Posted by Gillian G. Gaar on March 1st, 2009
Label: COLLECTORS’ CHOICE
Before Liza Minnelli found international stardom in the film Cabaret, she’d already attracted favorable notices for her theatre and film work. She made her debut as a recording artist with Capitol, but when her records failed to chart, A&M picked up her contract and released four albums from 1968 to 1972, which make up this collection. Unsurprisingly, Minnelli does best with standards like “God Bless The Child,” or the work of clever songwriters like Randy Newman (his biting “The Debutante’s Ball” is a highlight). In fact, her third A&M album, New Feelin’, was solely composed of standards, featuring self-consciously “modern” arrangements that are somewhat dated but still largely work due to Minnelli’s vocal panache. She’s less successful with contemporary material-her only chance of getting a hit during the ‘60s rock era (though her version of “Come Saturday Morning” exudes a nice singer-songwriter feel). This is most evident in the live album presented here (from a 1969 performance in Paris) which features a bizarre medley of “Consider Yourself”/”Hello, I Love You”/”I Gotta Be Me.” But overall, this is a fascinating document of a superstar’s ascendancy.