Sunday, February 3, 2013


Kay Thompson takes the lead and Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli make like the Williams Brothers in this high energy and exciting rehearsal performance of (It's Gonna Be A) Great Day.


Sam Irvin said...

Unless I am mistaken, Judy is not actually on this particularly recording of "Great Day." I believe this recording is a duet from June 1972 of Kay and Liza singing "Great Day" (Billy Rose-Edward Eliscu-Vincent Youmans) [from the 1929 Broadway show of the same name], accompanied by Thompson on piano. The performance was informally recorded in London at St. Marylebone Parish Church where, three years earlier, Judy Garland and Mickey Deans had been married. The song holds sentimental meaning to Kay and Liza because it was a favorite of Judy’s. (Later, Kay’s arrangement was transcribed off this 1972 recording and performed at the conclusion of Minnelli’s 2002 wedding to David Gest.)

When Judy passed away in 1969, Kay helped make the funeral arrangements. She also did what she could to comfort Liza, Lorna and Joey.

“The day of the funeral was a circus,” Lorna Luft recalled. “Kay was the voice of reason. She was the one at the funeral who stood behind us, with her hands around us. And after the funeral, at Liza’s place, when all the news reports were on TV and someone said, ‘Oh we have to listen to this,’ Kay said, ‘No we don’t,’ and turned it off.”

Liza recalled, “After about ten minutes of sitting around feeling sad, Kay suddenly said, ‘All right, everyone to the piano.’ We went to the piano and we sang ‘Great Day’ with her. And she said, ‘Sing! Come on!’ And we all sang our brains out. The music grounded us. When the kids left, I looked at her and I just said, ‘Thank you.’ And she said, ‘My darling, that’s what I’m here for.’”

Buzz Stephens said...

Normally I would respect your opinion/assessment on something like this, but this is not a live recording (I edited out some material that preceded it that wouldn't have been part of any performance), there are three distinct voices, and the Garland voice comes through clear as day in certain sections, phrases, and words. There is no question whatsoever in my mind that this is a recording of Thompson, Minnelli...and Garland.
This is quite similar to the arrangement Judy used on her television show and I would place the time of the recording around that period. And then there's the youthful quality of Minnelli's voice....I'd like to hear the other recording. I wonder if it is the same as this and possibly mislabeled. Or better yet, a different recording altogether?!?!

Buzz Stephens said...

Hi Sam, I relayed your (educated) opinion to the members of the Yahoo version of TJGE and asked them to listen to the recording a give an opinion.
I did hear from someone privately on this matter who suggests checking out the Noc/Dec 1961 issue of Show Business magazine because in it's article on Garland it mentions that Judy, Kay, and Liza had been spending a lot of time together at Kay's studio and Judy's apartment (and making lots of music together).
Also, There is a batch of recordings of Kay giving Liza singing lessons/coaching during this period and there is a sameness to those recordings and the Great day recording (same audio quality, apparently same distance between mic and piano etc).

Buzz Stephens said...

I forgot to mention that the salient point in the Show Business article are that there are a few mentions of Great Day. Coincidence?



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