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Weekend Wround-Up – The Diva Edition: Midler, Streisand Releases Coming Soon

with 24 comments

Welcome to today’s Weekend Wround-Up: The Diva Edition!

Nobody – no, nobody! – is going to rain on Barbra Streisand’s parade.  Columbia Records, the singer’s home since 1963, has announced that Streisand will remain with the label that guided her to stardom.  Speculation had arisen some months back that the singer might decamp for a new artistic residence,  but those rumors have now officially been set to rest.  “From the day [legendary Columbia President] Goddard Lieberson signed me almost 50 years ago, Columbia Records has been my recording home,” said Streisand in a statement, “and I am thrilled to continue that partnership for many years to come.”  Steve Barnett, Chairman and COO of Columbia Records, confirmed the news: “There are stars and there are superstars, and there’s Barbra Streisand…Columbia Records is proud to play a vital role in her extraordinary career. We’re looking forward to the next chapter in our long and fruitful relationship.”  Indeed, Tony Bennett is the rare artist with a longer tenure at Columbia, and unlike Streisand, he took a sabbatical from the label’s ranks in the 1970s.

After the release of 2009′s Diana Krall-produced Love is the Answer, Streisand became the only artist ever to have No. 1 records in five consecutive decades in America. Her 2011 tribute to the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, What Matters Most, didn’t make a sixth decade at No. 1 (though she still has time!) but opened at a still-impressive No. 4 on the Billboard chart.  As her 31st album to make the Top 10, Streisand moved into third place in that overall category of achievement, passing The Beatles!  (Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones are still in the lead.)  And Streisand’s other chart stats are no less remarkable.  She’s in a three-way tie at sixth place for the most charting No. 1 singles by a female performer, and is second only to Reba McEntire for worldwide No. 1 albums with thirteen.

So how is Columbia celebrating Streisand’s near 50-year tenure?  A 12-DVD box set has been promised which, according to Billboard, will feature “unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life.  The DVD set will consist of never-before-seen footage directly from Barbra’s archives.”  Rest assured, The Second Disc will report on that exciting project once official details have arrived.  But in the meantime, what Barbra Streisand albums would you like to see reissue, and in what form?  Sound off below!  I’ll start the ball rolling with a suggestion of a mono/stereo edition of 1963’s The Barbra Streisand Album, the album which started it all for the girl from Brooklyn with the big voice.  I’ll add the original recording of “When the Sun Comes Out,” the B-side of its single “Happy Days Are Here Again,” as one possible bonus track!

Which Bette Midler album has Friday Music selected for reissue this April?  Hit the jump to find out!

1977’s 2-LP Live at Last was the first live album from The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, and her fourth album for Atlantic Records.  Friday Music has announced that this title, currently out-of-print, will return to CD on April 10.  Recorded in Ohio at The Cleveland Music Hall, Live at Last preserves all aspects of a Midler concert, from brassy vocals to bawdy routines and everything in between, including The Harlettes!

From her already-rich repertoire came such favorites as “Friends,” “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” but Midler also expressed her tender side via affecting songs like John Prine’s “Hello in There” and Tom Waits’ “Shiver Me Timbers.”  Even Neil Young’s “Birds” gets the Midler treatment on this typically eclectic album.  Live at Last dedicated much of one LP side to The Vicki Eydie Show, Midler’s lounge spoof, and there’s also The Story of Nanette, a lengthy segment incorporating Kurt Weill and Johnny Mercer as filtered through Miss M’s unique sensibilities.  Of course, no Midler concert to this very day is complete without a Sophie Tucker routine, and so “Soph” makes her obligatory appearance.  Two studio recordings filled out the original Live at Last LP: Ashford and Simpson’s “Bang, You’re Dead” and Midler’s own, irresistible “You’re Moving Out Today,” co-written with Carole Bayer Sager and Bruce Roberts.  (Sager recorded the song on her self-titled solo debut, and it actually topped the charts down under!)

Might there be more Midler on the way?    Friday Music has previously hinted that Songs from a New Depression, the 1976 studio album which preceded Live at Last, might be in the pipeline, as well; “Shiver Me Timbers” and “Mr. Rockefeller” both originated on that album.  In the meantime, Live at Last, a Top 50 charting album upon its release, arrives from Friday Music in a remastered edition on April 10.  It’s available for pre-order now from Amazon.

