During my senior year in high school, I appeared in a show called Pippin. While I still believe that I was gypped out of a good role (stinking high school politics), Pippin has remained in a special place in my heart. The music really touches me, especially at this point in my life.
The soundtrack begins with Ben Vereen’s seductive voice crooning Magic To Do in a very Smokey Robinson fashion. He is joined by the rest of the cast as they sing in several different harmonies. This opening number is a lot like Comedy Tonight from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and There’s No Business Like Show Business from Annie Get Your Gun, as all songs talk about the impending show.
The second song, Corner of the Sky, is the song I relate to most. John Rubinstein is Pippin in this cast recording, and sweetly sings this ballad about trying to find a place where his “spirit can run free.” Like me, he’s looking for his corner of the sky (so to speak), which is what the entire show is about. Just look at these words:
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free.
Got to find my corner of the sky.
Glory, another wonderful number sung by the amazing Ben Vereen, drips with sarcasm and evil. His voice is so sinister, it’s terrific! The song is all about how you achieve glory through war. There’s a strange little instrumental near the end of it. The instruments are playing such different beats and the voices are in such discord that it nearly sounds that the song itself is in a war.
Simple Joys is an incredibly fast-paced song, again by Ben Vereen. The words go by so quickly, Vereen should be doing a Micro Machines commercial. The drums and guitar work together beautifully, giving the listener Pippin’s feeling of panic.
The final butt-kickin’ song on the album worth a strong mention is On The Right Track, which also happens to be my favorite song in the entire show. The Leading Player (Vereen) sings to Pippin (Rubinstein), trying to calm him down and assure his path in life. Rubinstein and Vereen end up doing a duet that is just fabulous at the end of the song.
I don’t like I Guess I’ll Miss The Man, sung by Catherine (Jill Clayburgh ). It is weepy, whiny, boring and completey out of place. Leland Palmer’s Spread a Little Sunshine is a funny song if you know the play, but doesn’t do much when taken out of context. The same goes for the final number, Think About the Sun. The final song is wonderful, but the average listener who didn’t see the show may not quite understand the full meaning.
Pippin is an absolutely wonderful soundtrack. As I said earlier, I’ve been listening to it for a bit given my present circumstances. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you like Motown and/or show tunes.