- Audio CD (Jan. 1 1990)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Universal Music Group
- ASIN: B000002GH2
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,364 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Mahagonny Songspiel (Intro) - Steve Weisberg|
|2. 'The Ballad Of Mac The Knife' - Sting/Dominc Muldowney|
|3. 'The Cannon Song' - The Fowler Brothers|
|4. 'Ballad Of The Soldier's Wife' - Marianne Faithfull|
|5. Johnny Johnson Medley - Van Dyke Parks|
|6. The Great Hall - Henry Threadgill|
|7. 'Alabama Song' - Ralph Schuckett|
|8. 'Youkali Tango' - The Armadillo String Quartet|
|9. 'The Little Lieutenant Of The Loving God' - John Zorn|
|10. Johnny's Speech - Van Dyke Parks|
|11. 'September Song' - Lou Reed|
|12. 'Lost In The Stars' - Carla Bley|
|13. 'What Keeps Mankind Alive?' - Tom Waits|
|14. Klops Lied (Meatball Song) - Elliot Sharp|
|15. 'Surabaya Johnny' - Dagmar Krause|
|16. Oh Heavenly Salvation': Hurriccane Introduction - Mark Bingham|
|17. Oh Heavenly Salvation: Oh Heavenly Salvation - Mark Bingham|
|18. 'Call From The Grave/Ballad In Which Macheath Begs All Men For Forgiveness - Todd Rundgren|
|19. 'Speak Low' - Charlie Haden|
|20. 'In No Man's Land' - Van Dyke Parks|
Sting's take on "Moritat/Mack the Knife" is deliberately low-key and affectless, a lovely antidote (at the time, and even now) to the jokey, albeit entertaining big-band renderings of Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin.
Lou Reed's "September Song" is an utter delight, as the personification of late 20th-century underworld New York does this set piece from *Knickerbocker Holiday*. Reed's instrumentation echoes John Lennon's last recordings (like the ironically titled "Starting Over") and adds some Stax-Volt-style horns, while his wonderfully world-weary delivery of Maxwell Anderson's cynical *and* sentimental lyrics steals the show.
Other great vocal performances are contributed by Stanard Ridgway from Wall of Voodoo, Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs (a wonderful "Alabama Song/Whiskey Bar"), Marianne Faithful, Tom Waits, Aaron Neville, and a heart-breaking turn by Dagmar Krause on Weill's perfect subversion of the torch song, "Surabaya Johnny."
Fine arrangements are supplied by the Armadillo String Quartet, who ably explores the minor-key sonorities of the "Youkali Tango"; by Van Dyke Parks, whose music-box renderings of selections from "Johnny Johnson" are both oddly fitting and oddly moving; by John Zorn, who applies his distinctive search-and-destroy, acid jazz approach to "The Little Lieutenant of the Loving God"; by Carla Bley, who lets Phil Woods blow incandescent alto sax on the title track; and by Sharon Freeman, who provides a lovely showcase for Charlie Haden on lead bass for "Speak Low.Read more ›
Most of the pop performers, especially Sting and Lou Reed, are flat and dull on here, but Todd Rundgren's arrangement is great; imaginative, personal and absolutely true to what the song is about. Other great pleasures include the incomparable Dagmar Krause, John Zorn and "Oh Heavenly Salvation." They exemplify the strength of the record, which is the personal and unexpected understanding of most of the musicians. Not all, but enough to make this a keeper.