Written by Joe Marchese

February 24, 2012 at 13:09

24 Responses

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  1. Learned about the big Barbra Streisand news earlier this week and very pleased, especially with the forthcoming huge DVD set, which I imagine will be a combination of television appearances which haven’t been released before on video except for fan circulation (such as Burt Bacharach special performances) and possibly a never-telecast intended CBS TV special filmed in Las Vegas in 1969. Streisand began work on “Just For The Record” companion video to the wonderful audio box set in the late ’80s which was never released, and fans have circulated working copies of it with time codes for many years. This will probably now be finished and be supplemented with tons of other stuff nobody has ever seen or heard. I don’t advocate releasing the individual catalog CDs again, as some of them have been issued three times or more. Instead, a multi-disc CD (3-4) is rumored to be in the works which would collect the never-before-on-CD and out of print gems like “When The Sun Comes Out”/”Happy Days” single and “My Coloring Book”/”Lover Come Back To Me” second single. Keep following the Streisand news, Joe!

    Mark I.

    February 24, 2012 at 13:20

  2. More than anything I’d like to see the release of some of her non-LP singles such as “The Way We Were” (different vocal take, never on CD), the four sides of her first two singles (different recordings from their later album counterparts; “My Coloring Book” in particular is a drastically different arrangement), and the single versions of “Funny Girl” (cut from the Broadway show — not the song in the film).

    I think mono-stereo two-fers of her ’60s albums would be fantastic, with bonus tracks on each for non-LP singles.


    February 24, 2012 at 15:35

  3. Wonderful post Joe and my mouth is already watering at the Streisand treasures that await. Perhaps “Life Cycles of A Woman” will finally see the light of day.

    Can you clarify though if “Bang, You’re Dead” from Bette’s Live At Last is actually a studio recording? It seems it was recorded live as part of the opening “Oh My My/Monologue” medley? Do you mean this cut was actually re-recorded later in the studio and interpolated into the recording (not unusual for live recordings?)


    February 24, 2012 at 17:07

  4. I would love to see remastering on the older albums. Perhaps not her best but my very favorite is “Color Me Barbra” which has never been remastered since its initial release on CD back in 1987 or so, with a flimsy two page booklet.

    David B.

    February 24, 2012 at 19:35

    • COLOR ME BARBRA was definitely remastered along with many other CDs in the late ’90s.

      Mark I.

      February 27, 2012 at 12:27

  5. Nice to hear that Barbra will remain with Columbia, a label that apparently remains loyal to its senior roster of artists (Streisand, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis). I hope this will bring a complete remastering of Streisand’s catalog of albums on CD and this time including bonus tracks such as The Way We Were single mentioned in the previous post.


    February 24, 2012 at 20:13

    • Thanks Joe that’s why I Iove this site so much……sounds like they did, um.., a “bang” up job on it even cleverly overlaying audience reaction to Bette “geshreying” as she builds towards the end of the song!! The rhythms, instrumentations and ambience of the studio cut remarkably replicates the mood of the entire concert. I’m going to check the video of this performance to see if “Bang” was included in that. Fascinating…


      February 24, 2012 at 21:33

  6. Wonderful suggestions, everybody! And I couldn’t agree more – it’s wonderful that Columbia and Sony continue to embrace these artists and their rich catalogues. Keep ’em coming, friends!

    Joe Marchese

    February 24, 2012 at 20:35

  7. Columbia was vert smart to re-sign Barbra. Her vast catalogue is highly respected and loved. I wonder if there will be another box set? I think Just For the Record is one of the best examples of making a box set of out-takes and rare performances. She actually thought about what her fans would like to hear – and that box set came out over 20 years ago!


    February 25, 2012 at 00:34

  8. Would also love to have “B” sides of her singles, when those haven’t been released on an album. I’m thinking specifically of the first, up-tempo “Funny Girl” that was on the other side of her “People” single–or has that already been re-released?


    February 25, 2012 at 14:36

  9. Columbia has a Judy Garland catalog of sorts too. She did four sides – “Without a Memory,””Send My Baby Back to Me,” “Go Home Joe,” and “Heartbroken” on a single day, April 3, 1953 – for which the possibility of alternates and outtakes needs to be explored in the Sony vaults. These tracks have already been released, but they would make a splendid addition to her A Star is Born tracks, also first issued on Columbia. This is not exactly a Columbia catalog, but new items could definitely possibly turn up if Sony wanted to make the commitment and investment.

