Thursday, May 29, 2014

MUSIC REVIEW: Marriage Type Love! Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy

Marriage Type Love! the new re-release of an album by Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy takes all of us back to that time theatre fans always seem to wax nostalgic for - when show tunes were popular music.  This collection covers a lot of territory all within the parameters that this is a bunch love and marriage themed duets.  And these two (married at the time) Broadway veterans bring a quality to all of it that is really missing in a lot similar releases these days.  They simply don't make them like this anymore.  Perhaps I am dating myself here - and I wasn't born until after the show ended - but this recording makes me think of all those really cool dinner parties on The Dick Van Dyke Show that Rob and Laura Petrie used to throw, where after dinner, everyone did a routine of some sort to entertain themselves.  Jack and Shirley would have certainly fit in!

Grade: A

Title: Marriage Type Love!
Artist: Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy
Label: Masterworks (Sony)
Format: Digital


1. Broadway Classics: Well, the two people singing these tracks are Broadway classics all by themselves, but more about them later!  The cumulative writing talent here is without match today - Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Gershwin, Porter, Cahn, Fields and Loesser, to name a few.  And here are recordings of songs from shows that are rare and./or unavailable anymore.  There are songs from Where's Charley, Me and Juliet, An American in Paris and even Our Town!

2. That sound!: These days everything is so processed and digital, it is refreshing to hear honest-to-goodness people playing actual instruments.  Not a sample in sight here!  And that old school "Living Stereo!" sound so proudly across the top of the cover has a quality that you just don't hear anymore.  Marty Gold's Orchestra provides the music, and some really imaginative orchestrations ("Love and Marriage" from Our Town and "I Love You" from Mexican Hayride are particular standouts in that department.)

3. Shirley and Jack: Most people of a certain age don't even know who they are.  Still others only know her as Mrs. Partridge.  And maybe real fans of classic movie musicals know her from Oklahoma! and The Music Man.  But Cassidy may be less well-known to most, even if he did 14 Broadway shows, including the original production of the much beloved She Loves Me.  Here is your chance to get to know or re-acquaint yourselves with these two gems, theatre-lovers!  Their skills individually are clear - she has a clear as a bell soprano; he has the leading man depth that most leading men only dream of.  But here, the biggest selling point is their delightful chemistry, as they play and romance together through each number.  It is palpable, even on a decades old recording.

(Full disclosure: I received a complimentary digital download of this recording for review.)



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