I Can't Give You Anything But Love 1938-1961 ORIGINAL RECORDINGS REMASTERED
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Judy Garland (1922-1969) sang about love throughout her life, but up to now no career-spanning CD collection has ever brought her greatest love songs together. Here the for the first time is Garland's take on the vicissitudes of love sought, love lost, love remembered. Based on studio sessions for MGM, Decca Records, Columbia Records and Capital Records, radio dates and live recordings all made between 1938 and 1962, the anthology, featuring songs by many of the great songwriters of the Great American Songbook, captures Garland's voice in youth, as a young lady and as a mature artist. Both exuberant and melancholic at the same time, Garland's voice could take you from the ecstatic highs of love first encountered to the mournful lows of separation and above all, all the in-betweens of longing that were her specialty. The set, which includes a live "Why Was I Born?" from 1946 that is new to CD, has been compiled by the award-winning Garland historian Lawrence Schulman, who has been responsible for numerous CD sets devoted to Garland over the past 25 years, and has also written about her extensively for the ARSC Journal and other publications. Here is a collection no fan or music lover can do without. Judy Garland - I Can't Give You Anything But Love is a contemporary contemplation on the subject of love by one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, and is not to be missed.
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This disc is another hodgepodge/collection of cuts spanning the years. Pretty much every one is a revelation. I'm very grateful to have it in my collection.
So why only 4 stars instead of 5? Because the liner notes are a total downer. It's a re-hash of the "tragic Judy" legend and hits on every single negative aspect of her life and career. This is supposed to be a collection with LOVE as it's focus, comprised of songs to support that premise. So why are the liner notes completely devoid of any mention of Judy's many loves? Her children. Her country. Her co-workers. Her AUDIENCES. I know Judy had problems. There are a katrillion books out there if I want to read about them. When I pick up a collection of love songs by the most amazing vocalist of all time I would like to be able to enjoy it without having to heave a sigh of regret and wishing her life could have been easier. Forgive me, but I'm just convinced that this is NOT how she would wish to be remembered.
Also, we are not given any information on the sources for these tracks and no insight into the remastering process.
But all in all this is a great collection of classic songs by the most wonderful singer in the history of reality. And again, I'm very glad to have it in my collection.
The CD includes some rare recordings including “Why Was I Born” with a recorded accompaniment originally meant for Lena Horne. During an intermission of a 1946 concert in memory of Jerome Kern, Judy learned the song and performed it a short while later after discovering that Lena could not make it. The orchestra was the pre-recorded finale from the soundtrack of Till the Clouds Roll By; there was no way it could be omitted from the medley of Kern songs. Judy saved the day (with help from her musical mentor, Roger Edens) with excellent results. “On the Bumpy Road to Love” is surprisingly fresh sounding. Of course, the Decca, Columbia, and Capitol recordings all sound terrific. I especially like the inclusion of “This Heart of Mine,” “Love,” her solo version of “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “I’ve Confessed to the Breeze,” and “Sweet Danger.” All of the songs find the singer at the top of her form regardless of her age at the time they were recorded. Certainly, no one could express sheer happiness or remorseful longing in her voice as well as Judy. Each selection sparkles with her unique voice and direct approach to her songs. Few singers can be instantly recognized by their voice, as can Judy. She is still on the top of that list.
The liner notes, intelligently written, are, as suggested by another reviewer, a bit of a downer, but I do not have to read them again. If there is nothing new to add to Judy’s bio the producer might consider more about the source of the material, which might interest newcomers to Garland as well as die-hard fans.
In any case, as “the play is the thing,” I Can’t Give You Anything But Love can be heard on your playback systems providing the final word on this collection. “Do It Again.”