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2:00 AM Paradise Café (Remastered)

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Album Review

In the liner notes to 2:00 AM Paradise Café, Barry Manilow confessed that the record's concept came to him in a dream and that it's the album for which he'd most like to be remembered. That's some top-shelf comment about an album that seems like a pretty calculated move toward long-term success as a vocal talent, like Mel Tormé or Sarah Vaughan, both of whom duet with him on 2:00 AM. That said, the album does lay down a dusty, late-night groove. Vocally, Manilow is able to sell the concept that this is all taking place in the wee hours inside a half-empty basement cabaret. The shuffling percussion of Shelly Manne is spot on, as are the cool tones of baritone sax man Gerry Mulligan — you can just picture the blinking neon from the hotel across the street reflecting in the gold of his horn. Mundell Lowe's electric guitar adds a burst of attitude to the otherwise straightforward "Big City Blues," and Manilow and Bill Mays' piano playing is solid throughout. There's a bit of a problem though, since most every arrangement sounds essentially the same. After about half the record, it begins to seem like it's all happening in slow motion, or at least someone's just going through them. It's refreshing to hear stripped-down arrangements and Manilow experimenting a bit with his delivery to suggest he's singing after the streets have rolled up. All of this means that, while 2:00 AM Paradise Café is as pleasant as a nightcap, it's not the fine wine Manilow's dreams told him it would be.

Customer Reviews


I'm primarily into European Metal (Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Pyramaze, etc), however, I listen to many different genres, as long as there is a great deal of melody. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. The title track and When October Goes are among some of the best songs I have ever heard in my entire life. My friends used to give me flak for being a metalhead and listening to Barry, but when I played this album for them, I ended up getting them into Barry, as well. He has always been one of those performers that is timeless, and will never fade away. A brilliant song-writer, pianist, and vocalist, Barry Manilow is one of the most talented musicians of our time, and this, in my opinion, is his greatest masterpiece.

The high point

The absolute high point of Manilow's stellar career, and not one to be missed. If you think you know Manilow, check out these tracks. You will NOT be disappointed!

Paradise Indeed

I've always been a big fan of Barry's, and when "Paradise Cafe" was released, it changed everything. I am only sorry that more people didn't hear this wonderful music, and understand who he truly is: an artist, not just the man in the puffy shirt singing "Copacabana."


Born: June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; instead, Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that defined his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements...
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