— Laurie Lawson, Electronic Links Journey
“For anyone who likes their music with lyrics sure to pluck their heartstrings or tickle their funny bone, or in some cases do both in the same song, this could easily become their all-time favorite album.
This prolific lady’s gems are performed by yesterday’s and today’s shining stars — an awe-inspiring list of performers.
Each work is laced with a sophisticated prose guaranteed to leave a delightful phrase dancing around in your brain or a poignant emotion tugging at your heart. There doesn’t seem to be a musical style Hall can’t handle. And with the same courage and verve, she tackles all subjects with what appears to be elegant ease. From birth (“Jenny Rebecca”) to aging (“Nana”) and dying (“I’ll Imagine You A Song”) and everything in between, the journey of life unfolds with a little humor, lots of love, blind faith, and memories to get us through. Or as Hall would say “like a ribbon we unwind.”
Don’t just pick up one copy of HALLWAYS. Pick up several for friends and family. “Diamonds and rubies and a box of Jujubes” — it’s all that and more! Guess whose phrase that was.”
— Philip Dorian, Forum Magazine
“Got a CD player in your car? While away the miles with “HALLWAYS: The Songs of Carol Hall.” There’s nothing like hearing an accomplished musical poet sing her own lyrics.”
— Oscar E. Moore, Talk Entertainment
“HALLWAYS is wonderful! In fact, it’s my new security blanket.”
— Retta Blaney, Life Upon The Sacred Stage
“HALLWAYS is a treasure of a new CD, an exciting selection of love songs — ranging from warm, to humorous to rueful — gospel and country, sung by terrific singers and backed up by fabulous musicians.”
— Rob Lester, Talkin' Broadway
“Listening to HALLWAYS is kind of like walking through the hallways of songwriter Carol Hall’s long career or memory. In addition to recent songs, there is one sample from each of several past projects.
The proceedings open with a fine version of “Hard Candy Christmas” from her big Broadway show, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She sings the song with her daughter, Susannah Blinkoff, a singer-songwriter herself with a new album, who appeared as a pit singer in the sequel, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.
From that later score, we hear the cheery “Change in Me,” with Johnny Rodgers bringing sly charm with his vocal and his own piano accompaniment and arrangement.
Carol Hall recorded two fine solo albums back in the early 1970s and one song from each comes up for a revisit: “Jenny Rebecca” about the wonders awaiting a newborn baby (sung here by Bobby Gosh in his appealing gruff-but-tender voice) and the evocative “Nana,” the portrait of a grandmother co-written with her sister, Jane, which she sings herself.
Five of the 15 selections are from the past few years. Especially moving is the tale of those in the military who are at “War on Christmas Day” and those who wait for them to come home. This piece, with music by Robert Burke, is presented with aching harmony by Tom Andersen, Scott Coulter and Tim DiPasqua. Tim provides the arrangement and is on piano; besides this track and “Change in Me,” Tex Arnold is on piano doing a splendid job with the varied styles of music, and he contributed the melody for the bittersweet 2006 “Dublin in the Rain,” with a lovely vocal by Farah Alvin.
Though much of the material on the album tends to be on the serious side, there is also a sense of perspective that informs and tempers it. Hope hovers, as comforting as the warm and toasty sound of Carol’s voice, which retains a touch of the tang and twang of her Texas roots.
Fellow Texan, Sally Mayes, checks in with a get-over-it reality check that is the comical, smartly delivered “It’s Only a Broken Heart,” another of the recently minted numbers.
Two selections are performed by singers who composed melodies for Hall lyrics. Lesley Gore’s lead vocals for “Hungry for You” are full of naked, raw emotion to match the bleakness of the words (like its repeated line, “I swear I’m gonna die”). The farewell to a departed loved one, “I’ll Imagine You a Song,” is voiced by Steven Lutvak who, deja vu, also did the number on his own album.
Instrumentation varies from track to track, including occasional but prominent appearances of harmonica, mandolin, flute and banjo. The booklet does not tell us the stories behind the songs, but we get all the lyrics for these heartfelt, life-affirming, grown-up reflections and photos of the singers who also include Laurel Massé, Amanda McBroom, Carol Woods (with the chorus known as the Broadway Inspirational Voices) and Rick Jensen and Wendy Lane Bailey on some harmonies.
It all adds up to a rich sampling of music, serving as a deserving tribute to Carol Hall whose hallmark on HALLWAYS seems to be real, unabashed sentiment that rings true and sings true here.”
