Stardust" is probably the most obvious of the young lovers' themes here. Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Durante, ordinarily not the most romantic of sorts, prove themselves worthy contenders with "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" and "As Time Goes By," respectively. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" gets an elegantly simple treatment from Carly Simon, and Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" confirms her status as the late, great Queen of Country. The only disappointments with this collection are the absence of heart-wrenching numbers by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, or even Johnny Mathis; and the inclusion of the horrendous rendition of "When I Fall in Love" by the over-rated Celine Dion with Clive Griffin. --Steve Gdula ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars You'll NEVER Skip A Song!
What is not to love about this soundtrack? Jimmy Durante's unique voice is so incredible - and luckily, you can hear it twice (As Time Goes By & Make Someone Happy) - an added bonus for any Durante fans! Other greats include Louis Armstrong (A Kiss To Build a Dream On), Nat King Cole (Stradust), Joe Cocker (Bye, Bye Blackbird), the incredible Tammy Wynette (Stand By Your Man) and Celine Dion with Clive Griffin (When I Fall In Love). But in my "expert opinion", the best song on the entire CD is Wink and a Smile by Harry Connick Jr.! Connick's voice and incredible piano playing give the song an upbeat feeling! I LOVE IT! I recommend this soundtrack to anyone - I am only 17 years old and love every single song - even though some of them were before my time! Enjoy this awesome CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Soundtrack from a Fabuous movie
This was the first CD I ever bought on my own and man do I love it. The music is perfect for any mood your in and the combination of so many famous musical talent makes this CD difficult fot people to hate. I especally like the song "Wink and a Smile" by Harry Conick Jr. His voice is incredible and it really adds to the romantic feel of the whole CD. I absolutly love it!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful CD
OK, so it is a little sappy, but these are fine versions of classic standards. Dr. John and Jimmy Durante in one little package, how could you resist. And, by the way, while I'm not a Celine fan, "When I Fall in Love" is one of the finest songs ever written, in not only for it's succinct-ness. This rendition is fine, and not as schmaltzy as she usually is.

3-0 out of 5 stars This "Affair" is hit-and-miss....
Because I am at heart a rank sentimentalist, Epic Soundtrax's "Sleepless in Seattle" should have been more enjoyable, or at least a bit more emotionally charged, but this Nora Ephron-Marc Shaiman produced album was more of a hit-and-miss affair at best. Yes, I like some of it, but in the end I found myself wishing I'd bought something nicer.

Unlike the similarly-themed "Music from the Motion Picture When Harry Met Sally..." there is no single artist who carries the 12-song album. Not having seen the entire film -- despite its frequent airings around Valentine's Day -- I can't say for certain if the same artists featured here (Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong, Tammy Wynette and Gene Autry, just to name a few) are heard in the movie's soundtrack. (While I am a big fan of movie soundtracks and do buy them because I like the movies they are from, I also buy them for just the music.)

To be fair, there are some wonderful songs in this CD. I absolutely get goosebumps when I hear the mellow, soothing voice of Nat "King" Cole as he sings Hoagy Carmichael's reflective "Stardust" -- a reverie about separation and longing. I also enjoy Louis Armstrong's rendition of "A Kiss To Build a Dream On," Carly Simon's "In the Wee Hours of the Morning" and Harry Connick's rendition of producer/composer Shaiman's "A Wink and a Smile." The mix of happy, sad and memory-triggering songs reflects (to me, anyway) the highs and lows of any romantic affair, with all the passions, smiles and tears involved.

Slightly less thrilling were several tracks, including Jimmy Durante's covers of "As Time Goes By" and "Make Someone Happy." Maybe it's because I'm just too used to listening to Dooley Wilson's classic version as heard in Casablanca, or maybe it's just that Durante's gravelly voice just doesn't seem right for "As Time Goes By." (Again, to be fair, I didn't have such a visceral reaction to the second Durante track...but that's not one of my favorite selections.) And although I can sit through Celine Dion and Clive Griffin's cover of "When I Fall in Love," I still find myself wishing Shaiman and Ephron had chosen to use Nat Cole's rendition of this beautiful Edward Hayman-Victor Young song.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Almost Great Collection!!
This is another situation where I'd love to rate this collection with the most stars available, because I am an avid fan of this kind of music. I perform it myself. However, the choice of Joe Cocker to see the poorly arranged "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" was a grave disappointment, and took away from the overall collection. Not only did it betray the composer's intent, Cocker didn't even include the introduction to the song, which is vital to understanding the tune.

There are standouts, for sure, such as Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick, Jr., and Celine Dion, of course. She is not over-rated as some have suggested. She fits perfectly with this collection, and a great surprise is the presence of Dr. John. He is such a great artist and performer. I wanted to hear more of his stylings.

A great collection, if only you can skip over Joe Cocker!!! ... Read more


12. Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday
list price: $24.98
our price: $22.99
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Asin: B00005Q45Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3582
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars A "Politically Correct" Compilation?
A 2-CD "best of" compilation for Billie Holiday without "Strange Fruit" doesn't make sense, but historically record labels have been reluctant to include this song. I wonder whether their reasoning is that the song's lyrics, about the lynching and hanging of a black from a tree, are unsuitable for mainstream audiences, which implies that they thought Holiday had crossed the line from blues or jazz (I think she's a blues singer through and through) to pop. After all, many blues recordings contain lyrics just as if not more gruesome than "Strange Fruit", but that doesn't result in their getting left off the compilation disks. If we can't hear the Holiday version of "Strange Fruit", then the soundtrack to "Lady Sings the Blues" by Diana Ross has a version of the song that is pretty convincing.

5-0 out of 5 stars regarding the absence "Strange Fruit"
A couple reviewers remarked about the absence of "Strange Fruit" from this compilation. The reason for its absence is very simple: Billie did not record the song for Columbia. If you want "Strange Fruit," get _The Commodore Master Takes_ or the Verve compilation _Lady in Autumn_.

"Strange Fruit" is missing because Columbia was afraid to touch it in the late 30s, not because of any current "political correctness." I'm pretty sure they'd love to have the song now.

Most major jazz artists recorded for many different labels, so "best of" and "greatest hits" compilations usually aren't as comprehensive as we might wish them to be. Usually you have to buy two or three different sets to touch on all the major bases.

5-0 out of 5 stars Descent Compilation
Apart from the fact that some of my favorite Billie Holiday songs are missing...its still a very good intro to those first timers. I first heart HOliday when I was 18 years old..and 5 years later...I still can't get enough of her ...she's such a great singer...along with Ella Fitzgerald she is the only one who can bring me to tears.

