Help me decide which Follies Recording to buy!!!!!!

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MTVMANN
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Okay, I don't have a recording of Follies and I want one:) I have a huge collection, but this is missing and I think I need it :)
So which recording should I get? I haven't heard any. However, I do own the Follies in Concert DVD, and I have watched it before......last night even to refresh myself(Love the documentary feel).
So which recording should I get? I know that the concert has a lot of Stars in it, but if it's not the best, then I may not want it.
Gothampc
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This post sort of has a deja vu feeling to it.
Follies Recording
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Thank you :)
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zelda
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get the papermill version. it is remarkable and ann miller sings the hell out of i'm still here.
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^^ What Zelda said.
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Of course, you could be like me and get them all. It is hard because the OCR is so incomplete, but what it does have is great. It's great to hear Alexis Smith, Dorothy Collins, Ethel Shutta and Yvonne DeCarlo. The concert recording is not my favorite but it has Barbara Cook--unfortunately they let Mandy Patinkin do all the voices in Buddy's Blues. The British recording has some different songs and, of course, it has David Kernan and the wonderful Diana Rigg. But for completeness the Papermill has everything and the performances are all good.
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philcrosby
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You must buy two:

The original cast recording because the performances are unmatched in almost every case.

The PaperMill recording because it is sonically perfect and virtually note complete.

However the best recording of "I'm Still Here" (IMHO) is Nancy Walker's on the Sondheim Tribute (scrabble cover) CD.
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I agree w/ PhilCrosby...OBC is the best, but Papermill has everything and the performances are all good. I do suggest getting the "One More Kiss" cut from the concert, tho...Erie Mills will make you slap your momma!
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Yeah, get the Papermill and the OBC. Nothing beats the performances on the OBC but it's so incomplete.
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they all have their virtues, but to have just one i would say obc. but who can stop at just one?
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I'd also say get the OBCR and the Papermill. It's Hal Prince's fault that Follies didn't get a decent cast recording with the original cast, such a pity.
For the best recording of the song "I'm Still Here" get the Elaine Stritch: At Liberty" album, I believe no one sings this song like she does.
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Elaine Stritch has the ability to sing a lot of songs like no one else.
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Yeah, I was thinking I would get the OBC and the PaperMill Version, because I want the entire score and I'm big into Musical Theatre History, so both will be great for that.

Is the concert version on itunes? If so I would like to purchase a couple of songs. Maybe some of the Barbara Cook songs and "One More Kiss". And I must agree that Erie Mills has an AMAZING voice. That last note in the song......OMG!
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Actually, not to open THIS debate, but I think Nancy Walker's "I'm Still Here" is the one to beat.
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To assemble a Best of FOLLIES proper I suggest the following for debate:

1. PROLOGUE/OVERTURE - PMP is most complete; Concert cast is best recorded.

2. BEAUTIFUL GIRLS - Concert cast captures what it was like in the theatre with the audience applauding the ladies as they make their entrances. Very exciting.

3. DON'T LOOK AT ME - OBC with Dorothy Collins and John McMartin is best.

4. THE GIRLS UPSTAIRS - The OBC is probably best performance but the record producer should have identified clearly when the ghosts come in. I prefer the concert cast here to PMP as a second choice.

5. RAIN ON THE ROOF/AH PARIS/BRADWAY BABY - The OBC drops the fist number and the first half of the 2nd, so itís useless. It also changes the ending dropping the montage. This last change is also used for the concert, but Elaine Stritch is having so much fun it doesn't matter. Still this leaves ONLY the PMP recording catching the number as it is performed on stage. The best take of "Broadway baby" is Ethel Shutta re-creating it for the 1973 Sondheim tribute.

6. ROAD YOU DIDN'T TAKE - John McMartin hands down on this one on the OBC.

7. BOLERO D'AMOUR - Only recording is on the PMP set.

8. IN BUDDY'S EYES - Both Dorothy Collins and Barbara Cook are sensational with this but if pushed I would opt for Collins on the OBC.

9. WHO'S THAT WOMAN - OBC is truncated losing the dance music (so you never know when the ghost dancers come in.) The concert cast has the best performance and most excitement, but PMP set is the most complete.

