Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments

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Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments
Barbra Streisand appears standing in front of an entire orchestra and other musicians atop a blue background displaying the album's title.
Studio album by Barbra Streisand
Released November 2, 1973 (1973-11-02)
Recorded 1973
Genre World
Length 34:37
Label Columbia
Producer Martin Erlichman
Barbra Streisand chronology
Live Concert at the Forum
(1972)
Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments
(1973)
The Way We Were
(1974)

Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments (also called And Other Musical Instruments) is the fourteenth studio album recorded by American vocalist Barbra Streisand. It was released on November 2, 1973 by Columbia Records. Followed by the premiere of a 1973 live television special used to improve Streisand's image and music, the accompanying album was released to the public. With world music as the primary genre, the album's instrumentation varies greatly; even items such as kitchen utensils were used to create melodies and beats. With a majority of the songs on the album being cover songs, Streisand also sings various tracks that originated earlier in her career. Her manager was credited as the album's sole and executive producer.

The album received mixed reviews from music critics. A critic from Billboard liked Streisand's tone and vocals, but others felt as if the album was ultimately forgettable. Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments is Streisand's lowest selling studio album of her entire career; it is also one of four studio albums released by the singer not to receive a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. However, it peaked in the lower positions of both Canada and the United States. The album was eventually released as a CD in 1989.

Background and development[edit]

Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments developed from her award-winning live television special in 1973 with the same title. Originally, Streisand had requested that her performance would be accompanied by several of "the world's greatest musicians"; however, Columbia Records instead had her sing with musicians from different countries and origins.[1] Filmed in London, the album was released to the public several months later.[2] Allison J. Waldman, author of The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook, claimed that the singer used this appearance to "update her image and her music" which would be more appealing for the general public.[3] Promotional efforts for the album included advertisements that described it as "the most special Barbra on record".[4] The photography created for the album cover was tackled by Baron Wolman while Paul Perlow designed the inside cover and liner notes.[5]

Despite the live television special featuring additional songs not included on the album itself, the special in its entirety was released on August 29, 2006 by Rhino Entertainment as a DVD album. The new songs include a medley of "Sing" and "Make Your Own Kind of Music", "Look What They've Done to My Song Ma", "Crying Time", a medley of "Sweet Inspiration" and "Where You Lead", and "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever".[6] The version of "Crying Time" was a duet with Ray Charles, a musician who had previously covered the song in 1964. However, the song was omitted from the release but a new version would later appear on Streisand's sixteenth studio album, ButterFly (1974).[7] Streisand and Columbia released Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments on November 2, 1973 as her fourteenth studio album overall, and her first since 1971's Barbra Joan Streisand.[8] The album was later released in a compact disc format on October 24, 1989.[9]

Composition[edit]

As a whole, the album contains world music, which takes influence from various styles and genres, including African, Japanese, and Spanish music.[10] It also contains the use of various items to create music, such as kitchen utensils.[11] Additionally, Streisand included a few songs from her previous albums, such as her medley of "Sweet Inspiration" and "Where You Lead", which was previously featured on Live Concert at the Forum (1972). Other tracks like "I've Got Rhythm", "Glad to Be Unhappy", and "By Myself" were also used on the singer's studio albums from the 1960s.[3] Streisand's manager, Martin Erlichman, was credited as the sole and executive producer of the album.[12]

Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments opens with "Piano Practicing", a song originally from American television writer and pianist Lan O'Kun. A raga version of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" succeeds it,[13] followed by a medley samba consisting of "Johnny One Note" and "One Note Samba".[14] Fourth and seventh tracks "Glad to Be Unhappy" and "Don't Rain on My Parade", respectively, contain "distorted" rhythms and melodies.[2] A new version of "People", from Streisand's 1964 studio album of the same name, contains influence from Turkish and Armenian music.[15] After "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "Don't Ever Leave Me", is a spoken track by Streisand titled "Monologue", which features dialogue of the singer speaking during the live television special.[14] "I Never Has Seen Snow", written by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote, proceeds Franz Schubert's Lied titled Auf dem Wasser zu singen.[14] The final two tracks are the medley of "The World Is a Concerto" and "Make Your Own Kind of Music", with the album's closer ("The Sweetest Sounds") being accompanied by an "angelic" chorus.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[16]
Entertainment Weekly D[10]

Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments has received mixed reviews from music critics. In Billboard's "Top Album Picks" article, the album was selected for placement under the "Spotlight" column, where it received a lengthier review. The critic was positive of the release, claiming that Streisand's "fine tones and majestical power are sheer entertainment". The individual selected "Glad to Be Unhappy" as one of the best ballads in her career.[13] AllMusic's William Ruhlmann awarded it three out of five stars, calling the album "more gimmicky than inventive" and ultimately a "forgettable misstep". He also found her medley of "The World Is a Concerto" and "Make Your Own Kind of Music" to be odd because its instrumentation consisted of sounds created by household appliances. Concluding, Ruhlmann claimed that Streisand's single release of "The Way We Were" helped erase any publicity for the album, which he considered a good thing.[16] Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly was also critical of the album and gave it a "D" rating. Although he called it a "nice idea", he found the collection unnecessary and stated, "do we really need a Spanish version of 'Don't Rain on My Parade'?".[10] Author Waldman wrote that the album was unsuccessful due to the singer being "dwarfed by the overproduction"; additionally, she felt that Streisand's duet with Ray Charles should have been included on the initial pressing, and Waldman also noted that there were "no new songs added" to the record. She stated that "the message was clear for Streisand ... keep moving forward".[3]