4-0 out of 5 stars Incomplete Sampler
Far from being a jazz buff, I'd still take issue with the other recommendations of this set to be a sufficient Billie Holiday sampler for the general public. The single most important reason - it's missing "STRANGE FRUIT".

It is Jazz's "Guernica", and therefore belongs in *any* Billie Holiday collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Billie Holiday collection!!!
I have so enjoyed this album! All the favorite jazz songs sung by the beautiful crooning voice of Holiday! If you are a jazz fan, you don't want to miss this CD! ... Read more


13. Dancing in the Dark
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00014X8E0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1394
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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After Tierney Sutton paid tribute to Bill Evans with Blue in Green, she salutes another of her influences with Dancing in the Dark, "inspired by the music of Frank Sinatra."The results are mellower than what Sutton fans might expect--it's less the hipster Sinatra than the one of such concept albums as In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning and Only the Lonely--and the tempos never rise above an easy swing.But it's a beautiful listen, and although there's an orchestra, it's not really a "with strings" album, which have been uneven throughout jazz history.Fewer than half the selections have strings, and those strings have been very subtly arranged (and conducted) by pianist Christian Jacobs.It's Sutton's usual trio--Jacobs, bassist Trey Henry, and drummer Ray Brinker--that is the primary accompaniment, and in Alec Wilder's "I'll Be Around" Jacobs shares a dazzlingly beautiful line with Sutton's wordless vocalise.And because "Fly Me to the Moon" has always been taken in either 3 or 4, Sutton acknowledges both by singing it in 7.Those are merely two memorable moments in an album that's full of them.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars dark, smooth Sinatra saloon song tribute
I think Tierney has a hit on her hands!

She says, growing up, she didn't like Frank Sinatra that much. His Reprise, 70's, rat-pack, ring-a-ding-ding, "Stranger's in the Night", do-be-do-be-do, Las Vegas swinger persona turned her off.

I tend to agree.

My favorite Sinatra is from the early 50's. Like "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" or "Only the Lonely". The first concept albums ever made. The dark, down on his luck, saloon songs were Sinatra singing from his soul after his 40's voice was damaged and his failed love affair with a famous actress (am I allowed to say who?). When Sinatra needed the movie part in "From Here to Eternity" so much, to revive his career, he went to the Godfather and the Godfather made the movie director an offer he couldn't refuse. But I digress.

Tierney sings these torch songs very deep in her singing range (and deeper in her emotional range than I'd heard on previous CD's). Many of the songs are similar tempo and orchestra arrangements to those 50's Sinatra albums. Some songs are with a piano trio only. Her phrasing is like Sinatra's, long drawn out vowels, deep voice, difficult for a woman. Some of the songs are on those early 50's Sinatra albums, some are not. I looked. But all are in the style. "Only the Lonely", "What'll I do", "I'll be Around", "All the Way". They're all good and deeply effective. Not a bad cut on the album.

Dark, warm, smooth, smoky, 'round midnight or later sad saloon songs. Love not returned. Even "Emily", which isn't from that period, is done as if it were.

Arrangment are sparklingly effective yet understated fit her like, hmmm, a silk stocking? Burnished. The bass is particularly effective. A great tribute the the best of Sinatra, and great singing achievement. Clearly the best Jazz vocal of the year, thus far. And Tierney's best work to date. Great Telarc recording.

Highly Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dancing in the Dark.............
Writing a review on a jazz vocalist isn't the norm for me. First, let me say that I'm in love with Tierney Sutton's voice. Historically speaking, when it comes to vocal jazz, I could take it or leave it. Michael Franks is the only exception to my rule. Norah Jones and Diana Krall, don't excite me much. I can actually listen to Tierney without falling asleep. Personally, her music allows me to reflect on past and present situations in my life. Although "Dancing in the dark" is a well produced cd, tracks 1,3,4, and 11 are my absolute favorites. Overall, I'd say that she's a hidden treasure worthy of more publicity that others such as Diana Krall and Norah Jones receive. Got cash? Get the cd

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspired Recording
The subtitle of this album is obviously chosen with great care--it's not a "tribute to Frank Sinatra" but "inspired by the music of Frank Sinatra." I can understand the initial disappointment experienced by some listeners, but with repeated playings this album gets better and better. Not only does it become clear that Sutton's is a unique sound--dynamic, alive, warm and enveloping as opposed to the detached coolness and occasional hardness of a Krall or dispassionate indifference of a Julie London--but that this is as sincere and effective a Sinatra tribute as any that's heretofore appeared. The choice of repertory is inspired (not the signature songs of the later Chairman of the Board but the soul-stirring, deeply affecting "lieder" of the earlier concept albums on Capitol), and though the arrangements, harmonies, and rhythms are fresh and reinvented (we're mercifully spared another "impersonation" album), the phrasing and feeling are intimately, faithfully reflective of a performer who has made contact with what is most genuine and essential in the artistry of Old Blue himself. This is the best vocal album I've heard in the new milennium.

1-0 out of 5 stars Imitation interpretations
In this recording Tierney Sutton offers up a tantalizing collection of songs, a tribute to Frank Sinatra's moody, introspective side. Too bad the performance doesn't match the material. Her little-girl voice moves through stretched, clipped, and oddly distorted "interpretations" of lyrics, offering neither new insights nor convincing expression, but rather drawing attention to a conscious effort to sound different. The very pronounced piano obbligatos by Christian Jacob seem to veer between watered-down Erroll Gardner and Bobby Short, while the string choir offers not much more than very muted, simple scales that contribute irrelevant backgrounds. Is this a CD to acquire? Only if the songs you want aren't available in other versions.

3-0 out of 5 stars Yes to the band, no to the singer
I am mystified by reviewers' ecstatic comments about 'Dancing in the Dark." As many have noted, the musicianship on this CD is sensitive and beautiful. No singer could ask for better. Unfortunately, the singer--at least based on the evidence presented here--is a performer of modest gifts who is pleasant enough to listen to but doesn't take the material anywhere it hasn't been before, many times before.

