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Originally released in March 1973, ‘The Singer’ was Liza Minnelli’s 7th studio album. The album is considered a milestone in Minnelli’s recording career as it is her only studio album to reach the Top 40 on the US Billboard 200 Chart. The album also peaked at number 45 on the UK Album Chart.
When Liza went into the recording studio in late 1972 to record “The Singer”, her first album for Columbia, there was an air of expectation that it might be the album to kick-start her recording career to the same pinnacles of success that she’d attained as both an actress and as a live performer. Both the soundtrack album to “Cabaret” and the live album of her legendary television special “Liza With a Z” had recently achieved gold sales status in no short measure due to them showcasing Liza’s unique combination of talents as a singer, dancer, actress and choreographer. The challenge with “The Singer”, therefore, was to make it a comparable showcase of her singing talents alone.
The title track, ‘The Singer’, is very much in the performative vein of the “Cabaret” songbook and there is also a sense of Liza’s acting prowess in her dramatic delivery of both the Lobo written track ‘I’d Love You To Want Me’ and the James Taylor penned ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight’; in both songs she deftly reverses the sex of the narrator from that of the original versions. To this end, these renditions stand out from the remainder of the album in that the other tracks are all Liza’s own take on, or cover versions of, an array of contemporaneous singer-songwriters.
The early 1970s were indeed one of the periods in which singer-songwriters were in the ascendancy and ‘The Singer’ acts as a snap-shot time-capsule that evidences the strength of that genre at that time with its inclusion of repertoire by the still famous writers of the likes of James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Mac Davis. Carly Simon’s classic track ‘You’re So Vain’ was also given a surprisingly funkier make-over by Liza on ‘The Singer’. All in all, a tremendous celebration of a distinct period of songwriting delivered by performer gifted with unparalleled interpretive powers at the very peak of her career!
This remastered expanded edition comes with a fully illustrated booklet containing period portraits by celebrated photographer Terry O’Neill as well as an introductory essay and four bonus tracks. Three of these tracks compile Liza’s recordings of songs from Kander & Ebb’s stage musical ‘Chicago’; their follow-up to the wildly successful “Cabaret”.