When the Broadway cast recording of Hair
was re-released on compact disc back in 1988, the producers took advantage of the longer playing time and added as much bonus material as they had from the original recordings of 1968, presenting a better picture of the entire show. The 1988 version needed a remastering 15 years later, but the producers wanted to add something more and came up with this "Broadway Deluxe Collector's Edition
," adding both the original off-Broadway cast recording (which had been out of print since the '60s and never available on compact disc) and excerpts from a 2003 interview with Galt MacDermot
, who composed the music. Hair
was a brilliant, groundbreaking work, but it was also an ever-evolving piece as actors came and left, lyrics were changed, and songs were resequenced and reassigned to different characters. The off-Broadway recording offers a look at where the musical started, and some of the changes that occurred. Some of the more noticeable differences are the order in which the songs themselves appear, and the disarming way the off-Broadway version of Claude sings "Manchester, England" with an English accent! The band also went from just a four-piece off-Broadway to a nine-piece for the Broadway cast (featuring the great Idris Muhammad
on drums), and the arrangements change accordingly. The liner notes include a wonderful description of the Broadway staging from Lorrie Davis
, one of the cast members. All in all, this is a fabulous presentation of one of the finest Broadway musicals ever, and the remastered sound is fantastic. Those who are still enjoying the original cast recording of Hair
owe it to themselves to check out this truly deluxe edition.