Yeah, like there was a shot in hell I wasn't going to be writing about this today. Barbra Streisand releases her latest album today, Love Is The Answer. It is her 63rd, and is produced by Diana Krall, a noted singer of jazz standards, and also the wife of the amazing Elvis Costello. It is a collection of love songs, standards really. Reportedly, it has been in the recording process for the past year, starting in 2008. To celebrate the release, Streisand played a date at Village Vanguard in New York City, the club she debuted at some 48 years previously, in 1961.
I saw two Tweets from Andy Cohen (@BravoAndy), in which he discussed the guests and the performance.
Well, I have been waiting for this album for some time now. Yes, I am damn near giddy. I guess that earns me back my card, right? So, I will be buying my copy today, but because I am an impatient person, I went online and found a copy, and have been listening. All I can say is that it is immaculate! The album is 12 songs, with a bonus track available. There is also a Deluxe set available, with is a second disc with the same songs, only performed with a quartet, not a phalanx of studio musicians. One of the songs is Make Someone Happy, and you can see a performance Streisand did recently.
For me, that proves she still has it. She might be 67 years old, but the voice is strong, and the interpretation flawless. Andy was right in heaping the praise. After listening to the recording, perhaps he didn't heap enough. There is such an intimacy, such softness to Love Is The Answer. It is part going to the corner bar to see your favorite singer in a smoke-filled room, just a piano and a microphone singing jazz tunes, and part tribute to an amazing talent. Chances are good you won't be catching any of the songs on Top 40 radio - maybe on adult contemporary stations at best - but it will be playing on my iPod, leaving me wistful and wanting a fireplace and a drink, as well as someone to cuddle up with.
Some early favorites so far are Where Do You Start?, a song I have loved since I heard it on a CD by Michael Feinstein. There is also If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas), a song by the amazing Jaques Brel. And Comden, Green and Jules Styne classic, Make Someone Happy. And the wonderful Jerome Kern song, Smoke Get's In Your Eyes.
Barbra with son Jason, at a recent concert, and in the early 60s.
Barbra is the mother of a gay son, Jason Gould [pictured above]. When asked about it by The Advocate, she replied, 'I would never wish for my son to be anything but what he is. He is bright, kind, sensitive, caring, and a very conscientious and good person. He is a very gifted actor and filmmaker. What more could a parent ask for in their child? I have been truly blessed. Most parents feel that their child is particularly special, and I am no different. I have a wonderful son. My only wish for my son, Jason, is that he continues to experience a rich life of love, happiness, joy, and fulfillment, both creatively and personally.' She supports marriage equality.
I have long believed that The Way We Were album was just perfect. There is not a single thing wrong with it. It also contains one of my favorites, What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?
Love Is The Answer is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and at retailers. You can find more information at the official website, found here.