Anybody in the market for a hardly-played Tierney Sutton CD? ... Read more


14. Triplets of Belleville (Score)
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000168ACI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 895
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Taking the cue for its visual conception from sources as diverse asBritish cartoonist Gerald Scarfe and the antic, rubbery surrealism ofTex Avery's Warner Bros. Cartoons of the 30's, this madcap caper fromFrench writer/director Sylvain Chomet is one of the most delightfullyskewed animated films in recent memory. Scoring such a thorough originalis no easy task, but composer/musician Benoit Charest has more thanrisen to the occasion. Charest manages to evoke the loopy musical spiritof legendary Warner and Disney animation legend Carl Stalling in anentirely new context, fusing the score's snappy, predominantly le hotjazz mindset with everything from hip-hop and Bach (credited her as"Jean Sebastien") to the Italian opera farrago "Cieco Cieco Barber"and1960s proto-surf-rock of "Pa Pa Pa Palavas." But that conceptual stewisn't the least of Charest's delightful surprises, as he giddily infusesit with his own Django-esque guitar stylings and a hodge-podge of"found" rhythmic instruments that include bicycle wheels, refrigeratorshelves and a vacuum cleaner; surely there must be a kitchen sink buriedin the mix somewhere. The result is a score that uses tradition as buta launching pad for one of the most rewarding and delightfully originalanimated scores in recent memory.-- Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun, jazzy soundtrack full of great music
From the opening sounds of "Under the Bridge," featuring car horns and bicycle spokes, you realize that this is no ordinary soundtrack album. It's full of French-flavored jazz, such as "Jazzy Bach" and "Belleville Jungle," with a pop song called "Attila Marcel" (sung by the incredible Béatrice Bonifassi), some catchy, kitschy songs such as "'Cieco Cieco' Barber" and "Pa Pa Pa Palavas," and the infectious, 1920's-flavored "Belleville Rendez-Vous."

Written by Benoît Charest ,"Belleville Rendez-Vous" is the most recognizable song from the film, having earned a deserved Oscar nomation and appearing on the album in numerous versions: French, English, Demo, instrumental and as a theme. The album also includes many samples of Charest's unique score, from the plaintive "Bruno's Theme" (with a solo, sad accordian) to the use of a refrigerator, a vacuum and other unusual instruments for "Cabaret Hoover." It's a wonderful album that evokes the look and feel of the film.

A hidden track also appears at the very end. For anyone who has seen the movie, it's definitely a pleasant surprise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible score writing
for the modern era of music making magic, Ben Charest does an amazing job at capturing the true adventure in song that is portrayed paralell in animation. Five stars to Mr. Charest. Hail Sinfonia.

5-0 out of 5 stars A zany throwback to swanky jazz, French surf, opera and more
We received the "Triplets of Belleville" soundtrack as a late addition to our March in-store play. About thirty seconds after I put the CD into our carousel player, I was dumbfounded: the most discordant, strange noise crackled over our store speakers--a bizarre melody of a refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and bicycle spokes. What *was* this? (I didn't see the film until a couple of days ago, at which point it all made sense).

"This" was the amazing soundtrack to "Les Triplettes de Belleville," a joint French-Québécois animated feature about Madame Souza and her orphaned grandson Champion, who dreams of becoming a bicyclist in the prestigious Tour de France. When Champion is kidnapped by the Mafia and spirited away to Belleville (a synthesis of Paris, New York and Montréal), Madame Souza enlists the help of the Triplets of Belleville, an aging jazz-era vocal group.

The film's soundtrack reflects the jazz stylings of Django Reinhart (Belleville Rendez-Vous (there are three versions: French, demo and English (performed by -M-, and the film was nominated for an Oscar for best song), Jazzy Bach), along with melancholy French café accordion music (Attila Marcel, sung by the amazing Béatrice Bonifassi, and Bruno's Theme), French surf music (Pa Pa Palavas, performed by the film's composer, Benoît Charest), opera ("Cieco Cieco" Barber), and spy-style chase songs (French Mafia Theme, The Shadowing, The Chase).

I would have enjoyed the soundtrack more if it had been listed as it appeared in the movie, though. Also, the gorgeous "Kyrie Eleison" from Mozart's Mass in C Minor was left off. But the nineteen tracks (and one hidden track) are a wonderful mixture of old and new, jazz and Parisian café, delightfully quirky and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Vive la différence!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Music but out of order
I love the soundtrack, but was disappointed that the songs are not ordered as they "appear" in the film. The order on the CD then seems to be completely arbitrary. Still a great CD, but I think that it could have been better if the tracks were ordered properly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A score even greater than its film
Triplets of Belleville is a great movie, but this album is even closer to perfection than the film. Great hot jazz music abounds, dominated by the "Belleville Rendez-vous" (wonderfully performed at the 2003 Academy Awards), which is reprised several times, including a demo and an English-language version. A few tracks are perhaps better in service of the film than they are as stand-alone compositions, but that is a minor point. This is perhaps the most essential soundtrack album in decades. I think I would have to go back as far as Ragtime to think of an original soundtrack album of such achievement. See the film, then get this album. ... Read more


15. The Boy from Oz (2003 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B0000DJZ7T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1177
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Peter Allen was an Australian gay man who was once married to Liza Minnelli and was still officially in the closet when he died of AIDS in 1992. It's obvious that when it comes to sheer drama, Allen's life is pretty hard to beat, and Hugh Jackman's portrayal in this bio-show terrifically brings home the music man's energy and inner contradictions. Too bad his life's intensity wasn't reflected in Allen's milquetoast songs, which are generously sprinkled throughout the show. Technically, Jackman's not the best singer (Brian Stokes Mitchell continues to rule Broadway in that regard), but his charisma is undeniable. His take on "I Go to Rio" is appropriately high octane, for instance, while "I Still Call Australia Home" (Oz's unofficial anthem) is rather poignant. As Judy and Liza, respectively, Isabel Keating and Stephanie J. Block try hard to emulate their models' vocal styles, which can be really distracting. Overall, though, this album is mostly for serious fans of either Allen and Jackman. --Elisabeth Vincentelli ... Read more

Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hugh Jackman Channels the Spirit of Peter Allen
As a longtime fan of Peter Allen's music, and someone lucky to have experienced the legendary stage performer in person three times, I was ecstatic when "The Boy From Oz" came to Broadway. The show itself is a basic pain-by-numbers affair that never fully mines the pathos and brilliance of its subject, with shoddy sets and awkward designs that feel better suited to a high school production than a stage on the Great White Way. But all of the incidentals of this show are completely forgotten and take a much needed back seat to Allen's inspired music and the glorious star-making performance of Hugh Jackman in the title role. I haven't experienced anything quite like the feelings that came up for me as I watched this talented Aussie pin-up and actor literally transcend definition and BECOME Peter Allen - mind, body and spirit. Whereas supporting cast members are given fine opportunities to embody the likes of Liza Minelli (Allen's ex wife) and Judy Garland - and do so admirably despite the obvious challenges that come with playing a well known entertainer - it's Jackman who astonishes in a role that ideally suits his tenuous but forceful voice and his gentle, though complete grasp of character. Watching Jackman on stage was at times like watching the original Allen, who whipped his audiences (and myself) into a frenzy with boundless stage energy, costumes galore and a quick witted manner that was both adorable and dismissive at once. Funny, light, abrasive and ultimately sad, Jackman captures the human qualities of the late great singer-songwriter, whose "DOn't Cry Out Loud" and "I Honestly Love You" became staples for the brokenhearted. This cast recording seems blessed - if that's possible - by Allen's spirit. It's a fitting tribute to a vocalist whose singing ability was secondary to his phrasing and showmanship, and an eerie reminder that when you find huge new musical theater talent like Hugh Jackman, you RUN (do not pass GO, do not stop at the light) to get tickets. A stratling once-in-a-lifetime stage performance, reserved here for eternity. Let's all pray for an eventual DVD of the show! Jackman is TONY and GRAMMY bound!

