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Barbra Streisand|Higher Ground

Higher Ground

Barbra Streisand

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As Barbra Streisand's first studio album of mainstream pop material in nine years, Higher Ground is something of an oddity. Instead of devoting herself to Broadway standards or a set of radio-oriented pop tunes, Streisand has crafted a record that she intended as a tribute to the power of music as prayer. It's an ambitious project, but for the most part it works, achieving a surprising grace. Higher Ground comprises both traditional religious songs and new material (even "Tell Him," an overblown duet with Celine Dion, vaguely touches on that theme), with grandiose arrangements by Marvin Hamlisch. Although Streisand and Hamlisch still favor sweeping strings and bold statements -- so much so that many of the songs sound remarkably similar to each other, in terms of dynamics and arrangements -- the album retains its power thanks to her subtle interpretations of melody and lyrics. The end result might not quite match her latter-day masterpieces, but it's another strong addition to her catalog.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Higher Ground

Barbra Streisand

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1
Medley: I Believe / You'll Never Walk Alone (Album Version)
00:06:12

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Orchestra arranged and conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Scott Frankfurt, keyboards & programming - Al Stillman, composer & lyricist - Ervin M. Drake, composer & lyricist - Jimmy Shirl, composer & lyricist - Irvin Graham, composer & lyricist - Richard Rodgers, composer & lyricist - Oscar Hammerstein II, composer & lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Arif Mardin - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Higher Ground (Album Version)
00:04:23

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Greg Phillinganes, piano & keyboards - Dean Parks, acoustic baritone guitar - Neil Stubenhauss, bass - J.R. Robinson, drums - Bob Zimmetti, percussion - Orchestra arranged and conducted by William Ross - Steve Dorff, composer & lyricist - George Green, composer & lyricist - Kent Agee, composer & lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Arif Mardin - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
At the Same Time (Album Version)
00:04:18

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Walter Afanasieff, Synthesizer, bass, drum & rhythm programming - Dan Shea, additional keyboards and drums & rhythm programming, sound design & computer programming - Dann Huff, guitars - Michael Landau, additional guitar - Neil Stubenhauss, bass - Phillip Ingram, Alex Brown, Lynn Davis, Jim Gilstrap & The Carol Lombard Children's Choir, background vocals - Orchestra arranged and conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Ann Hampton Callaway, Composer & Lyricist - Produced and arranged by Walter Afanasieff - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - David Gleeson, recording engineer - Jeff Balding, recording engineer - Mick Guzauski, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Tell Him (Duet with Celine Dion / Album Version)
00:04:53

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Celine Dion, vocals - Walter Afanasieff, keyboards, Synthesizer, drum & rhythm programming - David Foster, additional keyboards & additional Synthesizer - Dan Shea, sound design & computer programming - Dann Huff, guitars - Simon Franglen, drum programming - Orchestra arranged and conducted by William Ross - David Foster, Linda Thompson, Walter Afanasieff, Composers & Lyricists - Produced and arranged by David Foster (for Chartmaker Inc.) & Walter Afanasieff (for WallyWorld Productions) - Main engineers : David Gleeson, Dave Reitzas, Humberto Gatica (for Hum Inc. Productions), Jeff Balding, recording engineers - Mixed by Humberto Gatica

(P) 1997 Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.

5
On Holy Ground (Album Version)
00:06:14

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Mervyn Warren, piano - J.R. Robinson, drums - Reggie Hamilton, bass - Byron Smith, Hammond B-3 organ - Peter Michael Escovedo III, percussion - Choir : Maxi Anderson, Alfie Durio-Silas, Kristle Murden, Bridgette Bryant-Fiddmont, Jessica Williams, Lynn Davis, Carmen Twillie, Maxine Waters-Willard, Carmen Carter, Yvonne Williams, Bobette Jamieson-Harrison, Lynne Fiddmont-Linsey, Carl Graves, David Thomas, Richard Jackson, Willie Wheaton, Jeff Ramsey, Fred White - Orchestra arranged and conducted by Mervyn Warren - Geron Davis, Composer & Lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Mervyn Warren - Main engineers : Frank Wolf, recording Engineer - Dave Reitzas, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
If I Could (Single Version)
00:04:25

