Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When I Think Of Home (Music Review: Barbra Streisand, Back To Brooklyn)

A new Barbra Streisand record is always a cause for celebration. Every time a record of hers drops, I have always been there, always first in line to get it. So again with glee I welcome her new disc, "Back To Brooklyn," a live album from her last "comeback" concert, her reunion with Brooklyn, where she grew up. But let's get the worst thing out : her voice isn't what it used to be (and I always say, but whose is?) but I think she is more comfortable with this voice now, and is more at peace with it. At 70, its still a strong instrument, though slightly muddled. My best description of it: it is like listening to her old records in a bad radio signal. But yes, it is still "like buttah." There's still an intimacy in it that feels like she is singing just to you. I think that's what makes even her biggest stadium dates sound just as personal. Die hard fans will froth at this album. It has all her greatest hits: People, The Way We Were, Evergreen. I don't know why, but there's always something new that I hear even if I have heard these songs from her millions of times. She always makes it sound like it's a different scene you are listening to, a different character essaying the song. I love that she draws from the songbooks also, from old standards like "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" (in the same arrangement from her early album) and "What'll I Do/My Funny Valentine" She also sings modern standards like the Bergman medley and a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. There are a lo tof new here: she sings "Lost Inside Of You," a lesser known gem from her discography, "Didn't We," and a sublime "Make Our Garden Grow."  And in my mind I always imagined and hoped that one day she would sing "How Deep Is The Ocean," (My favorite song of all time) and she does that here in a duet with her son, Jason Gould. I could go on and on gushing, and this will sound like a love letter from a fan, but I cannot lie. Yes, I am a fan, and will always be. I will not try to convince anyone to love her. At this point, either you are or you're not. But I will join in always celebrating her. She has given me so much musical joy in my lifetime that it's the lest I could do to give back to her.

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