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!!
Fabulous! After being disappointed in so many Broadway recordings of late, this is the real deal. I had a show me attitude toward this one, but I loved it from the very first listen. A high octane, high energy show full of great tunes and numbers. I was never a big Peter Allen fan during his heyday, but I was only exposed to a few of his songs. I was surprised at the breadth and depth of his work on here. (Granted, he often worked with other lyricists). Havent seen the show, but if its as good as this recording, it has to be specactular. Isabel Keating sounds so much like Judy Garland its a little creepy. The whole cast, led by Hugh Jackman, is great. If you've only known Jackman from his movie roles, prepare to be bowled over. His version of Once Before I Go, alone is worth the price of the CD. Dont Miss This!! Tony, here we come!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
Hugh Jackman has truly outdone himself with the hit Broadway show, 'The Boy From Oz'. This CD is proof of that.

It includes the 26 broadway songs, all of them sung wonderfully. Those songs include--The Lives of Me--My Name in Lights--Love Crazy--All I Wanted was a Dream--Older Woman--The Best That You Can Do--Don't Wish too Hard--Come Save Me--Continental American--I Love to Hear the Music--Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage--I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love--Not the Boy Next Door--Bi-Costal--If You Were Wondering--Everything Old is New Again--Love Don't Need a Reason--I Honestly Love You-- You and Me--I Still Call Australia Home--Don't Cry Out Loud--Once Before I Go--Rio--Tenterfield Saddler.

Hugh Jackman is refreshingly different from his previous roles [X-Men (Wolverine) and Van Helsing], and puts his heart and soul into every note he sings. I recently saw the Broadway Show, and his performance was truly hilarious. He would interact wth the crowd and get everyone riled up for the next scene. Every motion he did was part of his character, and truly made it a worthwhile experiance. I highly reccomend seeing the show and buying this CD.

1-0 out of 5 stars Wish I hadn't bought it
I was raised on show music, normally can't get enough. This one is too loud, tuneless, with pretentious pronunciation and annoying vocalists. Yuck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peter Allen (the Boy) is NEW Again
I have seen the "The Boy From Oz" twice on Broadway and believe it is definitely the most fabulous Broadway show in years. Hugh Jackman's performance in the role of the late Peter Allen (songwriter, cabaret singer and recording artist) is clearly one of the most outstanding in Broadway history. Part of that performance is captured on this CD (ie, the vocal part). So, I bought the CD. While the CD brings back great memories of the show, I have learned to value the CD for its own merits. Firstly, the music of Peter Allen is incredible (the most amazing feat of this show is that the late Peter Allen's music is used to tell the story of his life). Each song on this CD is either moving, rhythmic, melodic and/or plain fun to listen to. Secondly, Hugh Jackman and the other cast members all give competent performances of the many classics contained on the CD. Thirdly, the arrangers outdid themselves refreshing and modifying some of the old arrangements (some are totally reinvented). As the song goes, everything old is new again. ... Read more


16. Get Away From Me
list price: $12.98
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001AP07M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1013
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Like Rufus Wainwright, Nellie McKay was born about thirty years too late. She may look like a winsome teenager on the cover of "Get Away From Me," but she's got the soul and grit of Ethel Merman, mincing her way through drawing room dramas and musical conflagrations with more subtlety, wit, and better personal politics than Eminen, but with similar results--most stunningly on "Sari," where she perfectly melds the ire of Missy Elliot with the goofiness of Moon Unit Zappa on this edgy rap song. McKay quickly changes personas becoming a torchy siren on her paean to domesticity "I Wanna Get Married," wearing her irony as lightly--and as transparently--as a see-through negligee. At nineteen, McKay has only scratched the surface of what she's capable of, veering from witty jazz, to edgy cabaret, to brash confessionals, and taking the listener on what certainly will prove to be a long, eccentric ride. --Jaan Uhelszki ... Read more

Reviews (108)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great New Talent with Spunk & Unique Style! Great CD!
Tonight, I saw Nellie McKay perform in person... with just her on a small empty stage, her little piano keyboard... and only her voice and immense talent to lean on. She confirmed she's a singer to watch in years to come. I first caught this talented singer on David Letterman a few weeks back singing a quirky little song, "The Dog Song" that was odd, spunky and cute in a way that couldn't help but bring a smile to your face. You'll get the same feeling and more from McKay's CD. It's a ecletic mix of jazz stylings, unique attempts at hip-hop rap, and old style ballads with a quirky edge... that's different from anything else I've heard recently. She's a breath of TRUE fresh air in a music world filled with cliched pop retreads from Britney to American Idol. The positive postings on this site about McKay's CD are all TRUE and WELL DESERVED... leading me to say BUY THIS CD! But, if you get a chance to catch McKay sing in person ...like she performed tonight before an intimate showcase crowd at the Paradise Lounge in Boston, you WON'T be disappointed. We're a tough crowd to please in Boston, just ask the NY Yankees... yet, McKay easily wowed over this opinionated music crowd with her quirky, peppy tunes... and edgy stylings that I found quite unique. It's evident she's new to performing before intimate crowds... and her self-effacing style, shy sweetness, and genuine appreciation for her audience was a pleasant contrast to the edgy lyrics and attitude that her CD presents so effectively. By the end of her second song in a 10-song set from her CD... she easily won over this tough Boston University-area crowd ... with the audience - a mix of college age AND middle age folks - cheering her on, loving EVERY song... and lining up to buy her CD by the end of her showcase set. She has a nice style, a cute, winning smile... and unique singing talent and songwriting style that will only mature and grow in the future. But this Freshman effort is well worth the listening time. Hers is a CD to buy... and Nellie McKay is a talent to watch for in the years to come!

5-0 out of 5 stars I think I'm in love...
Nellie McKay's Get Away From Me is an amazing debut album from an artist with a refreshing sound that borrows from many genres, but remains very personal. The album seems to have its basis in showtunes and torch songs, but has elements of disco, rap, country, Spanish guitar (by Jay Berliner of many, many famous jazz sessions including Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady), and many other styles of music. Her voice can be soft and breathy as well as sharp, all while singing her clever lyrics and playing her piano. Her piano skills are evident here and they range from classical to jazz to various pop stylings.

