Why Was I Born [alternate take; previously unreleased]
Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (With A Dixie Melody)
Over The Rainbow [live]
THE ESSENTIAL JUDY GARLAND features 20 of Judy's classic tracks from her critically acclaimed Capitol Records recording era, 1955-1965, including an unreleased studio version of "It Never Was You" and an unreleased alterna... more »te take of "Why Was I Born." Judy Garland has been named the 12th honoree in the US Postal Service's 2006 Commemorative Stamp series entitled "Legends of Hollywood," which will debut the week of June 5, 2006.« less
THE ESSENTIAL JUDY GARLAND features 20 of Judy's classic tracks from her critically acclaimed Capitol Records recording era, 1955-1965, including an unreleased studio version of "It Never Was You" and an unreleased alternate take of "Why Was I Born." Judy Garland has been named the 12th honoree in the US Postal Service's 2006 Commemorative Stamp series entitled "Legends of Hollywood," which will debut the week of June 5, 2006.
Paul A. Tassone | Glenwood, NSW , Australia | 08/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a time when a compilation album was titled "Greatest Hits" or "The Best Of..." Now it seems that they are all being entitled "Essential." In Judy Garland's case, practically everything she did career-wise could be deemed essential. She was dubbed in her lifetime as "the world's greatest entertainer" and the legacy she left of film, television, radio and recorded performances certainly bears out the claim.
So, to the album at hand...
Here is a 20 track collection of songs that Judy recorded during her decade long tenure with Capitol records that began in 1955. It presents, to my mind, not the essential performances of her career but a few of her classics teamed with a collection of lesser know numbers. It seems as though the producers of this set were looking for material that had not been featured on too many previous compilations of the legend's work. Nevertheless, Judy Garland is a riveting performer regardless of what she performs as is the case with this set.
All the songs presented here are worth hearing from the classics ("Over The Rainbow", "The Man That Got Away" and "Rock-a-bye Your Baby") through to genuine rarities ("The Faraway Part Of Town") and less well remembered album tracks ("I Get The Blues When It Rains" and "I Happen To Like New York"). It gives an interesting overview of Judy's output for Capitol Records.
Of greatest interest here are four tracks, two of which are listed as previously unreleased, one that should be listed as such but isn't and another that is a partial alternate take. These are as follows:
"It Never Was You" was pre-recorded by Judy for the film "I Could Go On Singing" in 1962. However, it was not used when the decision was made that Judy would perform the song live for the film. The unreleased studio version is included here, released for the first time. Although Judy's vocal treatment doesn't really differ from her earlier 1960 studio version included on the album "Judy! That's Entertainment!" or the film version mentioned above, this newly released version is still a beautifully realised performance mainly of interest for the full orchestral treatment it receives from Mort Lindsay. Beginning with solo guitar underscoring Judy's vocal, the arrangement builds to full orchestra with solo piano prominently featured. It's a lovely performance, one that deserves the release it finally receives here.
"Why Was I Born" is an alternate take from the 1960 recording sessions that Judy undertook in London. Again, the vocal treatment does not differ significantly from the officially released version until the ending where Judy chooses a dramatic, full voiced finale as opposed to the quietly reflective ending on the previously released version. Again, it's a welcome inclusion.
Not specified as a previously unreleased alternate take is "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe", also from the London sessions. The give away here is that this new version is about 10 seconds shorter than the officially released version though again this version is basically given the same treatment by Judy.
Finally, the opening lines of "By Myself", also from "I Could Go On Singing" differ from the film soundtrack version which must have been overdubbed once the film was in production.