— Gregg Shapiro, Bay Area Reporter
“Songwriter Carol Hall may have only one hit musical to her credit, but what a hit it was! The popular Best Little Whorehouse in Texas continues to be revived on a regular basis. On Hallways: The Songs of Carol Hall (LML Music), Hall is joined by a host of cabaret performers including out artists Scott Coulter, Rick Jensen, Tom Andersen, Tim DiPasqua, and Steven Lutvak, as well as the legendary Lesley Gore, and others, who provide new perspectives on songs such as “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Imagine You a Song.”
— John Hoglund, Cabaret Scenes
“With her wonderful new compilation album, Hallways, the Songs of Carol Hall, released by LML Music, Hall proves just that as her songs, some written with lofty collaborators, and seemingly her life, come alive. All are reflected with equanimity as sung by a thrilling array of singers and musicians including: Tom Andersen, Hubert “Tex” Arnold, Susannah Blinkoff, Scott Coulter, Tim Di Pasqua, Lesley Gore, Bobby Gosh, Rick Jensen, Steven Lutvak, Laurel Massé, Sally Mayes, Amanda McBroom, Johnny Rodgers, Carol Woods and the Broadway Inspirational Voices as well as Hall herself.
The album is a scrapbook of new and old songs that reflect the wonders of life. It takes a certain courage to swim against the tide in today’s wacky music industry and call on bits and pieces from one’s own life as subject for your material. And while it is very subtle to the listener of her compositions, Hallways ultimately reflects personalized insights into what this talented lady is about. The eclectic album is a poignant potpourri of ditties that tickle the funny bone and some trenchant ballads that tug at the heartstrings.
While all cuts are standouts, particular highlights include Tom Andersen, Scott Coulter and Tim Di Pasqua singing a timely “War On Christmas Day.” The same can be said about “Do You Know What I Mean?” sung with passion by Carol Woods and the Broadway Inspirational Voices. “Dublin In the Rain” as sung by Farah Alvin is a moving ballad that is bound to find a life in cabaret. A cut called “Hungry For You,” sung by Lesley Gore, is a memorable ode to loneliness that cuts deep. Every song has Hall’s stamp of intelligence, humor and her trademark passion for life’s journeys.
Albeit romantic kitsch or overflowing with passion, the songs of Hall are always real. This is especially true of the album’s most telling cut, “Circle of Friends,” now a trademark for her which is perhaps her most revealing expose of her own heart.”
— Raphael Rothstein, Fifteenminutesmagazine.com
“Hallways: The Songs of Carol Hall” is a delight. I promise you will enjoy Carol Hall’s songs. Barbra Streisand did, and was the first one to record a Carol Hall song. So many others performed her songs, including Tony Bennett, Julie Wilson, Chita Rivera, Olivia Newton-John, Miriam Makeba and Kermit the frog. Among the 14 selections on this latest CD is Hard Candy Christmas, which Dolly Parton had previously recorded, winning an ASCAP Most Performed Country Song Award.”
— Allen Lacy, Amazon.com
“Longtime admirers of Carol Hall’s music and lyrics (I am one of the most longtime of these) will welcome Halllways. Too many years have passed since If I Be Your Lady and her other early album, but she has been busy as both songwriter (Best Little Whorehouse) and cabaret songwriter/singer, as well as theatrical appearances
in I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road. The new album contains not only classics like Nana (sung by Hall and better than ever) and Hard Candy
Christmas (sung by her daughter), but also recent treasures like My Circle of Friends.
She was trained in classical music as a pianist when growing up in Texas, and her music in both grounded in tradition and innovative in its exploration of unexpected possibilities. Her lyrics speak from the heart, with a deceiving simplicity underpinned by a highly individual sensitivity. Her musical style is extremely versatile — she speaks fluent rock, pop, folk, Texas country & western, and Gospel. One wants, however, more…new songs, yes, but also some of the best of the old ones. Where is Uncle Malcolm, Hello My Old Friend, and, especially, where is Sandy, the one about the young man whose father told him that “poems and music, they do not make the man?” And I wish she would record her wicked tribute to New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel.
But the Hallways album has one other delight, Bobby Gosh’s rendition of Jenny Rebecca, a song that has many young namesakes. I speak from experience. I’m hitting the road tomorrow to a party for my third granddaughter of four, Jennifer Rebecca Lacy, who just graduated from junior high school.”
— Ann Dunlap, Albuquerque, NM
“What a pleasure this album is — blues, humor, reality and the good folks’ hope in “Hard Candy Christmas,” the touching moments of life — all this and great tunes. We loved it!”
The first person ever to record one of Carol Hall’s songs was the young Barbra Streisand. Subsequently, her songs were performed by such extraordinary singers as Tony Bennett, Barbara Cook, Margaret Whiting, Julie Wilson, Chita Rivera, Michael Feinstein, Mabel Mercer,…