Commercial performance[edit]

Commercially unsuccessful,[17] Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments is Streisand's lowest-selling album released by Columbia and one of four studio albums that have not been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (the other three being 1969's What About Today?, 2011's What Matters Most, and 2016's Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway).[16][18] In the United States, the album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 146 for the week ending November 24, 1973.[19] Within two weeks it rose 71 places to number 75,[20] before reaching its peak position at number 64 on December 22.[21] It spent a total of sixteen consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200.[22] Paul Grein, writer of the "Chart Beat" column for Billboard, noted that Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments was one of Streisand's few releases to miss peaking within the top 15 of the chart.[23] Meanwhile, the record entered Canada's chart (compiled by RPM) at number 81 on January 1, 1974.[24] However, it dropped to number 88 the following week and on February 2, 1974, it peaked at number 80, which was also the final publication that the album would appear on, totaling four weeks altogether.[25][26]

Track listing[edit]

Barbra Streisand…and Other Musical Instruments – Standard edition[14]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Piano Practicing" Lan O'Kun 2:27
2. "I Got Rhythm" 1:24
3. "Johnny One Note"/"One Note Samba" 3:40
4. "Glad to Be Unhappy"
  • Rodgers
  • Hart
2:43
5. "People" 1:51
6. "Second Hand Rose" 0:16
7. "Don't Rain on My Parade"
  • Styne
  • Merrill
3:41
8. "Don't Ever Leave Me" 0:41
9. "Monologue" (Dialogue)   0:46
10. "By Myself" 1:54
11. "Come Back to Me" 1:38
12. "I Never Has Seen Show" 5:07
13. "Lied: Auf Dem Wasser Zu Singen" Franz Schubert 1:32
14. "The World Is a Concerto"/"Make Your Own Kind of Music"
4:02
15. "The Sweetest Sounds" Rodgers 2:55
Total length: 34:37

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the CD edition of Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments.[27]

  • Barbra Streisand – vocals
  • Martin Erlichman – production
  • Bill Schnee – mixing
  • Ken Welch – arrangements
  • Mitzie Welch – arrangements

Charts[edit]

Chart (1973–1974) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[26] 80
US Billboard 200[22] 64

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Edwards 2016, p. 262
  2. ^ a b Santopietro 2007, p. 132
  3. ^ a b c d Waldman 2001, p. 52
  4. ^ "The most special Barbra on record.". New York. New York Media, LLC. 6 (48): 26. November 26, 1973. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Barbra Streisand...And Other Musical Instruments: Barbra Streisand". Amazon.com. August 29, 2006. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  6. ^ Charles 1999, p. 146
  7. ^ Billboard staff (October 20, 1973). "Late News: Inside Track". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 85 (42): 78. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Barbra Streisand...And Other Musical Instruments: Barbra Streisand". Amazon.com. October 24, 1989. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c Farber, Jim (April 15, 1994). "Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ New York staff (January 23, 1995). "Movies". New York. New York Media, LLC. 28 (4): 70. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (DVD ed.). Rhino. 2006. B000GW8RZW. 
  12. ^ a b Billboard staff (November 10, 1973). "Billboard's Top Album Picks: November 10, 1973". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 85 (45): 76. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Vinyl release ed.). Columbia. 1973. PC 32655. 
  14. ^ Horrigan 1999, p. 95
  15. ^ a b c Ruhlmann, William. "Barbra Streisand – Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments". AllMusic. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  16. ^ Nickens & Swenson 2000, p. 22
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Barbra Streisand". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 11, 2017.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  18. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of November 24, 1973". Billboard. November 24, 1973. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of December 8, 1973". Billboard. December 8, 1973. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of December 22, 1973". Billboard. December 22, 1973. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "Barbra Streisand – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Barbra Streisand. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  22. ^ Grein, Paul (December 1, 1984). "Chart Beat". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 96 (48): 6. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4976b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4969b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  25. ^ a b "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4980b." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  26. ^ Barbra Streisand...and Other Musical Instruments (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (CD release ed.). Columbia. 1989. CK 32655. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series (third ed.). United States Copyright Office. 1974. 
  • Charles, Ray (1999). Ray Charles: An Autobiography. PediaPress. 
  • Edwards, Anne (2016). Streisand: A Biography. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 163076129X. 
  • Horrigan, Patrick E. (April 20, 1999). Widescreen Dreams: Growing Up Gay at the Movies. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0299161633. 
  • Nickens, Christopher; Swenson, Karen (2000). The Films of Barbra Streisand (illustrated ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 0806519541. 
  • Santopietro, Tom (April 1, 2007). The Importance of Being Barbra: The Brilliant, Tumultuous Career of Barbra Streisand. Macmillan. ISBN 142990853X. 
  • Waldman, Allison J. (2001). The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook (illustrated, revised ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 0806522186. 

External links[edit]