Unreleased for six decades, Live at The Bon Soir features the earliest live recordings from the EGOT-winning artist. Recorded in the Greenwich Village nightclub November 4-6, 1962—just weeks after Streisand inked her first record deal with Columbia—Live at The Bon Soir was originally intended to be Streisand's debut album. The tapes were eventually shelved in favor of 1963’s The Barbra Streisand Album, which offered studio versions of 11 songs from her nightclub repertoire. The album captures Streisand the year she made her Broadway debut in I Can Get it For You Wholesale, and two years before her career-defining performance in Funny Girl.
Streisand is accompanied by Tiger Haynes on guitar, Averill Pollard on bass, John Cresci on drums, and Peter Daniels on piano. Listen to "Cry Me a River" from the recording by clicking here.
With new mixes supervised by Streisand and Grammy-winning engineer Jochem van der Saag, Barbra Streisand–Live at The Bon Soir is produced by Streisand, Martin Erlichman, and Jay Landers.
Landers says in the liner notes, “The science of recording has made quantum leaps since 1962. Grammy Award-winning engineer Jochem van der Saag has subtly solved audio issues in ways his predecessors could hardly have fathomed. Absolutely nothing about Barbra’s sterling vocals has been altered. However, the overall sonic picture has been greatly improved from the original tapes.”
According to van der Saag, ‘The moment we played the tapes through modern state-of-the-art speakers, it was clear what the original engineers, Roy Halee and Ad 'Pappy' Theroux, had faced. The club’s acoustics were obviously not designed for recording, and there was a lot of leakage from the instruments into her vocal mic. If we wanted to lower the volume of the piano for example, the vocal volume would decrease, too. To give listeners ‘the best seat in the house,’ we used cutting-edge spectral editing technology, clarifying the true artistry of Barbra and her band."
Streisand adds, “I had never even been in a nightclub until I sang in one. I sang two songs in a talent contest at a little club called The Lion and won, which led to being hired at a more sophisticated supper club around the corner called the Bon Soir, with an actual stage and a spotlight. The buzz that began at the Bon Soir led to a contract with Columbia Records in 1962, the start of a long association that continues to this day. The initial plan for my first album was to record it at the club, and these early tapes have been sleeping in my vault for six decades. I’m delighted to finally bring them out into the light and share what could have been my debut album, Live At The Bon Soir.”
The complete track listing follows (some of the tracks were released in Streisand’s Just for the Record boxed set in 1991):
- Introduction by David Kapralik (Columbia Records)/My Name Is Barbra (Leonard Bernstein)
- Much More (Tom Jones/Harvey Schmidt)
- Napoleon (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg)
- I Hate Music (Leonard Bernstein)
- Right As The Rain (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg)
- Cry Me A River (Arthur Hamilton)
- Value (Jeff Harris)
- Lover, Come Back To Me (Oscar Hammerstein II/Sigmund Romberg)
- Band Introductions
- Soon It’s Gonna Rain (Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones)
- Come To The Supermarket (In Old Peking) (Cole Porter)
- When The Sun Comes Out (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler)
- Happy Days Are Here Again (Jack Yellen/Milton Ager)
- Keepin’ Out Of Mischief Now (Andy Razaf/Thomas “Fats” Waller)
- A Sleepin’ Bee (Harold Arlen/Truman Capote)
- I Had Myself A True Love (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer)
- Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
- Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf? (Frank Churchill/Ann Ronell)
- I’ll Tell The Man In The Street (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
- A Taste Of Honey (Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow)
- Never Will I Marry (Frank Loesser)
- Nobody’s Heart Belongs To Me (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart)
- My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms (Herman Ruby/Joseph Meyer)
- I Stayed Too Long At The Fair (Billy Barnes)
Streisand has recorded 52 gold, 31 platinum, and 13 multi-platinum albums, achieving No. 1 albums in each of the six consecutive decades. She is the only artist ever to receive Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, National Medal of Arts, and Peabody awards, as well as France's Legion d’Honneur, the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the first female film director to receive the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The release, which is available here, coincides with the 60th anniversary of Streisand recording on the Columbia label.