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"The Bon Soir is so dark, not even the waiters can see. They all carry tiny flashlights up their sleeves so they can determine who needs a refill, creating the effect of a room-a-twinkle with glow-worms..." - The New York Times, November 1960
"The Bon Soir has swung into the new nightclub season with the find of the year. She is Barbra Streisand, a Brooklynite whose voice and poise belie her scant eighteen years. Vocally, there's range and power; style wise, there appears to be a natural gift for musical comedy, but she handles with aplomb the most meaningful ballads." - New York World-Telegram, November 1960
Los Angeles, September 16, 2022
In the fall of 1960, New York City wasn't the same urban mecca it is today. Neither was eighteen-year old Barbra Streisand, who emerged on the Greenwich Village club scene at a small, cozy venue on West 8th Street called the Bon Soir, where she received rave reviews and wooed the crowd with her incredible performances. Within two years Streisand, whose magnificent interpretations of both standards and quirky, obscure cabaret tunes was a nationwide sensation, was knocking audiences dead with her nightly performance as Miss Marmelstein in David Merrick's I Can Get It For You Wholesale on Broadway.
Sixty years, multiple Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe awards and nearly two hundred million record sales later, Barbra has for the first time authorized the release of a major portion of her Bon Soir performances, as captured in 1962 by Columbia Records. IMPEX Records - in conjunction with Sony Music Entertainment - is proud to present the audiophile 180-gram vinyl LP and SACD editions of the most sought-after recordings in Barbra's legendary career: Live at the Bon Soir: Greenwich Village, NY - November 1962. This gorgeous album features twenty-four brilliant performances personally selected by Barbra Streisand from the original Bon Soir master tapes and expertly mixed and mastered by Paul Blakemore and Jochem van der Saag, under the supervision of producers Barbra Streisand, Martin Erlichman and Jay Landers.
IMPEX RECORDS has created two versions of this noteworthy release: a two-LP vinyl edition and a 24 bit / 96 kHz SACD. To achieve the best fidelity possible, engineer Paul Blakemore transferred the original three-track session tapes to high-resolution 96/24-bit digital files, which were then mixed by Jochem van der Saag. For mastering, Blakemore used an all-analog signal-processing chain in order to maintain the warmth of the original analog recordings. To master the vinyl LP edition, IMPEX engaged Bernie Grundman, who has mastered many of Barbra's albums over the last sixty years, to create the lacquer pressing master.
Rich with the club's atmosphere, these historic, essential recordings present a warm, charming portrait of a truly important moment in New York City history and American pop culture. Several years removed from Manhattan's flourishing jazz nightclub scene, tiny clubs such as the Bon Soir began popping up, and served as both a forum and launching pad for some of the finest vocalists and musicians the east coast had to offer.
Because of Barbra's success there, Columbia Records A&R rep David Kapralik decided that the first album from his newly-signed artist would emanate from a setting in which she had become most comfortable: the small stage at the Bon Soir. Producer Mike Berniker and recording engineers Roy Halee and Adjutor "Pappy" Theroux set up the mics and recorders, and for three nights harnessed the electrifying show that Barbra had crafted.
"The recordings we did at the Bon Soir were so authentically 'Barbra.' I produced her first three albums at Columbia, and while they were wonderful accomplishments, I thought that what she did each night at the Bon Soir transcended anything we ever did in the studio." - Mike Berniker
Columbia ultimately decided to bring Barbra into the studio to record her first album, and except for the inclusion of several tracks on compilations through the years, the Bon Soir tapes laid dormant in the vault. Now, through this extraordinary release, everyone can at last enjoy the early sound and style of an icon in-the-making: the same brilliant artist whose performances at the Bon Soir were lauded by everyone from actress Helen Hayes to lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman. We invite you to join us for an evening at the fabled Bon Soir. Take a seat, order a drink and revel in the magic that is Barbra. You will not be disappointed!
"She walked out and sang one note and I remember starting to cry, and I never stopped crying the entire show. Afterward, I went backstage and said to her, 'Do you know how wonderful you are?'" - Marilyn Bergman
Overall, it's close to the SACD but not identical. For one thing, though I find it hard to believe the LPs can exceed the SACD in dynamic range, the moment I cued the first cut I heard a boldness that sounds subjectively more dynamic and wide-open than the SACD. For another, there's a greater sense of roundedness and body to the voice, and even more air and space in and around the performers and the audience for a more convincing impression of a real space. Everything was also subtly richer, fractionally tastier, just that degree more grounded and organic—not that the SACD is deficient in any of these areas, just a tad less. Impex's surfaces on my copy are perfection itself, so quiet with blacks so deep that an engineer for whom I played it thought it must be a digital source. Kudos as always to Bernie Grundman's mastering and lacquer cutting and to RTI's pressings. The physical design and presentation of packaging and booklet are first-class all the way.
This is music in a category of its own, a little supernova that happened in Greenwich Village decades ago. This album gave me shivers. As Little Richard put it, 'My big toe shot up in my boot!'... There is no excuse not to listen to this unique, historic recording.
It is not possible to overestimate the historical importance of Live at the Bon Soir from Impex Records. It shines a new and endearing light on Barbra Streisand—one of America's most extraordinary talents—when she was only 20 years old, is beautifully and tastefully made, and sounds super. Very highly recommended.
This is a must have for all the Barbra Streisand fans out there, but also for those interested in their first introduction to her legacy and her extraordinary entertainment skills. A new and inspiring title for multiple generations! Highly recommended!
This project was obviously a labor of love between Sony/Legacy and Impex Records, and Impex has pulled out all the stops for this LP release, delivering a product that's exciting on every possible level. ... The HQ-180 LPs had no surface noise whatsoever, and there were no ticks or pops of any kind; at no point could I hear any discernible groove modulation noise. It was among the most perfect LP playback I've ever experienced, and in addition to the whisper-quiet backgrounds, the music literally jumped out at me from my loudspeakers!.. This is undoubtedly one of those instances where even if you've already gotten the SACD and love it (as I do!), you really do need to get the LPs. I love the convenience of great digital, but the LP playback experience is exactly that—it's much more of an experience! Bernie Grundman's LPs take the technical prowess that Paul Blakemore and Jochem van der Saag employed to make the master tapes for Barbra Streisand Live at the Bon Soir a viable reality, and have imbued the music with a vibrancy and analog goodness that makes these 60-year-old recordings sound new again. These LPs are not to be missed, and are very highly recommended!
- Audiophile 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Legendary 1962 Debut Recording Officially Available for the Very First Time
- Every Aspect of the Production Personally Supervised by Barbra Streisand
- Mixed by Jochem van der Saag from the Original Analog Session Tapes & Mastered in 24 bit/96 kHz by Paul Blakemore
- Lacquer Pressing Master Created by Bernie Grundman
- Pressed at RTI
- Tip-On Gatefold Jacket
- Deluxe 12-Page Booklet Featuring Barbra's Recollections, the Recording's History & Production, and Performance Photos
- Introduction by David Kapralik / My Name Is Barbra
- Much More
- I Hate Music
- Right As the Rain
- Cry Me A River
- Lover, Come Back to Me
- Band Introductions
- Soon It's Gonna Rain
- Come to the Supermarket (In Old Peking)
- When the Sun Comes Out
- Happy Days Are Here Again
- Keepin' Out of Mischief Now
- A Sleepin' Bee
- I Had Myself A True Love
- Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
- Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
- I'll Tell the Man in the Street
- A Taste of Honey
- Never Will I Marry
- Nobody's Heart Belongs to Me
- My Honey's Lovin' Arms
- I Stayed Too Long At the Fair