A Compact Disc from the 1980s – In Honor of Barbra Streisand at 80

Time does have a way of sneaking up on you.

Yesterday legendary singer/actress/director/producer Barbra Streisand turned eighty years old and I must say it kind of rattled me for a second.

If Streisand was turning eighty then that means all of her work that I loved most, especially her run of albums from from 1980-1985, must be over or near forty years old. I know I’ve said it before but how on earth can it be over forty years since I first discovered the wonderful Barbra Streisand?!!

(Note: I should probably rename this blog “How on Earth Can It Be?” since all of my favorite music and artists are getting really old and that phrase pops up a lot on here. Oh well, I still love them anyway.)

Of course I knew of Streisand’s work in the 1960s and 70s, I had heard her songs on the radio and had even seen the movie “The Way We Were” on TV, but it wasn’t until 1980 and the release of her “Guilty” album that I actually started buying any of her records.

From 1980 onward every new album Barbra Streisand released managed to make it way into my collection whether it be on vinyl or CD. The “Guilty” album started me on a journey through Streisand’s career that eventually encompassed all of the musical work she has released since 1963.

And that leads me to the focus of today’s post.

In honor of Barbra Streisand turning 80 I thought I’d share with you a CD I recently found of one of her best albums, and one of my personal favorites, “The Broadway Album” which was released in 1985.

As the Covid situation has lessened I have been able to go back out antiquing again (one of my favorite hobbies) and I happened to come across this CD at an antique store still in its longbox. I haven’t seen a sealed CD in its original longbox since the early 1990s so this was a real time machine experience for me.

(Note 2 : Folks who’ve read this blog know that for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s CDs were made available to purchase in longboxes. The longbox was a way music retailers could shelve CDs in sections that had previously been used to display vinyl. I have shown many example of longboxes I still own on this blog and if you care to see them type in the word “longbox” in the search on this blog to get a glimpse at a few of them)

The fact that this longbox CD was “The Broadway Album” made it all the better and since the price was right and I had never seen, or don’t remember, the longbox that originally accompanied this album purchasing this CD was a no-brainer for me.

Now I must confess that I already own “The Broadway Album” on compact disc. I have a first issue U.S. CD pressing of the album that was made in Japan (see photos below) but I didn’t buy the album on CD initially as my first copy of the album was on vinyl.

I didn’t really start buying CDs until sometime in 1986 but I still remember fondly listening to this album on vinyl and looking at the inner lyric sleeve plus bonus liner insert as I played the record. You just don’t get the same experience of an album without the larger format album covers and inner sleeves, etc.

Truth be told I may actually prefer the sound of my vinyl copy but the CD issue is what I mainly reach for whenever I get the urge to play it.

I was wondering if the CD inside this new version I found in the longbox would be an early issue made in Japan. I know that the earliest CDs that were sold from say the 1983 to 1985 time frame were made available in what they called blister packs which were made of a hard plastic that had no artwork it was just a clear packing that held the CD and it’s jewel case.

In fact the first three CDs I ever bought were in these blister type packs and all three of those CDs were made in Japan. And naturally the first three CDs I ever purchased were by Paul McCartney – shocker I know.

The reason I like the earlier CDs made in Japan is that they are generally better made than modern CDs and the mastering is usually the same as what was made for the vinyl issue making them sound better than later CD issues of these albums.

I knew that odds were this longbox version may not be the earliest CD pressing of this album and of course since my curiosity won out I opened the longbox to make sure.

As you can see from the photos above this CD isn’t an early issue and was probably manufactured I’m guessing around 1987 to 1989 from the looks of the matrix information. This version does indeed sound nice and sounds like a slightly louder mastering than my early made in Japan CD which I think may sound a tad better but this disc is no slouch in the sound department that’s for sure.

Somewhere I have a remastered version of this album that came out around 2002 or so but I don’t really like the sound of that particular version. It sounds too hot and kind of clips in spots. It’s not a terrible sounding disc but I much prefer the earlier CD issues of this album as they are warmer and more dynamic to my ears.

Well anyway that’s all I have for now. I wanted to celebrate Barbra turning 80 the only way I know how by looking at her music in some of the formats that I own it on.

As usual you can see photos above and below of the various versions I own of “The Broadway Album”. The top section of photos highlight my recent longbox CD find while the bottom photos highlight my vinyl copy as well as the made in Japan copy I found as a used CD a few years after I bought the album on vinyl in 1985.

Until next time be safe and well and hopefully see you soon and Happy Birthday Barbra!