The essence of SIMPLY STREISAND is perfectly captured in its title. It is quite simply Streisand singing timeless ballads composed by the likes of Rodgers and Hart and Jerome Kern, songs written in a style she wears as comfortably as one would a favorite cashmere sweater. The orchestral accompaniments, arranged by Ray Ellis and David Shire, are straightforward but elegant. There are no gimmicks here, and the constant toil of self-reinvention is yet to come.
The sweet earnestness of "I'll Know" and the earthy beauty of "All The Things You Are," with its gentle Latin rhythms, show no flashiness or self-conscious showmanship, merely a singer at the top of her form becoming one with her music. The album's finest moment may be the opening track, "My Funny Valentine." Starting with just Streisand, in her purest flute-like tone, with strings quietly providing a minimal counter-melody, the song steadily grows to a rousing fanfare-like climax. When she makes that longing melodic leap during the line "yet you're my favorite work of art," one cannot help but feel she is singing to the song itself. SIMPLY STREISAND is truly Streisand at her simple best.