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Jesus Christ Superstar OBC

Judging by the familiar cover this may have been one of the very first cast albums I ever listened to, borrowing the casette from the public library way back in the early 80s. Strange now to hear JCS cut down to only 40-something minutes... but that's what single casette life was like. At least the CD re-release is accompanied by an informative set of liner notes by Peter Filichia. (I wish he'd explain who or what "Randall's Island" - listed as cast member/s in the show's credits - is/are.)

Superstar is Lloyd Webber's most malleable score. JCS: A Resurrection and the 90s Australian and New Zealand cast albums demonstrate that it can be successfully given very different treatments. That said, the OBC is one of the "traditional" arrangements (ie closely following the concept album), not surprising as it was only the second recording of the show.

Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen confirm their status as JCS regulars. Elliman is more vocally assured than I recall her from other recordings, Dennen much, much, much more histrionic. During "Heaven on their Minds" I was worried that I was going to hear Pippin's Leading Player throughout the score, but Ben Vereen soon put a harder edge on this role than the one that first introduced him to me. Jeff Fenholt as Jesus was good, though his "Gethsemene" petered out (no pun intended) even more than the usual versions that lack the big Crawford finishing note. Dangerously, this is the first cast recording where "This Jesus Must Die" is more camp than "King Herod's Song"... and given how overboard Paul Ainsley is, that's no idle threat.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 21, 2005 5:54 PM.

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