By Steven Suskin
03 Feb 2013
Rebecca Luker: I Got Love [PS Classics]
When last we spoke — in our last On the Record column, that is — I cited the 1959 Rodgers & Hart album "Barbara Cook Sings from the Heart" as one of those CDs you can listen to over and over again. And here, suddenly, comes another. "I Got Love," Rebecca Luker's new Jerome Kern album, demonstrates the perfect combination of composer and singer.
Take an early two-song track, combining the pre-Show Boat, pre-Hammerstein version of "Bill" with Show Boat's "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." How is it possible that someone in our modern-day midst can sing these early 20th-century songs so well? So clear, so true, so Kern? "I'm Old Fashioned," "Why Was I Born?": Luker sings these pure and pristine.
The only less than enthusiastic thing we can say is that Ms. Luker — who sings like a dream — has seen fit to include a few comedy numbers (namely "Saturday Night," "My Husband's First Wife" and "I'll Be Hard to Handle"). She does these expertly, yes; but these are the functional Kern rather than the inspired Kern. After my first five hearings of the CD — yes, you'll want to listen to it repeatedly, immediately — I find myself skipping through these three. But the treasures — which is to say, just about all of the rest — are truly golden.
Visit PlaybillStore.com to view theatre-related recordings for sale.Continued...