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Dean Parks, acoustic baritone guitar - Orchestra arranged and conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Scott Frankfurt, keyboards & programming - Ronald L. Miller, composer & lyricist - Kenny Hirsch, composer & lyricist - Martha V. Sharron , composer & lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Arif Mardin - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Circle (Album Version)
00:04:16

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Walter Afanasieff, keyboards, synthesizer, bass, drum & rhythm programming - Dan Shea, additional keyboards and drum & rhythm programming, sound design & computer programming - Dann Huff, guitars - Phillip Ingram, Alex Brown,Lynn Davis, Jim Gilstrap, background vocals - Orchestra arranged and conducted by William Ross - Jud Friedman, composer & lyricist - Cynthia Weil, composer & lyricist - Produced and arranged by Walter Afanasieff - Main engineers : David Gleeson, Dave Reitzas, Dana Jon Chappelle, Jeff Balding, recording engineers - Mixed by Dave Reitzas

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Medley: The Water Is Wide / Deep River (Album Version)
00:05:33

Barbra Streisand, vocals - John Mahoney, pre-programming - Mark Mann, keyboards - Eric Rigler, uilleann pipes - Orchestra arranged by Arif Mardin & conducted by Paul Bogaev - Traditionals - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Arif Mardin - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Leading with Your Heart (Album Version)
00:03:33

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Jeremy Lubbock, keyboards - Scott Frankfurt, bass, drums and percussion programming, additional Synthesizers - Arranged & conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Alan Bergman, composer & lyricist - Marilyn Bergman, composer & lyricist - Marvin Hamlisch, composer & lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand & Jeremy Lubbock - Main engineers : Dave Reitzas, recording engineer - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
Lessons to Be Learned (Album Version)
00:04:43

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Walter Afanasieff, keyboards, Synthesizer, bass, drum & rhythm programming - Dan Shea, additional keyboards and drum & rhythm programming, sound design & computer programming - Dann Huff, guitars - Michael Landau, additional guitar - Orchestra arranged & conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Allan Rich, composer & lyricist - Dorothy Sea Gazeley, composer & lyricist - Marsha Malamet, composer & lyricist - Produced and arranged by Walter Afanasieff - Main engineers : David Gleeson, Dave Reitzas, Jeff Balding, recording engineers - Dave Reitzas, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Everything Must Change (Album Version)
00:04:05

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Randy Waldman, piano - Arranged & conducted by Jeremy Lubbock - Bernard Ighner, composer & lyricist - Produced by Barbra Streisand - Main engineers : Shawn Murphy & Dave Reitzas, recording engineers - Frank Filipetti, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Avinu Malkeinu (Album Version)
00:04:09

Barbra Streisand, vocals - Choir : Doug Anderson, Jeff Araluce, Lauren Azeltine, Mark Beasom, Samela Beasom, Bill Beck, Michael Fried, Meg Gister, Lisa Graham, Susan Holsonbake, Wendy Knudsen, Ed Levy, Susan Mills, Lisa Naulls, Greg Parker, Yoav Paskowitz, Dan Plaster, Joel Pressman, Cheryl Roach, Judy Siirila, Bill Smith, Janet Smith, John St. Marie, Sara Willard - Marvin Hamlisch, Conductor - Max Janowski, Composer & Lyricist - Arranged by Marvin Hamlisch & William David Brohn - Produced by Barbra Streisand - Main engineers : Shawn Murphy, recording engineer - Dave Reitzas, mixing engineer

(P) 1997 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

As Barbra Streisand's first studio album of mainstream pop material in nine years, Higher Ground is something of an oddity. Instead of devoting herself to Broadway standards or a set of radio-oriented pop tunes, Streisand has crafted a record that she intended as a tribute to the power of music as prayer. It's an ambitious project, but for the most part it works, achieving a surprising grace. Higher Ground comprises both traditional religious songs and new material (even "Tell Him," an overblown duet with Celine Dion, vaguely touches on that theme), with grandiose arrangements by Marvin Hamlisch. Although Streisand and Hamlisch still favor sweeping strings and bold statements -- so much so that many of the songs sound remarkably similar to each other, in terms of dynamics and arrangements -- the album retains its power thanks to her subtle interpretations of melody and lyrics. The end result might not quite match her latter-day masterpieces, but it's another strong addition to her catalog.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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