Streisand's Unreleased “Back to Broadway” Recording Sessions
Unreleased Album Sessions
Recorded April 14, 15, 21, 1988
MGM-Lorimar Recording Studios
Culver City, California
On Barbra Streisand’s 1991 album, Just for the Record, she tantalized fans in her album notes by writing: “My future recording plans include a trip Back to Broadway, and this lovely ballad [“Warm All Over”] will be part of that collection.”
Back to Broadway, however, was not released until 1993. “Warm All Over” was not included on it, either.
“We attempted to do it [a Broadway Album sequel] years ago,” Marty Erlichman (Barbra's manager) told Billboard Magazine, “but what we did didn't have the excitement of the first album.”
The Broadway Album was hugely successful. Released in November 1985, the album won Barbra a Grammy Award. A year later, while working on her film, Nuts, Streisand performed the One Voice concert and subsequently released a live album of the event.
In April 1988 Barbra began working on Back to Broadway. She reunited with Rupert Holmes. Holmes and Streisand created 1975's Lazy Afternoon album together. Holmes also wrote songs for A Star is Born.
Streisand and Holmes recorded eight new Broadway tunes with a 60-piece orchestra at the MGM/Lorimar studios in Culver City. Barbra described it as “a cavernous soundstage at the old MGM Studios.”
Only three have been released: “Warm All Over” and “You’ll Never Know” — both on 1991’s Just for the Record. And "How Are Things in Gloca Mora/Heather on the Hill"appeared on Release Me (2012).
Some believe the vocals and song selections from this 1988 session are superior to what ended up on Streisand’s 1993 Back to Broadway album. Rupert Holmes, in his 2003 interview with Barbra Archives, offered his ideas as to why Barbra abandoned the songs.
The sessions with Holmes were videotaped because of the enormous size of the MGM studio—Holmes needed to see Streisand, in the recording booth across the stage, while he conducted the orchestra. Rupert Holmes told Barbra Archives:
She was so far away from me, the remedy I came up with was to have a TV camera in the vocal booth ... I had a huge monitor by me so it was better than having her stand right next to me. I could see her face so closely so we were able to cut off [the orchestra] correctly.
Barbra released Till I Loved You instead of Back to Broadway in 1988. The Broadway Album sequel arrived five years later.
Below are the songs she recorded in April 1988 at MGM.
- How Are Things in Glocca Mora? (B. Lane, E.Y. Harburg) / Heather on the Hill (A. Lerner, F. Lowe) [from Finian's Rainbow / Brigadoon] *
- On My Own (C. Schonberg, A. Boublil) [from Les Miserables]
- A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Love (H. Rome) [from I Can Get It For You Wholesale]
- Note: Marilyn Cooper sang “A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Love” in the original cast of Wholesale while Barbra appeared as Miss Marmelstein. Barbra and Rupert Holmes recorded two versions of “Funny Thing” in the Back to Broadway sessions: one is a shorter version; the second has a modulation and more lyrics.
- Moonfall (R. Holmes) (from The Mystery of Edwin Drood
- Note: Barbra only does two takes of “Moonfall” ... but her vocal is sublime and you can hear the orchestra applaud at the end of take two.
- Make Our Garden Grow (L. Bernstein) (from Candide)
- Barbra turns in a stellar vocal on “Make Our Garden Grow”, holding the last note for almost 20 seconds, á la “A Piece of Sky” ... amazing!
- You’ll Never Know (H. Warren, M. Gordon) (duet with 1955 Barbra) **
- Warm All Over (F. Loesser) (from The Most Happy Fella) **
- All I Ask of You (A. Lloyd Webber, C. Hart) (from Phantom of the Opera)
- Note: It is fascinating to listen to the many takes of “All I Ask of You.” Rupert Holmes' arrangement is totally different from the pop arrangement of the song as it appeared on Till I Loved You. Streisand and Holmes tried to make sense of the tempo, orchestration, and lyrics. Something didn't quite click with this song. Streisand and Phil Ramone worked on the song for Till I Loved You and the result is wonderful. It just goes to show that although some of Streisand's songs sound effortless, it is actually the result of her determined, hard work to get them sounding right.
* Released officially on Streisand's 2012 album, Release Me.
** Released officially on Streisand's 1991 retrospective, Just For the Record.
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