Judy Garland - Judy at Carnegie Hall
Jun 29, 2020
85
The History of the Albums - n° 175

Judy Garland is such an important American personality that it can be considered a cultural monument without any consternation. Like it or not, not only does she have an impressive acting career that began as a child, but she is a remarkably gifted singer who was one of the music industry's first pop icons. Without going into all the details of her rich career, we will focus today on one of the most emblematic live albums in history. To put it in context, Judy at Carnegie Hall was released in 1961, towards the end of her career, as she left us in 1969 at the age of 47, after a terrible descent into hell with debt, divorce, depression etc... She is still a success in all her splendour, like an international super star, but she also perfectly illustrates the example of a dramatic end of career and life. It is one of the first examples, which we will find later on of a lost and then fallen personality.

Although she deserves it, Judy Garland had the chance to become such a popular personality that she played a very important role in the music industry. Not in terms of innovation for sure, but above and beyond the standards she set, she was often in the right places, which allowed her to have a relatively solid and phenomenal discography. Judy was for example lucky enough to be one of the first singers (both as a woman and globally) to have recorded and released albums. There is for example the famous The Judy Garland Souvenir Album released in 1940 on Decca, or one of the first Girl Crazy soundtrack albums released in 1944, followed 10 years later by the classic The Star Is Born. One has to imagine that making an album (LP) in the 40's was already very rare, and mostly reserved for a small handful of privileged stars. Judy was always an exception. I was always fascinated by her career and her discography, which also exists by her work and her talent, not only by her status or by all the financial means that support her.

Yet Judy At Carnegie Hall is also known to be Judy's comeback at the top of her form. A few years ago, Judy's health and fitness was deteriorating due to her multiple addictions and other personal concerns. Fortunately, thanks to the support of her many fans, she has been able to recover in a masterful way, while staying in the best she can do: Cast Recording. What she has achieved with Judy At Carnegie Hall is simply incredible. Released at Capitol, which was probably the best place to produce albums of vocals of this style, had deployed totally enormous means to offer live content of a wonderful quality for the time. Besides, it has hardly aged at all today, although there have been remasterings of course. First of all, Judy At Carnegie Gall is one of the first double-albums in history, and it allowed Judy to win 4 Grammy Awards, a first for a woman. Conducted by conductor Mort Lindsey, Judy not only delivers her best performances here, but you'll also find all of her greatest classics here. An exemplary orchestra, a relaxed Judy who sometimes drops a few jokes to make her audience laugh. There are no shadows here, for the space of an evening, Judy makes history. Being objective, this is far from being one of the best vocal albums of all time, but it holds an important place in popular culture because of what it accomplishes and what it represents. Personally, although I am not a fan of Judy Garland, I must admit that it is still a very pleasant album which remains one of the rare vocal albums to be worth the detour at the beginning of the sixties.
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2 Comments
Jun 29, 2020
Yeah but for the most part I don't believe she wanted to be famous. She was raised at the studios as a child and I really believed that ruined her emotionally. It's quite tragic really.
Jun 29, 2020
Yes, it doesn't really surprise me, she's one of the first (if not the first) who had a shattered life in her youth, like Miley Cyrus for example (Sorry for the reference...)

Afterwards, I think from what I understood, she had the ambition to be "reborn" during this live and the tour that followed (:
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Judy Garland - A Star Is Born
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