The Kismet Albums

Kismet album spines

A series of bootleg Barbra Streisand albums were released in 1984 and 1985 called “The Kismet Albums.”

Slickly packaged and mass-produced, the sound quality on these albums tended to be poor as many of the master recordings were from television sources or severely duped studio tapes. There were 12 albums in total (which sold for around $20 each), all containing rare and unreleased Streisand songs, recording sessions, interviews, live appearances, TV shows, and more. They were produced by Karma Productions in Denver, Colorado. (Karma also published Barbra Now & Then magazine.)

Below: A list of the Kismet albums with descriptions, marked by a Streisand fan.

bootleg list of Kismet albums

In the mid-1980’s, before the advent of compact discs and VCRs, most Streisand fans did not have the ability to rent or trade video tapes of the rare television appearances — and YouTube was still 25 years away! The Kismet records were probably the first time most Streisand fans could hear some of the shows that Barbra had appeared on early in her career (like Judy Garland and Ed Sullivan).

The first four album covers featured gorgeous full-color Streisand pictures. All the albums were stamped in gold: “For promotional use only. Not for sale.” This didn’t stop Columbia Records, of course, from pursuing legal action against Karma Productions.

In a backwards way the Kismet albums were a template for Columbia’s official release, Just For the Record (JFTR) in 1991. Many of the tracks that appeared as bootlegs on the Kismet albums ended up on Columbia’s official release. Without the Kismet records, Columbia would have never guessed there would be such a market for Streisand’s unreleased material.

You can find some of the Kismet albums on ebay today.

List of Kismet Albums

Memories Are Made of This — Kismet 1001

Kismet cover 1001

Side 1

The Burt Bacharach Special:

Side 2

Notes:

* included on JFTR.

Side 2 featured a recording session of Marvin Hamlisch & Barbra singing the two versions of "The Way We Were". Their kibitzing and different takes were included.

Kismet label 1001

Lookin' Back — Kismet 1002

Kismet 1002 cover

Side 1

Ed Sullivan, Dec. 6, 1962:

Ed Sullivan, Sep. 28, 1969:

Ed Sullivan, Apr. 4, 1970:

Side 2

Judy Garland Show: *

For Pete's Sake (Don't Let Him Down)

Notes:

* included on JFTR; also available in full on DVD.

The 1969 & 1970 Ed Sullivan songs are from the International Hotel footage that Barbra filmed for a possible television special. “For Pete’s Sake” has never been officially released, although the song can be heard on the Columbia Pictures DVD.

Moments to Remember — Kismet 1003

Kismet 1003 cover

Side 1

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever:

The Best Thing You've Ever Done (recording session)

Funny Lady:

Butterfly Rehearsals:

Kismet 1003 label

Side 2

Dinah Shore Show (1963):

AFI Salute to William Wyler (1976)

Funny Girl 1968 L.A. Movie Premiere

Notes:

* was officially released as a 45-rpm single. Appeared, too, on JFTR.

The “Best Thing” session included Barbra’s blow up in the recording booth when the sound on her earphones goes out (“Christ! These fucking phones! They’re off! Dead!”).

The longer intro from Funny Lady is also referred to as “All My Life on the Stage” and was actually filmed. Only the first verse (“Well, I’ll be damned…”) made it into the final movie. The Kismet folks reused this track on future albums (see below) as well.

On Side 2, Mayor Lindsay interviewed Barbra at the New York Funny Girl film premiere. Barbra’s short speech for the AFI Salute to Funny Girl director William Wyler.

Flashback — Kismet 1004

Kismet 1004 cover

Side 1

PM East (1962):

Gary Moore (1962):

Side 2

Belle of 14th Street:

Notes:

* included on JFTR.

“The Promise” was written by Carole King.

The Chemstrand Commercial was a filmed commercial for “My Name Is Barbra”.

The Belle of 14th Street was finally released on DVD in 2005. Columbia prepared a soundtrack album in 1967, which remains unreleased to date.

S-R-O — Kismet 1005

Kismet 1005

Side 1

Side 2

Notes:

This album contained the bootleg version of the 1966 Philadelphia JFK Stadium concert. Columbia Records recorded the concert, but it was unreleased ... until Kismet. The entire concert was not on this album. Three more tracks appeared on Kismet’s “Memory Lane” album.

This was the first Kismet album with a black-and-white cover.

Memory Lane — Kismet 1007

Kismet 1007 cover

Side 1

Funny Lady Recording Sessions:

Funny Girl Film Alternates:

Side 2

Funny Girl Alternates:

Live, Pennsylvania 1966; JFK Stadium:

Notes:

For some reason there is no Kismet 1006. The numbering skips from 1005 to 1007.

Magic Moments — Kismet 1008

Kismet 1008 cover

Hungry i 1963:

Lost In Time — Kismet 1009

Kismet 1009

The Bob Hope Show, 1963:

Yentl piano demos:

 

Beginnings — Kismet 1010

Kismet 1010 cover

The Tonight Show 2/1/63:

The Tonight Show 10/4/62:

The Tonight Show 11/2/62:

These are rare recordings, since Johnny Carson’s archival tapes of these shows were destroyed.

After Hours — Kismet 1012

Kismet 1012 cover

This album had two sides of outtakes (a cappella versions; demos; etc.) from “The Main Event” and “Enough is Enough” recording sessions.

Again, the numbering system inexplicably skips from 1010 to 1012.

Good Times — Kismet 1013

Kismet 1013 cover

Christmas Seals radio show 1964 (Barbra speaks between songs):

** The Today Show 4/4/1962:

** Thanks to Ricky Coombs & his expert sleuthing, we believe the interviewer/host in this audio file to be Frank Blair (not John Chancellor, as some fans have thought).from The Today Show, 1962.

Hungry i 1963:

Hollywood Bowl 1967:

On Broadway — Kismet 1016

Kismet 1016

Butterfly rehearsals [multiple takes]:

 

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