Not quite Judy at Carnegie Hall--but it's still all right by
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 03/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Judy Garland's closing night performance at The Cocoanut Grove is finally out on CD! This CD gives us all the songs from that evening; and this is an improvement over the record album release of this concert because this CD has the three extra songs Judy sang that night that never made it to the record album release. Judy gives a fine performance; and her voice strengthens even more during the concert. Freddy Martin's musical interpretations work well, too; but I still prefer the way Mort Lindsey did it when he worked with Judy in the years to come after this concert. The quality of the sound is very good; and the cover artwork recreates the front cover of the record album jacket.
After Freddy Martin and His Orchestra go through the beautiful "Garland Overture" consisting of "The Trolley Song;" "Over The Rainbow" and "The Man That Got Away;" Judy takes to the stage much to the delight of her fans there that evening. Judy starts off with "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You);" she handles this with panache and great sensitivity. The musical arrangement makes good use of the strings and the brass.
"Day In-Day Out" features Judy's vocals front and center; she delivers this with a somewhat Latin musical arrangement to enhance the natural beauty of this number. Listen also for "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart;" Judy sings this with the faster tempo she often used in her "concert years" after she left MGM. Judy's voice begins to strengthen roughly about this time during the concert; the earlier songs seem to have her sounding very slightly hoarse--or perhaps I should say that her voice was somewhat "thinner" at the beginning of this concert.
"Purple People Eater" shows Judy's ability to rock and roll as well as her personal enjoyment of this genre of music; and there's also an incredible medley of "You Made Me Love You;" "For Me And My Gal" and "The Trolley Song." Judy performs this medley flawlessly like the pro she always was--and remains!
"Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody" gets the royal treatment from Judy as she sings this straight from her heart. Judy sings this beyond perfection and the audience certainly seems to enjoy it! Of course, the audience goes wild when Judy breaks into "Over The Rainbow;" the musical accompaniment is very nicely done and Judy sings this especially well.
Judy delivers a positively electric interpretation of "After You've Gone" while Freddy Martin's orchestra uses the brass brilliantly. The concert ends with "Swanee;" this number lacks nothing--it's THAT good. The audience loves it--Judy certainly enjoyed a very good rapport with her audience that evening!
The liner notes include a brief essay by Scott Schechter; and there's an excellent picture of the marquee outside The Cocoanut Grove on the reverse of the CD artwork.
Sure, Judy wasn't quite up to the level she was at for her historic Carnegie Hall performance three years after this concert; but she still turns in a very high quality performance on this occasion. Diehard Garland fans like me will want this album for their collections; even casual fans of classic pop vocals will definitely enjoy this fine album.
JUDY IS MAGIC!!!
Arthur Rugg | Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | 03/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Considering the fact that Judy was is poor health and severely overweight throughout most of the mid to late 1950's, this nightclub performance is top notch. Recorded on her closing night of a 2 week engagement, Judy had some voice problems during her first number "When You're Smiling". But she was able to shake them off and continued to give a powerful and remarkable performance, with a succession of great songs and amusing chatter between numbers. Audience reaction is tremendous and exciting to hear. It's not fair to compare this recording to Carnegie Hall. Two different settings, sound, larger audience, a healthier Judy etc. This CD still captures the excitement of the Grove show and Freddie Martin's dance band really swings it. A surprise treat was an announcement at the end of the show informing the audience that Capitol Records had just recorded the show for an album! Scott's liner notes are excellent also. A terrific all around package that I was more impressed with as a CD than album. Highly recommended!!"
Garland "Live!!" There's nothing better than that!
Jude G. Barnes | WNY | 11/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even as ill as she was at the time this album was recorded, she was still incredible! Her version of "When The Sun Comes Out" cannot be touched! A damn good buy! And it took long enough for this to be put out on CD! Can't imagine what took so long!"