The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).
1776, Original Broadway Cast Recording
- Original cast recording of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, released in 1969.
- I’m a big lover of musical theater, and 1776 was one of my earliest experiences of it. Well…actually…I saw the film adaptation of 1776 in 1972. My elementary school did a field trip to watch the show at a movie house in Washington D.C. I was in the sixth grade. I remember how scandalized the Catholic sisters were when Ben Franklin used the word “bastard” in the film when referring to his son William (Governor of New Jersey and loyal to the British Crown – truth is, he was a bastard – his mother was a mistress of Ben Franklin). I promised myself that if I had the opportunity to see the theater performance, I would – and that finally happened in 2007.
- I loved the show, and I bought the original cast recording sometime in the mid-70s. It fictionally depicts the Continental Congress from May 8 to July 4, 1776, as they dreamed and debated the idea of becoming the United States of America. The songs are so clever and catchy.
- Many of the songs show a human side to what the principals were dealing with at the time (though not necessarily accurate historically). Sit Down, John captures how many of John Adams’ compatriots distained Adams’ incessant demands for independence. Yours, Yours, Yours is a duet between John and Abigail Adams about the difficulties of being separated as Abigail was at home in Boston tending to the family while John was in Philadelphia. Cool, Cool, Considerate Men highlights the conservative delegates from the South that did not support all of the liberal policies of the North. Momma Look Sharp is a poignant song about mothers that go to the battlefields to look for their fallen sons fighting the war. Molasses To Rum is a dramatic highlight of the show, when the Southern delegates walk out of the Congress over the issue of slavery.
- The Broadway show won three Tony awards, including Best Musical. I listened to the record dozens of times, and can still sing the lyrics to the whole album. Here’s a clip from the film – the opening number of the show, Sit Down, John. In the song, Congress doesn’t debate the idea of independence, despite pleas from Adams. Rather, they debate whether or not they should open up the windows – one side says yes because it’s so hot, while the other says no because it would let in too many flies. Hilarious, and a great opener to a great show!