As Barbra Streisand returns with a new collection of previously unreleased gems and rarities, we run the rule over hew new collection Release Me 2...
As the only artist in history to have scored a Number One album in each of the last six decades, Barbra Streisand needs little in the way of introduction, but a new collection of previously unreleased tracks and rarities makes its arrival in stores this week and sheds a little new light on an incredible career.
Release Me 2 is available in stores from Friday (August 6), here's everything you need to know...
A little background…
It's not as if Barbra Streisand has rested on her laurels in recent years - it's only been just under three years since her 36th studio album Walls arrived on our shelves - but her new compilation finds the singer in retrospective mood, pulling together a selection of tracks from in a cross-section of her long career. Essentially a second instalment of her 2012 collection Release Me, the new collection was unveiled back in June this year, along with a previously unheard track recorded with country legend Willie Nelson.
What exactly can we expect here?
Rather than being a 'greatest hits' type of thing, instead Release Me 2 contains a mixture of songs culled from album sessions that didn't fit on the tracklist they were intended for, rare recordings from Streisand's sizable vault of material, and a treasure trove of material penned by a veritable roll-call of songwriting royalty that includes Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Randy Newman, Barry Gibb and Paul Williams, to name just a handful.
Any special guests?
Just three guest vocalists appear on the new collection, but what a line-up it is: Streisand duets with Willie Nelson on ‘I’d Want It to Be With You’, Barry Gibb adds his famous falsetto to ‘If Only You Were Mine’ and, last but not least, there’s an appearance from Kermit the Frog as the pair duet over the Paul Williams classic ‘Rainbow Connection’.
What does it sound like?
For the most part it’s big power ballads here, sometimes with a country twang, as with the Willie Nelson duet, or sometimes sounding like a classic Broadway standard as is the case with ‘If Only..’ and ‘Rainbow Connection, but each one a showstopper in its own way.
Does it deliver?
If you think of Release Me 2 as being like flipping through a newly-discovered photo album of snapshots from a long and storied career, then this new collection gives you exactly what you’d expect. Streisand is a seasoned vocal powerhouse and this collection really highlights just how long she's been at the top of her game as a performer.
Release Me 2 is availble in hmv stores from Friday August 6 - you can also find it here in our online store.