Ruth Leon recommends… Cry Me a River – Barbra Streisand

Ruth Leon recommends… Cry Me a River – Barbra Streisand

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

November 11, 2022

Cry Me a River – Barbra Streisand

 ​It’s such a cliché to say that a star is born. Yeah, yeah, I hear you say, there’s a star born every minute. But if I tell you that 60 years ago, in a little club on the West Side of Manhattan, a star was indeed discovered.  Her name was Barbra Streisand and she was 18 years old. She had been engaged for two weeks. That engagement was extended to eleven weeks and it became a ‘don’t miss’ event.

This week the songs she sang at that first engagement at the Bon Soir are being released for the first time in a brand new restored recording Live at the Bon Soir. It was recorded live in the club at the time but her new record company decided that her first recording should be made in the studio instead. If I say “the rest is history” I know all of you will abandon me for someone less addicted to cliché but, again, it’s true, which is the fate of so many useful cliches.

Check out this, the original recording of Cry Me a River, one of the greatest of all torch songs sung by one of the world’s greatest singers when she was just 18 years old. Of course there was no video at the time but the record company has made this clever teaser to give us a sense of what it was like in 1960 when, okay, I’ll say it again, a star was born.

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  • Leporello says:

    What’s the principal waterway of the
    Crimea ? The Crimea River !

  • George says:


  • lamed says:

    (20. The video clearly says so.)

    God, this is her best recording, period, she was clearly a force of nature still in her teens (18, 19), and it captured her voice — the range, not just in terms of octaves but in terms of color, variety, emotions, dynamics, you name it, the purity, the sheer phenomenon — without the soft-focus effect of studio engineering.

    If you thought you knew Barbra’s voice or what she could do, you had no idea until you hear this recording. Spotify has her full recording. Go and listen to every song, and especially revelatory, her small talk between each number. She had the audience and band members eating out of her hand. She was a star already in her teens, and she knew it.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Streisand was indeed a force of nature. I remember hearing her when I was a teenager and she sang “People” from “Funny Girl”. I said to my mother, “who’s THAT”? I had about 3 of her early albums and they were treasures. She was just extraordinary in Wyler’s film of “Funny Girl”. Didn’t watch the sequel.

      But when Streisand turn to pop music a great deal was lost in that pursuit of money. She morphed into a very boring individual very quickly.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Streisand and Callas were the two best voices of the twentieth century. Consummate artists, unsurpassable. What a joy this well-made video is.

  • Barbraphiliac says:

    Just to clarify: It was actually 62 years ago when this star was born: 1960, first at the Lion, then at the Bon Soir. The recording at the Bon Soir happened in 1962 when she was 20. By that time, Streisand had had some time to add some polish to her performances–and she was also on Broadway performing in “I Can Get It for You Wholesale.”

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Great singing. Also great that she survived this early success without crashing and burning or getting tossed as many others did.

    My mother, who was 20+ years older, adored her work and it was rare for my mother to notice a pop star.