    Lawrence Schulman

    February 26, 2012 at 08:58

    • The four Columbia sides are completely second rate and would not enhance the music on the ASIB soundtrack in any way. They are of curiosity interest only, thank God she ended up on Capitol instead!


      February 26, 2012 at 11:43

      • Garland’s four Columbia are not her best recordings by any means, but that does not mean one can call them second rate.A minor Garland opus is still a Garland opus. Furthermore, “Heartbroken” was written by Fred Ebb and Phil Springer especially for the recording session. Yes, it is great Garland moved on to Capital, but these songs are part of her legacy, albeit a minor one. I find the idea of regrouping them, alternates, outtakes and all with her A Star Is Born recordings – and why not on an SACD – would be a great idea.

        Lawrence Schulman

        February 27, 2012 at 11:25

  10. I would REALLY like to see a deluxe edition of Barbra’s version of A STAR IS BORN on both DVD (blu-ray with the making-of companion “Barbra: With One More Look At You” by Kaleidescope films and perhaps the full song list that Barbra sang at Sun Devil Stadium (does that footage still exist) and a CD companion to ALSO celebrate. Of course, a nice HUGE cd box of her complete collection would be great (mini lp versions perhaps that replicate the albums). We do this stuff for the BEATLES all the time but somehow Babs gets skipped??? Just for the Record could be updated PAST 1988 *LOL…it’s a little past due. Anyway, thanks for taking the time and you are doing an INCREDIBLE job at getting views and responding so thanks again! I really appreciate it as a fan!

    Michael Gabauer

    February 26, 2012 at 13:08

    • Oh, I like these suggestions too! Great ideas Michael!


      February 28, 2012 at 14:29

  11. Streisand’s catalog has indeed been “remastered” but most of it just sounds lousy, and the packaging is that typical 1980s and early 1990s crappy Columbia CD trademark packaging. But how many would buy these albums again just for a remaster? I’m not sure I would, after buying them already on vinyl, cassette, and CD.

    And a quibble…the Bennett comparison is OK, but Johnny Mathis beats Streisand for total years with Columbia. He had a three or so year break when he went to Mercury, but he’s got the edge on Streisand.


    February 27, 2012 at 22:45

    • Always thrilled to have some love here for Mr. Mathis. Watch this space for more features on Johnny and his marvelous catalogue soon!

      Joe Marchese

      February 28, 2012 at 00:06

      • Cool. Overlooked is a masterful string of releases Mathis has created this last decade. His recordings (except, perhaps, for the Diane Warren album) have been every bit as strong as Tony Bennett’s.


        February 28, 2012 at 22:15

    • I don’t think Columbia ever completed the remastering of Barbra’s entire catalog on CD. For example, I never saw Emotion remastered. I would certainly purchase all my favorites again, especially if they included bonus tracks and if they were reissued in the mini LP packaging replicating the original album art, gate-fold covers and all!


      February 28, 2012 at 14:36

      • love that idea would buy in a second.

        derek preston

        March 9, 2012 at 04:39

  12. Barbra and Bette, can’t imagine life without them! I also would LOVE to get a remastered copy of Streisand’s “Emotion” as well the “Yentl” soundtrack. Not sure if it’s true, but I’d heard that Barbra also recorded a solo version of “Make No Mistake.” And I’m guessing a single edit of “Left In The Dark” plus the 12″ mix of the title track. Speaking of 12″ mixes, isn’t there a promo only version of “The Main Event/ Fight?” never put on CD?
    Regarding Bette’s “Live At Last,” I’d also read of an “extra verse” version of “You’re Moving Out Today” that only appeared on an Australian single. What a treasure for a future Divine boxed set, as well as other reedits like the promo single mixes of “Night And Day,” “Moonlight Dancing” and “Under The Boardwalk.” Bring it!!

    Charles Klaus

    August 28, 2013 at 23:52

  13. Isn’t Liza Minnelli great! Just saying.


    February 9, 2014 at 13:36

  14. Yes, Ben, Liza is great, too! Would love to see a career/ multi-label spanning box set on Ms. Minnelli as well. She’s had her material released on a number of different labels over the years, so it would be terrific to have all high points and unreleased gems in one spot.

    Charles Klaus

    February 9, 2014 at 15:38

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