This week, I am showcasing various records that I bought, took home, and discovered were different then what their covers had indicated. This unfortunately has happened more than I would care for since I started this blog. Sometimes, I end u with something better than what I expected. More often than not, it is the records I am most excited about that suffer this cruel fate. Sometime there are happy endings when I find the record I was originally looking for unfortunately, that has happened only once with a Martin Denny album.
So I bought this, the movie version of the Broadway musical, The Pajama Game, for a dollar. I got it because it is a pretty decent musical, I like John Raitt as well as Doris Day, and most importantly I wanted to write about Eddie Foy Jr, the son of Eddie Foy Sr, the turn of the 20th century vaudevillian. I would probably have written about how the son played his father in James Cagney biopic of George Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy. I am not sure what I would have posted as I already put my favorite song “Hernando’s Hideaway” by Carol Haney on an earlier Broadway post.
What I received is this, the second disc of a double record from Side by Side by Stephen Sondheim, recorded by the original London Cast. It was a revue style musical based on the work of the composer, which debuted in London’s West End in 1976. I am not sure when this came out but I guess close to its West End run which was over 800 shows. The production moved to Broadway the following year where it ran over 300 performances.
I must say, I was impressed by the fact they put Side 3 and 4 on on disc rather than putting 1 and 4 or 2 and 3. This is one of my pet peeves. The disc I got has songs from Anyone Can Whistle, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Do I Hear a Waltz?, West Side Story, The Mad Show, Gypsy, Follies, and Company. I believe that makes up most of Act II.
So despite liking Sondheim, I was not real excited to listen to the record. But after putting it on, I liked a lot of the songs. Some I knew. Some I knew of. Others were new. But again, I warmed up to getting this record rather than the Pajama Game. What sealed the deal for me was “I’m Still Here” from Follies, the story of old Broadway actors and actresses from the early days of musical theater who reunite years later. The song in particular is song by one of the old actresses who is going over the peaks and valleys of her career. I fell in love with this immediately as it is one of those “I’ve taken all life has thrown at me and survived” type songs. I also found it quite interesting that Sondheim wrote this during out of town tryouts when another song was not working. Upon looking for a video to post, it is apparent that this is a favorite of older actresses as I had many to choose from. Well, Ann Miller is as good as anybody.
So it was not what I wanted but still a good album and again “I’m Still Here” is one of those songs you feel richer for knowing. I will say this switch is quite satisfactory.