The album is full of great songs such as the smoky, beautiful "Manhattan Avenue", which is the most conventional of the tunes here. "Sari" is her "rap" song, and despite comparisons to Eminem, her style reminds me a whole lot more of MC Paul Barman. A lot of her songs are from specific points of view, and while they may represent things that she is feeling, they are very much about storytelling. "I Wanna Get Married" is about a girl who wants to get married, naturally. It has great lines like "I want to pack cute little lunches, for my Brady Bunches." And this is just a few of the tracks on the first disc!

The upbeat and catchy songs sometimes cleverly belie the darker lyrics and subject material. This album has a parental advisory sticker for a reason, although the explicitness in the album is done for a reason. This is edgy, modern, interesting, fun music that will mesmerize you.

The only complaint is that there are two discs and each disc is only 30 minutes long. Other than to seem like you are getting two records or maybe that this album is like a two act musical, I'm not sure why this is. The idea of a Nellie McKay musical is intriguing, but I imagine that might be too obvious.

Her music publishing company is Proud Dropout Music, and if that means that she dropped out of music school, I'd say it's Music School: 0 and Nellie McKay: 1. This album is not for everyone. I repeat, not for everyone, but if you've stayed this long for the review, I demand you go out and buy this album and support creative, smart music!

5-0 out of 5 stars This (19 year-old!) lady is...
a genius. Without question. There's no way to say anything here that's really useful, except that this reviewer feels she's already put herself into a category of musician that few will ever achieve. Ok, maybe I can say something useful: listen to several tracks. This is a very diversely populated recording. AND, realize she's playing most of the instruments you're hearing. AND, realize she wrote all of her songs. Then, just enjoy. There won't be another like her for a long time.

1-0 out of 5 stars Shoot Me
She is one of the worst artists I have ever heard sing, if you want to call it singing, it's more like heart wrenching wailing. It is not that I don't enjoy her type of music, I love any type of music. However, every song she sings makes me feel like I'm spining out of control and will throw up. She is even worse in concert. I recently saw her live and lauged so hard as did the security guards and other members of the audience. The loudest applause of the night was when she left the stage. I would not reccomend buying this CD unless you want to give it to your worst enemy, and even that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Elephants are not lifesavers, so do not try to float on one
This is cool and funny, i am in a hurry, see you, and remember, don't tickle any platypus. ... Read more


17. At Last
list price: $13.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B0000DG06E
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1053
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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The girl who just wanted to have fun has matured into a sensitive interpreter of eclectic standards. Taking a cue from Rod Stewart Cyndi Lauper applies her formidable pipes to an eclectic collection of covers that range from a few Edith Piaf tunes ("La Vie En Rose" and "Hymn to Love") to classics from the songbooks of Bacharach/David, Etta James, and Smokey Robinson. Although there are some upbeat tracks such as the remarkably authentic Specials-styled ska of a radically reworked "Sunny Side of the Street," a rather forced but fun duet with Tony Bennett on "Makin’ Whoopee," and the cha-cha, Ricky Ricardo-ized version of Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs' "Stay," the album predominantly floats in a sober, pensive mood. Piano and subtle orchestrations add tension to sensitive readings of "Unchained Melody," "Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood," and an eerily somber "Walk on By." The effect is haunting and intimate as Lauper unleashes her inner Tori Amos. Shifting "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me" into an aching ballad, the singer shows her remarkable vocal range and interpretive ability. Lauper's voice sparkles throughout, especially without the overproduction that has marred some of her previous efforts. As its title infers, At Last finally shows her true colors.--Hal Horowitz ... Read more

Reviews (416)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cyndi's Back - Sounding Incredible
In the 90's we saw Cyndi fall somewhat into obscurity, though her tremendous talent was still intact, all the while. It was no fault of Ms. Lauper's, but of her record Co. that objected to her new direction in music, and refused to give her the promotion she really deserved. At the time she was releasing such wonderfully underrated albums as HFOS and SOA. Both of which demonstrated Lauper's real gift for prolific songwriting skills and a maturity way beyond her She's So Unusual days. Moving forward to 2003, we still see that uniquely gifted artist emerging as a singer of newly worked torch songs. But what we get here is a bonus... this is not your usual repertoire of pop covers, this is Cyndi's own interpretation of songs which are the back drop of her childhood, brought to life by her amazing interpretive ability and a voice so individualistic and powerful, few could duplicate. At Last is a moving, uplifting body of work that showcases Cyndi's almost freakish 4 octave vocal range. It's arguably some of her best work ever. What I admire so much about her is that she's not afraid to show the flaws in her voice, which only adds to the realism and beauty of the music. This works exceptionally well on songs like French singer Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose, where her voice actually breaks in the last verse. It's both heartstopping and very affecting. On Hymn To Love, another Piaf song, Cyndi is able to use her vocals in that angelic quality that she's known for. Her vocals are so beautiful and appealing on this track, I find myself listening to it repeatedly. The extremely dark and haunting If You Go Away is destined to become another Lauper Classic. It's a very moody piece that screams of quiet desperation and suffering. We get to see that dark side of Cyndi which was so evident on HFOS and SOA, of which both of those albums were very personal to her as well. One of the most striking things about this record are the purposely sparse, yet very appropriately handled music arrangements. This way the listener can get the full effect of Cyndi's voice -completely exposed and out in front, the way it is meant to sound. I couldn't be happier that Cyndi is now getting kind of promotion she's always deserved from Sony. You will have to judge for yourselves, but I couldn't be more satisfied w/At Last. It's definitely worth a listen, and then some.

