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October 10, 2012

Midweek Madness: Rare bubblegum, funk from Barbra Streisand

This week's tantalizing event for Barbra Streisand fans -- of which there are none more devoted than moi -- is the just-out "Release Me," a collection of decades-old tracks that never saw the light of an album.

I will have much more to say about this fascinating CD later -- OK, I have to say right now that it would be worth having if only for "Willow Weep For Me," "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" and the "Finian's Ranbow"/"Brigadoon" medley.

But, this being Midweek Madness day, and what with Fab Babs firmly on my mind, I could not resist sharing a couple of really off-beat mementos of her musical past.

From her mercifully brief bubblegum period, a single released in 1968: "Our Corner of the Night."

This sounds like something left over from a Petula Clark or Leslie Gore session. Yes, it is kind of awful, but, hey, it's Streisand, so I have a strange affection for it.

Then, how about some get-down-and-get-funky Barbra from the '70s? Lawdy, this excerpt from a recording session leaves me simply speechless.

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Midweek Madness

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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