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BWW CD Review: Marilyn Michaels LET THERE BE NIGHT Leaves It All On The Floor

When a singing actor can do anything, why not do everything on their 70th Anniversary CD?

BWW CD Review: Marilyn Michaels LET THERE BE NIGHT Leaves It All On The Floor

When I was a kid I ate show business. I read the books, listened to the albums, saw the movies, and watched every TV show I could find that would make me feel closer to the industry that I, so, craved. Of particular interest to me were the variety shows that provided rotating casts of singers, dancers, and comics that went onto a list of talents to follow. It was always exciting to learn that Phyllis Diller or Flip Wilson were on a show because I grew up listening to comedy albums - my father loved Rusty Warren and Bob Newhart, and even though I didn't always understand all of the adult humor, I played those records all the time, and even though I watch and support the stand-up comedians of the last few decades, they seem to be missing that old-school comedy magic that came from those variety shows of my youth.

I can't remember a time when I didn't know who Marilyn Michaels was. She appeared on every variety show, talk show, celebrity game show, situation comedy, and holiday special that I saw, and she had the triple whammy: she was funny, she did impressions, and she could sing. I adored her, she was on my list of favorites. I even knew about it when she was in Playboy magazine - not a publication well-suited to my interests. So when I learned that Marilyn Michaels had a new CD coming out, I was on board, baby! I got my copy and, right there on the cover, it said: 70th Anniversary CD. Well, that wasn't possible. How could Marilyn Michaels be celebrating seventy years in show business? That would make her... well, we won't talk about that, it would be ungallant.

We have to talk about it, though, because I was once told that the vocal instrument of female singers diminishes with age. That would appear to be untrue because Marilyn Michaels' voice, as presented on this album, is as strong as it has ever been. Not only that, it remains as supple and pliable and ready to jump through acting hurdles as one might expect from a Borscht Belt comedian. Each of the sixteen tracks on LET THERE BE NIGHT gives Ms. Michaels an opportunity to use all the parts of her talent, for she doesn't just get in front of the microphone and sing, she presents fully fleshed characters and tangible stories for every track, even providing a little monologue before launching into a Kris Kristofferson ballad, and a kitten-with-a-whip vocal on a mash-up of famous melodies "Make Love To Me" and "Teach Me Tonight." Throughout the album the always versatile Michaels takes on a variety of sounds from the past decades, with ambitious arrangements designed to provide her with every opportunity to showcase that versatility, from fifties bob ("Mr. Sandman") to seventies disco ("Lullaby of Broadway") and, as the listening journey progresses comes the dawning realization that Marilyn Michaels isn't just releasing her seventh solo album here. This isn't, as the liner notes suggest, just an album about the night-owls and the nocturnal - Let There Be Night is exactly what is advertised on the cover: a 70th Anniversary celebration of the career and artistry of Marilyn Michaels.

Let There Be Night plays like an Atlantic City nightclub act. From start to finish, Marilyn Michaels gives her audience, her fans, precisely what they want, and, honestly, what they came for. There are characters galore and voices for days, there is comedy, there is heartbreak, there are jazz stylings and Broadway belting, and there is a finale that has to be heard to be believed. Not one for spoilers, I will confine myself to saying that the sixteenth and final track on the album has a lot (a LOT) of guest stars... take that to mean whatever you wish. The point is that Ms. Michaels has created a disc here that honors the legacy of decades of her artistry, that celebrates the fact that she was here then, and she's here now - and if some of her song choices seem odd (speaking personally, I didn't grove with the two oldest compositions on the album), simply trust that Marilyn Michaels knows what her brand is and focus on the cuts that resonate with you - for this writer that would be a superbly sublime "Blues In The Night" and the wonderfully theatrical "Lost In The Stars."

Marilyn Michaels is show business. She's seen it all, she's done it all, and this album tells the tale of her trajectory. For all who have been around to witness that journey or any leg of it, Let There Be Night is a great way to be an active part of it... just like when you ran home from school to get there in time for The Dinah Shore Show because TV Guide listed Marilyn Michaels as one of the guests. And you know what? The thrill is still there.

Marilyn Michaels Let There Be Night is a 2021 release on the Marilyn Michaels label and is available on Amazon, CD Baby, and the Marilyn Michaels website HERE.

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