4-0 out of 5 stars Girls Just Want To Sing!
When Cyndi Lauper signed with the Epic subsidiary label Daylight in late 2003, five years after being dropped from the parent company's label, it was decided that a make-over was in order. Said make-over would be both visual and professional. Gone would be the funky outfits and multi-hued hair. A finished album from 2001 of dance-edged tracks would stay in the can for the time being. Instead, it was decided that Lauper's first major project back in the spotlight would center around her voice, a marvelous instrument that's often been overlooked and overshadowed, and rarely received it's just dues. It was then decided to record stripped-down cover tunes, songs that Lauper had loved growing up. Thus was born AT LAST, a sparsly arranged set of tunes that pushes Cyndi Lauper the singer out front and center. Opening up the disc is the classic title track. Backed only by keyboards, bass and muted strings, Lauper soars, perfectly embracing the song and setting the mood for the rest of the CD. Next up is the Bacharach/David classic "Walk On By", without a doubt one of AT LAST's high points. With it's delicate piano/bass/snare drum mix and ethereal flute arrangement, the song is capped off with a gut-wrenching vocal performance. This is a hit single waiting to happen! If the only version of "Stay" that you're familiar with is Jackson Browne's.....well, you're in for a rude awakening! Lauper takes the song and turns it on it's ear, giving it a horn-drenched, percussion-punched vibe. It's flirty, fun and funky, and you can just picture Lauper dancing across the floor down Miami or Cuba way, flowers in her hair and one long-stemmed rose between her teeth! "La Vie En Rose" seems a bit out of place here, and Lauper's vocals come across as a little over the top. The same can't be said about her captivating performance on "Unchained Melody." One of the most butchered, over-sung songs of all time, Lauper takes the cut in the direct opposite direction of most singers....minimal, bare-boned, hushed. The results are chilling. "If You Go Away" is somewhat painful, with a plaintive wail of a lead vocal that assaults the listener's ears and ultimately comes across as histrionic. The same can't be said about "Until You Come Back To Me." With it's light, finger-popping, percussive groove - think Edie Brickell's "What I Am!" - and sexy, sly vocal gymnastics (not to mention Stevie Wonder's perfect harmonica fills!), this is pop music perfection, and one of Lauper's ten all-time best recordings. Brilliant! Almost as much fun is the updated version (George Clooney? Jennifer Aniston?? Queen Latifah?!?) of "My Baby Just Cares For Me." With it's smokey, jazz club arrangement and sweet vocals, hints of the girl who just wanted to have fun sneak in, resulting in a track that can't help but make you smile. The same can't be said for "Makin' Whoopee", her duet with Tony Bennett. Bennett seems to be coasting, it seems a step back for Lauper and there's no real connection between the two. It's almost as if the song were recorded in two different studios. Up next is "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." Capturing the original's intensity, Lauper delivers a drop-to-her-knees track that results in you wanting to wrap your arms around her and tell her it's O.K., that you understand. Another high point on the CD! As is her take on "You've Really Got A Hold On Me"....backed only by Steve Gaboury's gorgeous keyboards, Lauper's vocals swoop and soar, caress and comfort. Probably the best vocal on the disc, this is singing the way it's meant to be (and should be!) done! "Hymn To Love" is delivered in a soft, almost lullaby manner, somewhat hesitant, yet honest and, ultimately, wise. Closing out the CD is the bright, bouncy "On The Sunny Side Of The Street." With it's joyous vocal, it's a philosophy the listener can't help but feel Lauper lives her life by. That said, here's hoping Lauper will be able to apply that philosophy, along with the vocal lessons she's learned here, onto her next CD of original material. Until then, this one will have to be the one to remind us of what a true singer Cyndi Lauper really is, a fact that is finally, indisputably, clear.....AT LAST.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cyndi Does An Excellent Job
Cyndi put on an amazing show last night in Oregon. She is so fantastic live. The crowd was so into her. Even though she was 'under the weather,'suffering from a sore throat, you couldn't tell. She sang amazingly well. Her voice IS really unbelievable in a live setting. I picked up the 'At Last' CD afterwards, and it's so great!!! Cyndi does some outstanding versions of 'Unchained Melody,' 'Walk On By,' 'Hymn To Love' and 'La Vie En Rose'( a song that was featured on 'Joan Of Arcadia'). When Cyndi was mentioned at the end of the episode as the artist who sang it, I wanted to get the cd, and then I heard she was going to be performing in Oregon. It was my first time seeing Cyndi in person. It was sooo worth it. If you like the songs already, you'll love this cd.

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Great" Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi had visited in Germany last year, November 2003, to promote "At Last," & I desperately wanted to witness her in all her glory- live. For years I had hoped she would come back and sing all those songs she was singing to her american audiences over seas. I was beyond any words when I saw the advertisement for her show here. I was lucky enough to get a ticket. It was an exclusive show- at Quasimodo. It was immediately sold out soon after. I watched her mesmerized- as she sang almost all the songs- the classics that we hear on the CD. It was beyond my dreams to hear & see one of the greatest singer's in popular music. She sang with her whole heart on these songs, as on the CD. Only the voice is even more amazing live! I'm stunned how anyone could not think that Ms. Lauper is not one of our top vocalists. She is All that. She is simply put- the Best!

5-0 out of 5 stars Consider the DVD
Cyndi provides a sweet introduction to her concert on the DVD, and it's so interesting to watch her sing and see what she does to hit those incredible notes. I guess the real reason I bought the DVD instead is that the last time I had seen her she was so submerged in her MTV days "look". I wanted to see the real Cyndi -- and I wasn't disappointed by the DVD. ... Read more


18. Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1966 Original Off-Broadway Cast)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000067AS5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3149
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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At the time of this show's 1968 Greenwich Village debut, French singer-songwriter Jacques Brel's body of theatrically insightful ballads was already an obscure but deeply influential treasure trove for many American musicians. The revue's success would go on to influence artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Bowie (who covered "Amsterdam" shortly thereafter), and Sinatra, and it may even be responsible for one-hit wonder Terry Jacks's revival of "Seasons in the Sun".

More important, the pioneering musical-without-a-book helped introduce Brel's oft-brooding, ever evocative art to a wider American audience--and arguably had an evolutionary influence on Broadway itself. This complete reissue of the 1968 boxed set cast album offers up a rich cross-section of Brel's songs about life, death, and love--and typically sharp-eyed observations about the human follies that season them--deftly performed by a cast that includes Elly Stone, Alice Whitfield, Shawn Elliott, and, crucially, rock pioneer, Brel associate, and co-producer Mort Shuman. This new edition fleshes out the set with the sessions' only unreleased song, a sprightly take on the deliciously cynical "The Middle Class."--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars JACQUES BREL for the ages
JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS brought Brel back into the spotlight (if indeed he ever left). The original off-Broadway production of 1966 became the toast of New York when it first appeared and featured a cast including the delicious Elly Stone.

For Elly Stone fans, this reissue is a must-own. For Jacques Brel fans, it is equally so. The masterful song-stylings of Stone with Mort Shuman, Alice Whitfield and Shawn Elliott cannot be beat.

Elly Stone delights with "I Loved" and later tears at the heartstrings with "You're Not Alone". Mort Shuman delivers the sobering "Next" with all the anger of innocence lost, and Shawn Elliott is superb with "Bachelor's Dance".

Highly-recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brel better than ever on this remastered CD
... This just released remastered version of the original Off-Broadway cast brings back memories of the first time I heard it on vinyl in the mid-70s, only here the sound is better and an extra song ("The Middle Class") makes this a must-have CD for any fan of show music, Brel and French cabaret torch songs...with that Brel edge of course.

