Originally published on CastAlbums.org.
If you ever wondered what Sweeney Todd might have sounded like in the hands of Lionel Bart, you should give Jack The Ripper a spin. The long-lost cast recording — recorded in 1975, but unreleased for 40 years — has finally been given its due by Stage Door Records, and if it’s not exactly an undiscovered gem, it certainly has much to recommend it. Composer Ron Pember names Bart as a primary influence in the liner notes of this release, but that’s evident from the first note of the jaunty opening number, “Saturday Night.” Pember and his co-lyricist/co-bookwriter Denis De Marne chose the music hall as a setting for exploring the infamous murderer, and the festive nature of the setting trumps the dark nature of the story, making for a tuneful if perplexing collection of songs. The lack of a plot summary in the liner notes doesn’t help. Continue reading