EILEEN BARNETT: From her time on Days Of Our Lives comes the musical romp “Soap Opera” and we also hear the story of why on earth she moved to “The Valley”.
KAY COLE: Originating the part of “Maggie” in A Chorus Line made Kay the perfect choice to record two “Dance” songs written for the late, great Juliet Prowse.
CAROLE COOK: One of Broadway’s and the movies’ funniest ladies tells us about “My Life” and why she’s “The Queen Of Equity Waiver”.
NANCY DUSSAULT: The star of TV’s “Too Close For Comfort” sings the poignant ballad “A Captain’s Daughter” recounting her own relationship with her Navy dad.
KATHLEEN FREEMAN: Kathleen has appeared in literally hundreds of movies, but she is always getting asked, “Are You Somebody?”
JANE A. JOHNSTON: With perfect timing, Jane shares a celebration of men’s “Buns”, a lament about the stinginess of “Nouvelle Cuisine” and a hymn to cosmetically getting “A Little Lift”.
KAREN MORROW: Karen’s own journey to Broadway (“I Had A Ball”) and her tremendous singing talent inspired the epic number “Show Voice”.
BARBARA SHARMA: From Laugh-In, Barbara informs us that she’s a “Naughty Little Girl” and she and Kay Cole sing the title song from their off-Broadway revue “Always A Bridesmaid”.
B.J. WARD: Before starring in her one-woman show “Stand-Up Opera”, B.J. made an often hysterical living doing “Voice Overs” and shows us why.
JO ANNE WORLEY: Bombastic Jo Anne blames it all on her “Inner Child” then sings a duet with old pal Billy Barnes showing what happens in Show Biz to “A Great Idea”.
“The two dozen-plus numbers on the CD are primarily from Barnes’ revues and exhibit his wonderful sense of humor, sometimes biting, often gentle, but always witty.” – Show Music
“Billy Barnes is an underrated Composer whose name is comparable to a sip of fine cognac or whiskey, only true connoisseurs of theater songs know who this ‘Revue Master of Hollywood’ is.” – William Gregory
|1||Buns||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|2||My Inner Child||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|3||Something Special||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|4||Show Voice||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|5||The Valley||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|6||Captain's Daughter||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|7||The Queen of Equity Waiver||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|8||Voice Over||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|9||Nouvelle Cuisine||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|10||Are You Somebody?||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|11||Soap Opera||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|12||Always a Bridesmaid||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|13||Naughty Little Girl||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|14||A Little Lift||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|15||A Great Idea||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|16||Here Is My Life||Ducy Lee Recordings|
|17||The Subject is Dance / It Isn't Easy||Ducy Lee Recordings|
— Show Music
“These specially written cabaret songs for these tell-it-like-it-is, smart mouthed women will split your sides open with honesty and frankness from what a woman really wants in a man (we’re talking body parts) to pop psychology humor of blaming the “inner child.” These fun, irreverent songs dance through every day stories, hang-ups, idiosyncrasies and, well- real life. After all, if you can sing and dance about the day-to-day realities whether they be mundane or painfully embarrassing, every day feels a little more livable.”
“What’s ‘fizzy and funny and fine…’ (besides Maria)? The scintillating and scrumptious and super Billy Barnes’ Divas (Ducy Lee Recordings 0108; 67:42). Few songwriters have Barnes’ style and wit when it comes to songs that capture – and often skewer – their subjects, as he has proved with The Billy Barnes Revue, Billy Barnes’ L.A., Movie Star, and other revues. When that genre died, Barnes tailored special material for Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Dean Martin, Sonny and Cher, and many other stars who admired his humor. This recording collects some of the numbers Barnes wrote for specific talents. It’s a major plus that most are performed by the artists they were created for: Karen Morrow, Jo Anne Worley, Nancy Dussault, Laugh-In’s Barbara Sharma, Carole Cook (42nd Street), Kay Cole (A Chorus Line), Eileen Barnett (Nine), character actress Kathleen Freeman, Jane A. Johnston (Greenwich Village, U.S.A.), and opera satirist B.J. Ward. Because Barnes is friends with these ladies, he knows them well; the material pokes fun at their careers and foibles, with Dussault’s touching “Captain’s Daughter” a change of pace. As if his divas weren’t enough, Barnes sings “Something Special”, which describes what he so easily does, and with Worley recounts a frustrating but comical experience selling “A Great Idea”. The CD is a must for those who despair at the lack of laughs in today’s show business world … isn’t that most of us?”