4-0 out of 5 stars --
For those of us English-speakers, it's a bit tough to really 'get' what Jacques Brel did and how good he was, so it's necessary for us to see this production and/or buy it, along with Scott Walker's English interpretations. There will always be criticisms of how well the cast represented Brel and his energy but I don't think that was really the point of the show. Shuman and Co. wanted to be as accurate as possible as far as conveying the spirit of Brel's work, but the intent of the production was to introduce the English-speaking world to Brel's work, and in that respect they succeeded.

You can't commend Mort Shuman enough for how seamlessly he translated Brel's original French into English without compromising any of the content or rhythm and it speaks volumes about how talented he was as a songwriter in his own right. Future generations are, and will be, grateful to him for it. Regardless of how one interprets the work of this cast, Shuman will always be responsible for anybody's English version of a Brel song because he was the one who sat down with Brel himself and worked it all out.

One thing this project experimented with to a good deal of success was using a female as Brel's voice for some of the more tender and vulnerable songs. I think 'Timid Frieda' and 'Old Folks' outshine Brel's originals due to that element and 'You're Not Alone' at least matches Brel. The two female cast members, Stone and Whitfield, sing throughout, but those solo performances are a nice touch.

Although Shuman and Elliott perform admirably, I find myself preferring Scott Walker's voice and sneer on 'Mathilde', 'Jackie', 'Amsterdam' and 'Next'. Walker projected more power and anyone who's into Brel should really seek out Walker's work if they haven't already.

Mortality is the foremost theme in all of Brel's work, and what made him so great is how he made death and poverty beautiful and not so much a tragedy. Still, for all the songs about dying and aging he'd still throw in a jaunty trot like 'Madeleine' or 'Brussels' to balance things out.

Moods aside, the music strikes the North American as very European and somewhat exotic for it has a richness of tradition and history that the Americas lack. Not necessarily in terms of time, but in terms of critical experience and culture. We don't know what it's like to live in a country that lost a war or to experiment with different forms of government or socialism on a grand scale. Brel's music comes from just such a place and it's interesting, leaving the listener somewhat jealous.

Brel's greatest talent in my opinion though is how he dealt with challenging and complex issues using such simple language that anybody can understand them, and not only that, but feel it in their heart. You just can't find anything more heartbreaking than 'Old Folks' and 'Fanette' anywhere and neither of them ever get dense or particularly poetic. They're like a raw feed, so to speak, from the center of existence.

Brel himself gets five stars anywhere but this particular interpretation gets four. That's a good four though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sparkling, engaging music, spirited lyrics, smart cast
Introduced to "Alive and well" in a college production in fall 1972, this album has captivated me for years, from young adulthood to middle age. The music is timeless, the energy is magnificent, the translated lyrics are moving, irony-filled, funny, spiteful, insightful and a whole lot more.

With this superb four-person cast, supported by a small number of instruments, the voices and lyrics make this a full-bodied hit. Mort Shuman's "Amsterdam," Brel's dedication to the night life in the port of the Dutch city, haunts and enlivens me. His "Next", a sad memory of his first sexual encounter, provided gratis by the army, makes it clear why he never wants to be "next" ever again. Elly Stone's voice leaves me near tears. Shawn Elliott and Alice Whitfield have slightly smaller roles and receive lesser accolades, but their contributions are memorable and make the production full, rich and well-rounded. The closing, "If we only have love," is a tribute to the author and to the cast. With 23 stylish numbers, this CD is one you can play endlessly, enjoying. Adding "The middle class" to this version is not only a nice 'extra', it is one of the best numbers, a memorable tribute to the terror of first despising the middle class, only to later find you are part of it, and despised as well.

These are 'show tunes' in the best sense of the term, and although there is no linear plot to follow, the music makes the show one worth repeating. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris - SUPERB
I've been looking for this CD for years and am delighted that it has finally been made available (and remastered!). You must listen to the words; then the music will just envelop you, and you won't be able to get the songs out of your mind. I was lucky enough to see the play when it ran in San Francisco with the original cast. ... Read more


19. Capitol Sings Cole Porter: Anything Goes
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B00000DRCN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10022
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant But Seldom Memorable
The 1950s and 1960s found Capitol Records with a bright roster of recording artists who specialized in pop classics--and in the course of their Capitol careers many of them took a crack at a Cole Porter song or two, with this compilation the result. And although pleasant enough, taken as a whole it is surprisingly innocuous.

Some of the selections are a bit strange. Judy Garland was a truly memorable performer who could work wonders with a Porter song--but "I Happen to Like New York," one of Porter's truly minor works, is not particularly suited to her gifts. Helen O'Connell was a gifted vocalist, but in similar fashion her style is somewhat at odds with the delicate and formal "In The Still of the Night"--a song specifically written with a male vocalist in mind.

Even so, all of the artists, including those whose luster has faded with the passing years, give at least respectable showings--and here and there a diamond pops out at you, as in Peggy Lee's "From Now On," Louis Prima's "I've Got You Under My Skin," and Nancy Wilson's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." But by and large, this is really Cole Porter reduced to background music for a 1960-ish suburban cocktail party: pleasant, but not remarkable enough to stop conversation.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

4-0 out of 5 stars A Clarification
I must clarify a point in Mr. Lawrance M. Bernabo's review. When one speaks of Cole Porter's lyrics, one must remember he didn't write all of them. For songs from "Anything Goes" he partnered with the man few people remember as having penned the words to the most concurrent Broadway hits ever back in the beginning of the last century: Jeeves' author P.G. Wodehouse. If you listen to some of those lyrics and then cast your mind to the wacky world of Bertie Wooster, The Drones, et. al., it begins to become evident. And what a wonderful pairing Porter and Wodehouse were!

As for the CD itself, it seems to be wonderful. The only limitation is the "Capitol" label. So many fine versions, which might make an even better collection if mixed in, don't happen to live in their domain.

2-0 out of 5 stars contrarian view
As a long-time fan of Cole Porter, I found this recording a mishmash of vocalists promoting their own singing style and mangling the purity of the composer's work. What was done to "Begin the Beguine" is beyond description.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Series -- Perfect Gift
There are a couple of these series of composer's "songbooks" culled from the archives of various record labels. The Verve series and the "Capitol Sings" are the best of the bunch. The Capitol collections tend to be a bit more pop, while the Verve disc are "jazzier," but with artists like Stan Kenton, Gerry Mulligan, Peggy Lee and Nancy Wilson, Capitol was no slouch in the jazz department, either.

