Beautiful Girl: The Essential Barbara Cook On Disc

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09 Nov 2013

"It's Better With A Band"

I guess I'm ready to make a statement: "It's Better With A Band" is my single favorite Barbara Cook album. She and musical director Wally Harper really hit their collaborative stride in this 1981 live at Carnegie Hall collection of nothing less than thrilling arrangements that suit Cook to a T. I also think this album represents Cook's matriculation into the concert performer nonpareil that she is today. Here, her voice is just as glimmeringly gorgeous as ever, yet also fuller, darker, and more evocative of pathos and pain, but also humor and wisdom. Her medley of "Remember" and "Come In From The Rain" is heartbreaking, a musical realization of nostalgic yearning, and her "If Love Were All" rivals Judy Garland's in poignancy. I can't say enough about this album. Just listen to it.


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