I listened to the Mary Martin (1951) recording of Babes in Arms and I loved it. I have heard most of these songs at some point in passing before, generally in their more famous recordings (like the Ella Fitzgerald version of "My Funny Valentine"), which, just like the "pop" versions of Disney songs (a la, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle's "A Whole New World" or Demi Lovato's "Let it Go"), made the songs seem LESS accessible to me.
But, that's because I'm a musical theatre person, not a pop person.
So, there's several versions of this musical, and, as a pre-book style show, that's fine to me. I'm not looking to produce it, anyway (neither are most other people). I shouldn't have been so surprised at the song quality -- most of these songs were WILDLY popular in their day, and I obviously love Richard Rodgers (not to mention how Mary Martin is a legend), but they are SO. GOOD.
If you live in New York, please listen to "Way Out West." It made me smile like an idiot on the N train.
Babes in Arms
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Book by Rodgers and Hart