This collection is especially fine, start to finish. It's a nicely diverse selction of Porter tunes performed in a variety of styles, from Broadway to near be-bop. It's impossible, even if you're a fan of the more improvisational stuff, not to love Judy's Garland's weirdly majestic "I Happen to Like New York" or the tender Jo Stafford/Gordon McCrae "Wunderbar." And hooray for Louis and Keely, and Peggy Lee with George Shearing, for giving us fresh treatments of canonical tunes that make them evergreen.

This is a great gift for people who don't know how great the American pop standard can be.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yeah, Cole Porter's tunes, but man those lyrics!
It is interesting to note that until you get to the last three tracks on "Anything Goes," the Capitol Sings collection of Cole Porter tunes, the songs are arranged in alphabetical order from "All of You" by Annie Ross to "You're the Top" by June Turner. Go figure. The main thing is that these songs harken back to the old days when hearing the words was important to enjoying the song. Certainly Cole Porter's lyrics are even more fun than his melodies. "Anything Goes" features the standard mix of big names such as Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Nat King Cole with lesser known talents such as Martha Tilton, June Christie, Jeri Southern, Trudy Richards and Jean Turner. Actually, this album probably has more great songs by the latter group than any other in the Capitol Sings series. The lasting appeal of Porter's songs is represented by having songs covered by both Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minelli. It is really hard to just pick a few favorites from this one: Gordon MacRae's "Begin the Beguine," Tony Bennett's "Anything Goes" with Count Basie, Louis Prima and Keely Smith ripping through "I've Got You Under My Skin," and Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae's tender duet of "Wundebar" easily spring to mind. This album also features a couple of previously unreleased tracks: Martha Tilton singing "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and Chris Connor's cover of "I Get A Kick Out Of You." As always you get a wide mix of musical stylings, from the most up-tempo version of "In the Still of the Night" you will ever hear done by Helen O'Connell to a somewhat slow but still swinging version of "True Love" by Dino. With "Anything Goes" you will hear some quite different versions of your favorite Porter tunes gathered from the Capitol vaults, and virtually every song has those remarkably witty lyrics. ... Read more


20. Comic Strip
list price: $13.98
our price: $13.98
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Asin: B000001EIC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12864
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Compilation
Where most compilations fail, this one succeeds. Rather than trying to paint a picture of Gainsbourg's entire output, "Comic Strip" focuses on the artist's output from the late 60s, the period most regard as his peak.

While there are a few arguably important songs from the late 60s that are absent here, the track selection is excellent overall. 'Comic Strip' and 'Bonnie and Clyde' highlight Gainsbourg's work with Brigitte Bardot. 'Requiem pour un Con' is a timeless wonder. But what really impresses about this CD is that it does not try to merely provide a greatest hits package. Lesser known songs such as 'Ford Mustang' and 'Un Poison Violent' are welcome additions.

And as the album progresses we get Gainsbourg's late 60s output, accented by his collaboration with Jane Birkin in 'Soixante-Neuf Année Erotique.'

There were a plethora or songs that Gainsbourg wrote very other artists, so his value is doubly important. 'Les Sucettes' and 'Sous le Soleil Exactement' are great examples, and the inclusion of his own versions are very welcome indeed.

This is a wonderful overview of the peak of the most influential French songwriter ever, a man who still casts a large shadow of influence over modern day French, American, and British artists. A very smart buy to become familiar with his work....

2-0 out of 5 stars we're so pretty
The music on this CD is interesting to me. It is a collection of songs by Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) who played an important role in the French pop phenomenon "ye-ye girls" of the sixties. Each of the songs follow a similar format becoming sillier, giddier and unbelieveably dippy. ;D Serge recites lyrics with the help of photogenic females and a lounge band. To be fair, the backing vocalists were hired because of their natural talent rather than vocal abilities. It's difficult to hear whether Serge got what he paid for. ;D The title cut is an example of his characteristic, unique musical expression. Serge is supported by Briggitte Bardot gleefully singing comic strip onomatopoeia. In an uncharacteristic turn of social responsibility, Serge has a song about the Torrey Canyon disaster. On 18 March 1967, the oil tanker Torrey Canyon struck rocks off the Ilse of Scilly triggering the worst pollution emergency the world had then witnessed. Regretably, worse disasters than this song have since occured. If you are interested in the French fad of the ye-ye girls or in incredibly silly music, this CD will interest you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dirty Old Man Of Popular Music
Great collection of Serge Gainsbourg songs recorded from 1966-1969. I became intrested in Serge when I bought Mick Harvey's first album Intoxicated Man. This collection is 100% French pop. 20 fabulous songs.
Here you can find a fabulous erotic number "Je t'aime...moi non plus", some collaborations with Brigitte Bardot (Bonnie and Clyde, Comic Strip) or Jane Birkin (69 anee erotique, Je'taime...moi non plus) and one of my favourites "Les succettes". Very listenable and enjoyable compilation.

4-0 out of 5 stars French pop from the swinging sixties
Requiem pour un c... has an interesting rhythmic texture, whilst Bonnie and Clyde (a duet with Brigitte Bardot) is a slow, meandering ballad. Initials B.B. is another slow number with Serge in talking vocal style over an orchestral backing.

The title track Comic Strip is a lilting pop number with interesting vocal effects and a catchy tune. Chatterton has nice organ lines, Bloody Jack is a singalong ditty embellished with great female vocals, Docteur Jeckyll et Monsieur Hyde is typical 1960 European orchestral pop and Torrey Canyon has a bouncy pace.

Shu Ba Du Ba Loo Ba is an uptempo ditty whist the slow ballad Ford Mustang has an interesting interplay between the male and female vocals. The rock feel and urgent pace of Qui est In, Qui est Out are welcome at this point and are also evident in Hold Up, a lively pop song. Marilu is lighter, but with a charming melody, bright vocals and some great handclaps.

Sous le soleil exactement is a gentle soulful ballad in Serge's sexy style, which is echoed in 69 année érotique with its languid female vocals framing Serge's ruminations. L'anamour is another gentle ballad with a memorable tune. The album concludes with Je T'Aime, his famous ballad with Jane Birkin, the erotic masterpiece that was a huge hit worldwide.

Compared to the same era's pop music from the Anglosphere, there seems to be more emphasis on the lyrics than on melody throughout the album. The music is more orchestral than François Hardy's tuneful folkie style from the same period. Comic Strip is an interesting window on the talent of Serge Gainsbourg who will always be remembered for the magnificent Je T'Aime (Moi Non Plus) in the rest of the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliance Personified
Great collection of hits by the biggest...... in the history of pop music. This collection includes none of the questionable new-wave and neo-reggae efforts of the later 70's and 80's, so it's great from beginning to end. Interesting to see just how innovative Gainsbourg was, especially rythm-wise. The classic "Initials BB" makes some of the best modern hip-hop beats seem trivial. ... Read more


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