Didier C. Deutsch; Goddard Lieberson; Darcy M. Proper
Number of Discs
51m : 12s
Album Notes and Credits
Music composed by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics written by Lorenz Hart.
Principal Cast: Harold Lang (Joey Evans); Vivienne Segal (Vera Simpson); Beverly Fite (Linda English); Barbara Ashley (Gladys Bumps); Kenneth Remo (Ludlow Lowell); Jo Hurt (Melba Snyder).
Recorded at CBS Studios, New York, New York in 1950. Originally released on Columbia (ML 4364). Includes liner notes by Richard Jay-Alexander.
This is part of Columbia Records " Broadway Masterworks" series.
Principal Cast: Helen Gallagher, Patricia Northrop, Elaine Stritch.
Includes liner notes by Marc Kirkeby.
All music written by Richard Rodgers. All lyrics written by Lorenz Hart.
Liner Note Author: Richard Jay-Alexander.
Recording information: CBS 30th Street Studios (09/20/1950-09/21/1950).
Pal Joey, Rodgers and Hart's Broadway musical of late 1940, based on John O'Hara's epistolary short stories about a Chicago low-life who manipulates women, was considered overly cynical in its first production and was only a modest financial success. It also came just before the advent of original cast albums, and therefore went unrecorded. But in 1950, after the song "Bewitched" (aka "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered") from the score had belatedly become a hit, Columbia Records' vice-president, Goddard Lieberson, was determined to preserve the score on records and brought in the original female lead, Vivienne Segal, along with Harold Lang (replacing Gene Kelly) as Joey. He also bravely chose to retain Lorenz Hart's distinctly adult lyrics to such songs as "Bewitched," a frank admission of mature physical longing (the hit recordings had bowdlerized the words), and "Zip," the commentary supposedly given by Gypsy Rose Lee during a striptease. The resulting album, released in early 1951, had a tremendous impact, leading to a revival production of the show starring Segal and Lang that opened at the start of 1952. Since the principals were still contracted to Columbia, while Capitol had obtained rights to the cast album, and since the executives at Capitol were not as brave as Lieberson about the lyrics, the cast album was botched. But this Columbia album remained, and has continued historically to be the best and most accurate recording of the show. Segal is tremendously effective as an older woman rediscovering love; Lang is appropriately callow in such deceptively insincere songs as "I Could Write a Book"; and Jo Hurt does a good job with "Zip." The 2003 CD reissue adds as bonus tracks: Segal's interview with Mike Wallace about the musical, a performance of "Bewitched" (with the clean lyrics!) from a radio show, and Lang's performance of "I Could Write a Book" from a TV show. ~ William Ruhlmann