10. I'M STILL HERE - Yvonne DeCarlo's take (despite losing a verse and a half) is definitive. Nancy Walker on the Sondheim Tribute is more complete (but the live recording does not have the best sound; Carol Burnett starts introspective and builds it to a grad finale but seems to be straining her voice in doing so on the Concert recording. Ann Miller on the PMP disc KNOWS what the song is about and even though her voice is not in the best shape, it is quite possibly her finest recorded performance. (Am I alone in thinking Ethel Merman should have picked this up and used it to close her concerts in the 70s/80s?)

11. TOO MANY MORNINGS - Best recording is John McMartin and Dorothy Collins on the OBC. (On the Sondheim tribute they also restore the cut "Pleasant Little Kingdom" in its best-recorded performance.)

12. THE RIGHT GIRL - Gene Nelson on the OBC is best. It also includes a final verse either cut from the show or created by Sondheim for the recording. Listen to the anguish in Nelson's voice at the end as he trails off and says "ahh Shit!"

13. ONE MORE KISS - None of the recordings of this is completely satisfactory. The OBC was left ff the first LP release and has been restored for the CD. They should have left it off it is not well done at all. The same performers re-created it for the Sondheim Tribute and that is better. The best of the available is the Concert recording with Lucia Albanese's voice in ruins (she was in her 80s then) wrapped up with Erie Mill's glorious soprano.

14. COULD I LEAVE YOU - Hands down it belongs to Alexis Smith. Listen to her mounting anger, and unlike everyone else she doesn't pause after "Wait a goddamn minute!" - she just hurtles forward into the last part of the number.

15. LOVELAND - Only RCA's concert recording includes the dialogue lead-in even though it does slightly re-routine the middle section.

16. YOU'RE GONNA LOVE TOMORROW/LOVE WILL SEE US THROUGH - Again go with Victor's concert cast. Complete and well sung. OBC is abridged and the PMP is not as well performed.

17. BUDDY'S BLUES - OBC with Gene Nelson is best-recorded performance even if it does change the order of the verses. Mandy is too over-the top and Tony Roberts is too underpowered.

18. LOSING MY MIND - Still belongs to Dorothy Collins (OBC) though Barbara Cook's recording is wonderful as well.

19. STORY OF LUCY AND JESSIE - Alexis Smith's OBC recording is marred by being abridged of all its dance music. Lee Remick is great on the concert cast but the number has been re-routined to eliminate the dance section. Best-recorded version is Dee Hoty on the PMP set, where it is relegated to "bonus track" status.

20. LIVE LAUGH LOVE - George Hearn on the concert cast is the concert recording is the ONLY one to include Ben's spoken lines as he suffers the breakdown. This also leads into a (fabricated for the concert) finale with a reprise of BEAUTUIFUL GIRLS that does put a nice final button on the recording. THE OBC is horribly rushed and truncated and the PMP recording lacks the drams...if you didn't know what was going on you would be lost.

I have avoided mentioning the 1987 London cast because it makes too many changes and none of the performances are spectacular. Cle Laine does the best version of "Ahh But Underneath on her Sondheim recital. "Make the Most of Your Music" is a great song but really has nothing to do with the character of Ben, nor FOLLIES.

I am surprised so many people dislike RCA's FOLLIES In Concert.

Of course I came to it after 14 years of having ONLY the truncated EMI cast album, so the concert allowed a chance to hear virtually the whole score. Yes, Mandy does go way over the top with "Buddy' Blues" but that's what he does best! And the concert generated a level of excitement that comes through beautifully on the recording. I like it a lot and find no one horribly miscast. Minor trims and changes to the text don't really affect the recording at all. But it is live and there is a lot of enthusiastic audience response throughout. Still, I find this the most satisfying listening experience as far as FOLLIES recordings.

The OBC was always a disappointment and the CD release magnifies technical problems with buzzing mics and such that occurred during the rushed recording session. But you find a more irreplaceable cast - even allowing for those who don't sing well and the many irritating cuts in the score plus the missing songs.

I have a few minor complaints about the Paper mill Playhouse set. I find the tempos too precise and lacking the excitement that Paul Gemignani brought to the concert recording, and I don't think any of the leads are as perfectly matched to the roles as either the original cast or concert cast. Oh they are all fine but none of them are truly outstanding. Both Phyllis Newman and Lilliane Montevecchi have lost vocal power since recording these roles for the concert, 14 years earlier. More troublesome is that the orchestra is recorded very dry and the singers seem to have a lot of reverb added, as is the trend now. I prefer the open sound of Capitol's cast album and RCA' concert recording where everyone is in the same space. From having read many posts from the younger members it seems they DON'T like that open sound and prefer the more intimate mic sound of the modern discs. This of course is just a matter of personal preference.

