A surprisingly good, diverse collecton of vintage recordings
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Judy Garland volume of the American Legends series is almost shockingly good, boasting a collection of signature classics alongside a plethora of little-known musical gems. The album opens with Judy's rousing performance of On the Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe from the film The Harvey Girls. This is followed by a live version of Judy's second signature song The Man That Got Away (from A Star Is Born). I May Be Wrong, performed with Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra, is a song you won't find on many Judy Garland albums, but it is a catchy, upbeat track that is sure to wow any fan. A young Judy asks Johnny Mercer which hot song of the moment they should sing for the troops in the radio audience, endorses Mercer's suggestion of Taking a Chance on Love, and then quickly overshadows him with her incredible voice. The album features a very good cut of Get Happy, Judy's wildly famous (and often imitated) song from the film Summer Stock. A little laughter introduces the start of the live recording of I Can't Give You Anything But Love, but once Judy begins singing, you are instantly entranced at her performance of this emotional tour de force. A live version of The Trolley Song from the film Meet Me in St. Louis is welcome on any Judy Garland album. One of the more interesting tracks here, though, is I Loved Him, which is a relatively obscure Cole Porter tune that Judy admittedly adores. Then you get an interesting duet with Bing Crosby rather than Gene Kelly of the song For Me and My Gal; this is obviously part of a radio broadcast because, on the next track, Bing refuses to let Judy leave before she sings "you know what" (Over the Rainbow). That's Entertainment ends this remarkably enjoyable and rather rare-track-blessed collection on quite an uplifting, energetic note. The real jewel of this album, though, is Without a Memory. This is a sweet and tender ballad that feels as if it were written specifically for Judy Garland and her magical voice. In historical terms, it was the first single she released under the Columbia label (with billing as "Columbia's new sweetheart"). Recorded in 1953, this achingly beautiful song written by Bob Hilliard and Milton Delugg stands as one of Judy's most overlooked classics, and the original release's B side track, Send My Baby Back To Me, is also included here for our enjoyment. Boasting a cover photo of the Judy Garland - The Wizard of Oz stamp issued on March 23, 1990, this is just a surprisingly wonderful and substantial collection of Judy Garland performances taken from radio, stage, and studio. I heartily recommend this easily-overlooked collection even to those who already have a shelf full of Judy Garland CDs at home."