In all, this is a fine set that highlights the genius of Judy Garland. Perhaps it does not present the essential songs from her substantial repertoire but it still provides conclusive proof if such is at all needed of why Judy Garland will always be beloved and revered as singer and entertainer. "
Bruce K. Hanson | Petersburg, VA | 08/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I fear that I may be condemned as being guilty of sacrilege when I write that this CD is not "The Essential Judy Garland". Capitol's other Garland projects come closer to the category of "essential" with their "25th Anniversary Retrospective", "Classic Judy Garland- 1955 -1965", and of course, the best of the lot: "Judy at Carnegie Hall". Rhino Records also has a great CD titled, "Judy Garland in Hollywood". All of the above are essential Garland releases. The question that should be asked by Capitol is: Who is buying Judy Garland CDs? Who bought the previous CD releases of "Judy at Carnegie Hall" before the more recent brilliant restoration? Are they not usually Garland fans? That said, this new CD does contain some lovely surprises including the opportunity to hear "The Far Away Part of Town" as part of a compliation set of Judy's rather than having to navigate through the soundtrack of "Pepe" to hear it. There are also unreleased versions of "It Never Was You" and "Why Was I Born". Otherwise, the other seventeen songs are available on other CDs which Garland affectionados most likely own as well. Here's the problem kids: if Collectors' Choice can take a chance and reissue the soundtrack of a film that bombed ("Pepe") why can't a major player like Capitol Records (or whatever the name of the company is) re-release Garland's "The Letter", "Live at the Grove", or her concert with Liza in London? Yes, it's always nice to have remastered versions of her material (although even then we seem to be getting remastered versions of material already remastered in the last few years). Ahhh, thank goodness for technology. It's nice to know that I will be able to own many remastered versions of the same material while other treasures will remin collecting dust in the vaults. Perhaps the oldies label, Collectibles, will add the unreleased albums of Judy Garland as they have done so beautifully with "That's Entertainment", "I Could Go On Singing", "Judy", and "Miss Show Business". Otherwise, it's a wait of about another ten years before the various labels in England, Holland, Germany and Italy will be able to market the material as it will have reached their public domain requirements. But wouldn't it be nice if Capitol Records would reach into their vaults for the best possible sound? Oh well, thank goodness that I never got rid of my records; I just upgraded my turntable."
One track makes the album
Christophe | London, UK | 06/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"True, Judy Garland recorded some of her best works for Capitol. The tracks in this compilation are all digitally remastered of course but you still might wonder "Why another compilation from Capitol when 'The Letter' for instance hasn't been released on CD yet?" I did.
Well, it is a compilation with a difference: not just a previously unreleased alternate take (Why Was I Born), which is always a treat. This time we have an amazingly rare treat indeed, a previously unreleased studio recording (It Never Was You). Material like this is rare so this track alone would justify the album and it is beautiful, very moving. It takes your breath away, gives you goose pimples, all that usually happens when she is at her best. It is a good reminder of how great she was - is.
So are the other tracks. Because they're well known, they do not have the attraction (to me at least) of the "new" recording.
An Homage to Miss Show Business
Starfire | Austin, TX | 07/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judy Garland may not have been professionally trained. Judy Garland may not have a pristine, beautifully crystal-clear voice. And Judy Garland may not have a four-octave range. But boy-oh-boy can Judy Garland sing! A song in her hands goes from notes and words into passion and power. Just listen to tracks like "Hello Bluebird" and "By Myself" (two of my favorites) and you'll understand why this amazingly talented woman was once (and still is) a world-wide sensation, with a talent and personality forever immortalized.
I've been trying to figure out why, despite her imperfections, Judy Garland strikes such a chord with audiences across the globe. Is it the energy and soul she pours into every note? Is it the seemingly perfect and natural phrasing and delivery? Or is it the sheer magnetism of her personality? I honestly don't know. But one thing is certain: listening to her music is unlike listening to anything else. I find it so difficult to just put Judy Garland on as "background music". With her songs, I find that, sooner or later, I'm completely absorbed into the song and cannot possibly concentrate on anything else. She sings every song as though it were her last.
This CD contains some wonderful and unexpected tunes. I've only been previously familiar with her movie standards from the MGM era (tunes like "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart", which is here as well from her Capitol Compilation), but I found that many songs on here grew on me after repeated hearings, helped along by the fact that Judy's singing them.
Highly recommended; this is fast becoming one of my favorite Judy CDs!"
Judy in her vocal prime
Pauline | London, UK | 11/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are tracks taken from various albums from the late 50's and early 60's when Judy was vocally in her prime. Judy is accompanied by some of the best conductors there have been and the arrangements of the songs are wonderful and suit Judy's voice. Judy didn't have a " style" of singing, she just sang Judy Garland. Lots of people think of Judy as a belter, but she could sing the ballards smoothly and quietly and there are some beauties here. Favourites? They all are but I love Hello Bluebird."