Sunday, March 31, 2013


This month's Album Of The Month is Jonathan Summers exquisitely crafted 

Above is Jaycub Howard's charming video created for the album's Please Say Ah track.

Below is my original review of the album, it explains exactly why this recording deserves to be AOTM.

Mea Culpa. I owe Judy Garland, and Jonathan Summers, an apology, a big one.

When I first heard that Summers was producing a double CD set of Garland's Abbey Road recordings I thought it was a great and long overdue idea, and my first question was "Will it have any outtakes?"
Hearing the answer that there would be over a dozen never before heard tracks included in the set was enough to send this Garland afficianado over the moon. I was satisfied and didn’t give much additional thought to the other (already released) tracks, which in my mind had already been regulated to being “filler” material.

Well, as it turns out I was being shortsighted because now that I have heard this wondrous set in it’s entirety I find myself just as thrilled by the previously released material as I am by the tracks that are making their public debut. The remixed, refreshed, and remarkable sound on these discs is nothing short of miraculous.

Ian Jones, who is responsible for the editing and remastering of the tracks, has managed to make Judy sound vibrant, current, and present. From the opening track of Roger Eden’s It’s So Lovely To Be Back Again In London to the final track of the recently discovered Please Say “Ah” the clarity of the sound and the immediacy of Garland’s performances make this very special album sound like it was recorded yesterday using state of the art equipment.

Additional kudos go to Peter Mew for his brilliant remixing of the I Could Go On Singing and Maggie May sessions. Again, these recordings, and Judy’s performances on them, have never sounded better.

Almost all of the major Garland standards are included on the two discs, the obligatory Over The Rainbow, The Man That Got Away, Rockabye Your Baby, Stormy Weather, Swanee, By Myself, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, and lesser known material like There’s Only One Union and It’s Yourself. Also included are a few false starts and studio chatter that give insight to Garland the musician who is seeking perfection, as well as some general silliness such as when Judy outs one of her pot smoking musicians “I make tea, Dougie smokes it!”

The outtake material is fascinating in that you can hear how Garland approached songs differently everytime she sang them, sometimes even rewriting the arrangements on the spot! You will hear different tempos, different note choices, and different intonation on various takes of the same song. For example, the four songs from Lionel Bart’s Maggie May change drastically from take to take. Some versions have different endings, some have sections that are slow in one take and fast in another, but the common denominator is they are all great fun to listen to.

Unlike her daughter, Liza Minnelli, who admits that she needs to find a character to play while singing a song, Judy Garland sings straight from the heart and without artifice. The listener can hear Judy's own unique joys and sorrows in each and every song. Sometimes the power and the glory of the Garland voice is overwhelming, sometimes her quiet vulnerability is heartbreaking. But whether she is belting or crooning, in great voice or weak voice, she always sounds sincere. And much like the great Billie Holiday, Judy makes lesser material better and better material great. And again, like Holiday, she uses the occasional vocal deficiency to make her performances that much more compelling.

Probably the most anticipated track on the album, Please Say “Ah” is a bit of fun fluff that was written for Judy and Dirk Bogarde to sing in Garland’s last film, I Could Go On Singing. Garland sings it here with the film’s musical supervisor, Saul Chaplin, and despite the charming nature of the song it is easy to see why it wasn’t used for the final film, which was more of a drama with concert sequences as opposed to a light, legitimate musical (which this song who have been perfect for).

First Hand Records deserves praise not just for taking the chance on releasing this material, but for doing it with such aplomb. The CD’s are packaged exquistiely and obvious care was taken every step of the way in regards to design and execution. Even the paper the photos and liner notes is printed on is of a better quality than one usually sees in mass produced compact discs.

First Hand not only shows their respect for Judy, but for the consumer as well. Thank you.

The brilliant liner notes by the set’s producer, Jonathan Summers, offers not only an overview of Judy’s time in, and relationship with, London, but helpful and informative notes are included for each and every track. And if that isn’t enough, the Judy Garland fan community’s favorite son, Emmy award wiinning author and producer, John Fricke, wraps things up with an essay that gives us even more insight into the recordings, including some “you are there” type commentary on the actual events as well as descriptions of Garland's demeanor and condition at the recording sessions.
And in his usual succint way Fricke ends on an up and perfect note “ You can’t get better than that’ And that’s the story of Judy Garland in seven words. You can’t get better than that”

And that is the story of Judy Garland The London Studio Recordings 1957-1964, you can’t get better than this.

