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Dinah Shore, Songs of James Taylor Feature on Upcoming Masterworks Broadway Reissues

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After a brief sabbatical, Masterworks Broadway has taken another dive into its vaults, with its first round of disc-on-demand/digital reissues since February.  The label was hardly idle, however, delivering releases from Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett, and Liza Minnelli as deluxe CDs in the ensuing months, and preparing the new Broadway Cast Recording of Evita.  This summer, however, Masterworks will turn its attention to two classic recordings from the 1950s and one with a more contemporary bent, from 1978.  All three releases will be available from and, with one title coming in each month of July, August and September to keep the summer blues at bay!

1978’s Working was conceived by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked) as a revue-like celebration of the American Everyman, and Schwartz called upon a diverse team of composers and lyricists to bring a diverse array of real-life characters to life.  Though Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon declined to participate, James Taylor signed up, as did Micki Grant, Craig Carnelia, Susan Birkenhead and Mary Rodgers.  Schwartz himself contributed four songs.   Working only ran for a total of 24 performances on Broadway, but it racked up six Tony Award nominations (including for actors Rex Everhart and Steven Boockvor), and continues to be revised and revived today largely on the strength of its exceptional score.  That score is being reissued by Masterworks Broadway on July 10 when the original Columbia Records cast recording returns to print as a digital download or CD-R.  Unlike many of the other titles reissued in this program by Masterworks, Working has already been on a physical, pressed CD, thanks to a 2001 reissue from producer Bruce Kimmel on the now-defunct Fynsworth Alley label.  That expanded edition is long out-of-print, however, making the return of Working a most welcome one.  For more on this one-of-a-kind musical, check out our special Reissue Theory column dedicated to the musical!

Hit the jump to meet Mrs. Sally Adams, and sing The Desert Song!

Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam (1950) reunited the beloved composer with one of the biggest stars in the Broadway firmament, the legendary Ethel Merman, four years after their triumph with Annie Get Your Gun.  Merman starred as the “hostess with the mostess,” Mrs. Sally Adams, appointed as the ambassador to the fictional country of Lichtenburg.  (The character was based on Perle Mesta, the Washington hostess-turned-U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.)   Berlin supplied a delectable array of classics, including “Something to Dance About,” “It’s a Lovely Day Today,” “They Like Ike,” and the showstopping duet “You’re Just in Love” for Merman and Russell Nype as Kenneth, her lovestruck attaché.    When RCA Victor put money into the show, the cast album rights naturally went to the label.  Unfortunately for RCA, Merman was under contract to Decca, the label that had recorded Annie Get Your Gun.  The end result of the contract calamity was not one, but two Call Me Madam recordings.  Merman recorded an album opposite crooner Dick Haymes, while the rest of the Broadway Cast recreated their roles opposite Dinah Shore, stepping in for The Merm.  The Shore version hit No. 6 on the Billboard album chart, but fell off the radar in subsequent years.  While Merman’s Decca album has been a staple on CD, the RCA version with Shore has never been released in authorized form until now.  It’s set to return from Masterworks Broadway on August 14.

Finally, September will bring the reissue of the 1959 RCA Victor “Living Stereo” Studio Cast Recording of Sigmund Romberg’s 1926 operetta, The Desert Song.  With lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel, The Desert Song has proved a mainstay of the genre over the years, with Broadway revivals in 1946 and 1973, and a New York City Opera production in 1987.  The RCA Victor cast features Giorgio Tozzi, the Metropolitan Opera bass who dubbed Rossano Brazzi in the 1958 South Pacific film, as well as Kathy Barr and Broadway’s Li’l Abner, Peter Palmer.   Lehman Engel wrote all-new arrangements and served as musical director for the recording. Engel had previously conducted a 1952 studio cast recording of The Desert Song for Goddard Lieberson at Columbia; that (sadly unavailable) version starred Nelson Eddy and Doretta Morrow.  The September 11 release marks the first appearance of the 1959 Desert Song in the CD/digital era.

Pre-order links aren’t yet available for these titles, but watch this space!

Original Broadway Cast Recording, Working (Columbia JS-35411, 1978 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2012)

  1. All The Live Long Day
  2. Lovin’ Al
  3. The Mason
  4. Neat to Be a Newsboy
  5. Nobody Tells Me How
  6. Un Mejor Dia Vendra
  7. Just a Housewife
  8. Millwork
  9. If I Could’ve Been
  10. Joe
  11. It’s an Art
  12. Brother Trucker
  13. Fathers and Sons
  14. Cleanin’ Women
  15. Something to Point To

Original Broadway Cast Recording featuring Dinah Shore, Call Me Madam (RCA Victor LOC-1000, 1950 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2012)

  1. Overture
  2. Mrs. Sally Adams
  3. Hostess with the Mostess on the Ball
  4. Washington Square Dance
  5. Welcome to Lichtenburg
  6. Can You Use Any Money Today?
  7. Marrying for Love
  8. The Ocarina
  9. It’s a Lovely Day Today
  10. The Best Thing for You
  11. Something to Dance About
  12. Once Upon a Time Today
  13. They Like Ike
  14. You’re Just in Love

Studio Cast Recording, The Desert Song (RCA Victor LSO-1000, 1959 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2012)

  1. Prelude and Opening Chorus
  2. The Riff Song
  3. O!  Pretty Maid of France
  4. Why Did We Marry Soldiers?
  5. French Military Marching Song
  6. Romance
  7. Then You Will Know
  8. I Want a Kiss
  9. The Desert Song
  10. Finale – Act I
  11. Opening Chorus – Act II (My Little Castagnette)
  12. Eastern and Western Love
  13. The Sabre Song
  14. Finale – Act II

Written by Joe Marchese

June 22, 2012 at 10:05

One Response

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  1. I’m looking forward to the “Call Me Madam” album. I’m an aspiring pianist and I love playing Irving Berlin’s songs. I think I now have all the commercially available “Annie Get Your Gun” albums in my collection.

    David Stead

    August 15, 2012 at 07:29

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