“Billy Barnes first enjoyed fame with a series of musical revues. He went on to write special material for Danny Kaye, Judy Garland, Sonny & Cher and the Academy Awards telecasts. This album gathers together a collection of songs he has written to order over the years, most recorded by the artists who commissioned them. Enjoyment of the CD will depend upon one’s fondness for this kind of material. It’s tone is somewhat uniform but, at worst, one could only accuse Billy Barnes’ Divas of being perhaps a little too much of a good thing. With one exception, Nancy Dussault’s poignant ‘Captain’s Daughter’, all the songs are humorous. Several exploit Barne’s particular talent for pastiching other writers’ work, with clever musical quotes or lyric snatches from familiar showtunes. The album’s chief pleasure may be the opportunity to hear these talented women, most of whom are rarely if ever recorded. None of them disappoint. Eileen Barnett is particularly funny on one of the strongest numbers, ‘The Valley’, about a woman who moves to the San Fernando Valley with some reluctance but soon finds herself embracing the lifestyle. Karen Morrow gives her all to the seven minute marathon ‘Show Voice’ and Carole Cook enjoys herself to an almost indecent degree as the ‘Queen of Equity Waiver’. Barnes proves himself no mean interpreter of his own material on ‘Something Special’, an attempt to explain his particular gift to the uninitiated. There are a couple of entertaining duets. Barnes and Jo Anne Worley exhibit genuine chemistry on ‘A Great Idea’ and Kay Cole and Barbara Sharma have great fun with ‘Always A Bridesmaid’, the lament of two musical theatre actresses doomed to a lifetime of second leads (‘never Magnolia, Julie’s my role … but being drunk and boring isn’t really my goal’). Cole also shines on a pair on numbers originally written for the late, great Juliet Prowse. Barnes own skillful piano accompaniments frame his Divas’ vocals perfectly. His songs – and the women who sing them – are pure showbiz but the material is often deceptively clever and the album will appeal to those who enjoy good old-fashioned entertainment delivered with affection and zest.”
— Backstage West
“At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel a couple of Wednesdays ago, where Ducy Lee Recordings hosted a preview party at The Cinegrill to introduce its CD Billy Barnes’ Divas, there was a bevy of divas – Eileen Barnett, Kay Cole, Carole Cook, Nancy Dussault, Kathleen Freeman, Jane A. Johnston, Karen Morrow and Barbara Sharma (divas B.J. Ward and Jo Anne Worley being busy elsewhere) – clustered around the grand piano where Billy Barnes sat beaming like a beatific leprechaun a few days short of St. Patrick’s Day. Ducy Lee producer Wayne Moore hailed Barnes’ contributions to cabaret and theater music, noting, however, that he has been ‘…one of the least recorded of our great musicians.’ Kathleen Freeman introduced Barnes as ‘…a great American composer, who writes frivolous, silly lyrics with depth and interesting ideas about life.’ Natty in black suit and neat white turtleneck, Barnes beamed even more broadly and responded, ‘My God! I feel like I’ve died or something’ as he launched into a song explaining what he does: ‘Whatever it is I do, right now, I’m doin’ it – Special Material!’ For more than 25 years Barnes has provided just that, special material, for Academy Awards shows, Super Bowl specials, nightclub acts, and countless television variety shows. His Billy Barnes Revues, popular in New York, London, Scotland and Miami, were Hollywood highlights in the ’50s and ’60s. His affectionate Movie Star spoof, a gentler version of the Forbidden Hollywood genre, had a long run at the Westwood Playhouse starring some of the same singer/actresses featured on the new CD. Barnes has a special rapport with his divas, which was apparent in the warmth of Eileen Barnett’s introduction to The Valley and in the song itself: (‘This woman got married/And moved to the Valley…’). Barnes explained, ‘Beautiful Eileen starred in my revue Movie Star, she was a soap star on Days Of Our Lives, and she did move to the Valley when she married actor Bruce French.’ Jane A. Johnston, chic, svelte, and sophisticated in charcoal gray with a built-in small boa of feathers (ostrich? osprey? coq?) sang a topical number about ‘A Little Lift/A tiny tuck.’ Incomparable Carole Cook (‘hysterically funny and an amazing friend’, in Barnes words) delivered I’m The Queen Of Equity Waiver, the song he wrote for her appearance at a Los Angeles Theater Critics awards show. Elegant in black set off with a rhinestone dragonfly pin big as any you will ever see, her nasturtium-colored hair in a decorated chignon and her incredible eyes calling to mind a once-popular song, – ‘Jeepers Creepers, Wheredya get them peepers?’ – where else are you going to look? Cook’s way with a barbed sally, risque ad lib, pointed bon mot is delicious.”
Welcome to the wonderful world of DUCY LEE RECORDINGS. My name is WAYNE MOORE. I founded this company in order to record the songs of the NEW writers of music for the theater and for cabaret ... the Gershwins, Porters…