Oklahoma! (Studio Cast Recording (1964))
Studio Cast of Oklahoma! (1964)
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For the curious only
Goddard Leiberson is a legend among musical theater fans; it was he, after all, who herded the brains behind Oklahoma! into the studios, thus originating the Broadway cast album. But when he decided in the sixties to make studio-only recordings in modern sound, the results lacked some of the vigor of his other productions. Nowhere is this more evident than in this rethinking of the show that started it all. The new orchestrations are really grating, saccharine in their sweetness and in no way equal to the originals, and the cast just isn’t impressive. John Raitt is a big name, and before he played Billy Bigelow in Carousel he actually made his debut as Curly, but I want a rounder voice in this role, not to mention less corny acting. Florence Henderson sounds too mature for Laurie (despite the fact that she was eighteen at the time), especially considering how youthful the Aunt Eller is. The other men don’t have particularly attractive voices either. In fact, the only memorable performance is given by Phyllis Newman. She is the only Ado Annie I know of that sings everything on-key and still manages to sound pert and spunky. Had she got to know the role better onstage and recorded it under more ideal conditions, she might have been matchless, but as it is, she is merely a curiosity.
for Nathan Graham
apparently you enjoy reading your thoughts . . . . . . nobody cares . . . . .
John Raitt sings
John Raitt had the clearest, most expressive, most tone-accurate and most pleasing voice of any male singer. He'd sound great in pop stuff or opera. His personality came through each song and he'd make you love the song. I had the incredibly good fortune of seeing him in person at Exit In in Nashville which is a venue for pop music. No one in Nashville seemed to know about John Raitt and only a dozen people showed up. He gave them an inspired and a full performance and then sat down with us and chatted. I'd seen him thirty years before in the St. Louis Muny Opera and could hardly believe my good luck in being able to meet the guy. Listen to him sing. He defines the male voice.