As others have pointed out with the full score plus the appendix of cut songs this is a very valuable document of the complete FOLLIES score but I must admit I listen to the appendix material more than the show recording.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

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Once again I find your analysis impeccable.
It seems I must now travel directly to the store and purchase the FOLLIES in Concert recording.
I bought the Papermill Cast for its "completeness" and it was the only one I had for a long time, but I hardly ever listened to it. It has very little of the "emotion" of the show. I bought the OBC earlier this week and have been listening to it twice a day ever since, but the cuts are terrible.
I may cut together a "Frontrowcenter" version, for listening.
I stand corrected, you are as vapid as they say.
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Oh. *cringes* I'm really not fond of the Paper Mill recording. It just does nothing for me. The completeness is nice, I guess, but the price paid in performance is just too great for me. It's a tough choice between the OBC and the concert recording, so here's my (probably irrelevant at this point) opinion:

The original, while snipped within an inch of its life, has the most consistently excellent performances. And it's the original, which always has value. I love Elaine Stritch, but Ethel Shutta does the best "Broadway Baby." Terrifyingly, I have 7 recordings of that song, so I feel pretty qualified to say that. :)

The concert- well, it messes with keys, it's cut here and there, and the tempos sometimes goreallyfast, but for all that it has amazing life to it. It pops, and maybe that's partly due to the the applause, but while I got the OBC first, this is the recording that really grabbed me and got me to love this score. And even though I'm pretty sure her songs are transposed higher, Barbara Cook is absolutely divine in this recording. Perfect in every way. And her "Too Many Mornings" with George Hearn is simply spectacular.
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I may have seven "Broadway Baby" recordings, and I don't even have the concert.
Ethel Shutta makes the song, her version is definitive, although I always love some Stritch.

I still have to have the "completeness" but I agree, the Paper Mill is hardly FOLLIES at all.
I stand corrected, you are as vapid as they say.
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I think the London recording also uses the real Montage counterpoint ending, but it's been a long time since I've listened to it.

I find the concert version unbearable, for all of the reasons Plum mentioned. The changed keys, the "where's the fire?" tempos, the several overbearing performances, and since the thing was a concert, why NOT include the entire Prologue, dance music for "Who's That Woman?" "Lucy and Jessie" dance music, etc. And after one time listening to Stritch, the joke of her dry, slow, deadpan "Broadway Baby" wears thin.
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OBC, no question. In spite on many cuts, the performances are still difinative (and who would not want the chance to hear Collins' superb Sally-one of the GREAT Broadway performances).

Just my opinion, I may be wrong.
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While no audio recording is going to match seeing it in a theater, when listening at home I prefer the comic deliveries of Elaine Stritch and Carol Burnett in their 'Follies: In Concert' versions of 'Broadway Baby' and 'I'm Still Here.' Given the lyrics, I think both songs lend themselves more to comedy than to tragedy. In fact, as Plum and Smartpenguin78 are no doubt aware, at least three other live recordings of 'Broadway Baby' manage to get some laughs: Michael Ball's, Bernadette Peters', and the Hey Mr. Producer version. But if you're more in the mood for tragedy, take a listen to Tim Curry's devastating live version of 'Losing My Mind.'

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I'd get 2, actually.

The OBC for the cast and the Papermill recording for completeness.
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frontrowcentre said:

"From having read many posts from the younger members it seems they DON'T like that open sound and prefer the more intimate mic sound of the modern discs. This of course is just a matter of personal preference."
__________

Great observation! I can't tell you how distressed I sometimes am over many contemporary recordings of shows. I'm with you on this one.

As to which Follies to buy: the original cast album.

The original of almost any show is the one to buy first. I'll never understand why anyone debates which to pick up. The original cast should be an automatic purchase of any show one is interested in.
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Riv, we all would agree that the Original Cast album of a recording is usually the best option, but the thing is Hal Prince didn't allow Columbia records to produce the Original Cast recording of Follies and at the end the show didn't get a respectable album with many songs cut and poor quality due to space issues. So the original cast album is a must-have but if you want a complete recording of Follies, then it's better to get the concert version or the Papermill.
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Thank you Everyone!