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Partners [Deluxe Edition] *
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  • Barbra Streisand's 2014 duets album, Partners, features the legendary vocalist performing songs associated with her storied career alongside a handful of handpicked guests. Produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Walter Afanasieff, Partners is a duets album in the modern tradition of such similarly inclined releases as Frank Sinatra's Duets, Tony Bennett's Duets: An American Classic, and Paul Anka's Duets. The album also follows up Streisand's 2013 live concert recording Back to Brooklyn. As with that album, Partners works as a retrospective, with Streisand revisiting songs she's recorded on past albums, such as her classic "Evergreen" from the soundtrack to her 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, performed here with Babyface. Also joining Streisand are such luminaries as Michael Bubl‚ for "It Had to Be You," Stevie Wonder for "People," Billy Joel for "New York State of Mind," Andrea Bocelli for "I Still Can See Your Face," and others. John Mayer even brings along his guitar for a bluesy, Count Basie-inspired rendition of "Come Rain or Come Shine." With Edmonds and Afanasieff on board, the tracks on Partners showcase a pleasing balance between Streisand's various stylistic wheelhouses from Broadway standards, to adult contemporary pop, to classical crossover, and even a hint of country (as her duet with Blake Shelton reveals). While certainly a novelty, the digitally created, fan-service duet with the late Elvis Presley (Streisand's original choice of co-star for A Star Is Born) is tastefully and lovingly crafted. Ultimately, Partners works as guided tour down Streisand's memory lane, and with her resonant voice still in supple shape, any excuse to hear her sing is a welcome invitation. ~ Matt Collar
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