Also available from First Hand Records:

Judy Garland The London Studio Recordings 1957-1964 is available for purchase at:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

NEW FILES POSTED TO THE YAHOO GROUP for the week of march 24, 2013

Homepage by Robin D'Amato

Here is a rundown of the new audio files posted to the Yahoo version of The Judy Garland Experience. To access the files click HERE.

This week our AJM is dedicated with care, concern, and respect to the talented and inspirational Lorna Luft. May she have a speedy and complication free recovery!

Sid Luft appears on the At Large program, 1974.

Judy Garland, Mario Lanza, Gracie Fields, Max Bygraves and a host of others in a BBC broadcast of a Royal Command Performance at the Palladium, November 18, 1957.

Judy Garland's set from the November, 1968 Harold Arlen tribute at Lincoln Center. These files come directly from the original reel to reel mini tapes used to record the performance.

Judy gets the low down on Zina Bethune

Judy's last ever performance of this Gershwin classic?

Good news Of 1938. originally broadcast November 14, 1938. Starring Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and more stars than there are in the heavens.

Lorna Luft, excerpts from the "morning" concert. Lorna is captured at a rare A.M. concert in West Palm Beach, March 20, 2013.

Liza Minnelli visits Jack Paar in 1972. Jack gets Liza to open up about Judy and prompts her into singing a stunning version of Shine On Harvest Moon, accompanied by a solo piano. And just like her mother did on the same program, Liza name drops Jeannette Spanier. Also heard are Peggy Cass and Desi Arnaz Jr.


Judy Garland performed in concert at New York's Fort Hancock in 1943.
Here she is seen with the fort's General Phil Gage. 
Not sure who the fella in white is, but bless his heart because he sure does seem happy to be there.


Monday, March 18, 2013

NEW FILES POSTED TO THE YAHOO GROUP for the week of march 17, 2013

Homepage by Allen Morris

Here is the rundown of the new audio files posted to the Yahoo version of
The Judy Garland Experience.
To access the files click HERE
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Joe Luft appears on the At Large program, 1974.
Thanks to this sound upgraded recording, we can now actually HEAR Judy bring down the house with Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart and out croon Sinatra on Embraceable You when she perfumed on Sinatra's Vimm's Vitamins sponsored radio program. Also heard are Jerry Lester Joe Pasternak, Walter Pidgeon, and George Sidney. Originally broadcast on May 24, 1944.
Somebody recently donated an upgraded copy of the bootleg recording of Judy's 1967 Palace opening night to TJGE library and it struck me that the bootleg reveals a richness and body to Judy's singing voice that is missing from the professional recording of the concert. Here are two versions of I Feel A Song Coming On, both recorded at the same time and in the same venue, but dang if they don't have completely different feels.
Annie Ross and Jon Hendricks casually reunite.
Mark Murphy is looking behind him for his future.
Judy Garland's first appearance on legendary Chicago newsman Irv Kupcinet's television program, Kup's Show.
Per a request, Judy Garland live at Chicago's Arie Crown Theater. May, 1965.
Judy sings and makes a plea for social service programs that benefit the community. Today she would probably be accused of trying to promote socialism and entitlements....I love how Judy is introduced as "Academy Award winner..."
Judy Garland is the special guest star on NBC's Chase & Sanborn Hour, hosted by Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Also featuring Abbot And Costello, and Ray Noble. Originally broadcast on May 3, 1942.
Chet Baker, the 1965 "big band" vocalist sides.
Vintage radio commercials for A Star Is Born and Gay Puree. The Gay Puree commercial hasn't been heard in 50 years!
Liza Minnelli in a Vincente Minnelli film. Liza sings highlights from the Nina/A Matter Of Time soundtrack.

Friday, March 15, 2013

JOE LUFT: I Remember Mama 1974 Interview

First in a series of five interviews utilizing outtakes from Mike Wallace's 60 Minutes profile of Judy Garland. Future weeks will feature interviews with Sid and Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, and Artie Shaw.

JUDY GARLAND: Unpublished Photos. April, 1962

Three previously unpublished photos of Judy Garland performing at the Manhattan Center in 1962.



The Judy Garland Experience

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