Barbra Streisand, Back To Brooklyn

Even if the government is still shutdown and democrats and GOP members continue to squabble about the country’s debt, Obamacare, workers being furloughed, etc I find solace in music and music news. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about over the past week.

Despite the strong returns (100% ticket sales) on Barbra’s 2012 North American tour, I find it troubling, if not perplexing, that Back to Brooklyn has only been touted to be a one disc affair (versus two, like her three previous concerts) from Streisand’s long-time label, Columbia Records. Given that CD sales have slouched in favor of the more the digital iTunes, and other digital media outlets, is this just a sign of the times or is Columbia losing faith in Streisand as a record selling artist, deciding instead to devote more money to its younger, more hip artists and record buyers?
Can Barbra Streisand still sell records?

Instead of a exclusive deal with QVC, PBS is broadcasting the concert for their fall festival this year. The concert will air next month (for the Winter membership drive) hopefully with extra footage from other concert dates or her summer tour in Europe. The official Press Release from PBS is found here I will not even touch on the subject of the cover art for Brooklyn which has divided fans, some love and others find it cheap, almost fan made – a departure from the usual meticulously planned cover art that Streisand herself usually supervises.

Cover Art for Barbra's new live album and DVD "Back To Brooklyn"
Cover Art for Barbra’s new live album and DVD “Back To Brooklyn”

Given that Barbra has been with the same record company for her entire career, I feel like there was a missed opportunity to celebrate her golden anniversary with a major promotional product push in 2012 (i.e. the fabled 12 disc set that has been rumored about for a while now). In 1991 to celebrate her 30th anniversary, Columbia Records released Just For The Record, a four disc compendium of Barbra’s recording history, featuring rare and unreleased tracks. However, according to Barbra-archives.com, the set was originally mentioned in 1983, it was finally released in 1991. Granted Release Me, last year’s release before her concert tour was a nice compilation of unreleased material from Streisand’s vault, I still think it was a missed chance to do something BIG to keep Barbra Streisand in the forefront of the record buying public.

With speculation of Barbra doing Gypsy having cooled, and the disappointment at the box office with The Guilt Trip, I guess I just worry about Barbra’s staying power as she makes her way into her 70s.

Apparently, she is still working on the Duets album with Walter Afanasieff and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds; however, it is anyones guess when that project is being released, possibly early next year?!

Just today, Mary J. Blige and producer David Foster released A Mary Christmas, MJB’s first full length Christmas recording. The album includes a marvelous duet with Barbra Streisand on “When You Wish Upon a Star” and features Chris Botti on trumpet. Fans of Streisand, on the Barbra Streisand forum, were at odds with whether Streisand’s vocals were new or old. Listening to the album and the track itself, they were decidedly NEW and is well worth buying the entire album – which, I might add, is fantastic.

There are thirty-four days until Back To Brooklyn hits record stores and online.

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