So it appears we've come full circle with the legendary recording "Judy At Carnegie Hall", just released by JSP Records. So much has been written, both about the concert itself and the phenomenal live recording and it's immense impact on our popular culture. Garland was at one of her peak vocal periods when she stepped on that hallowed stage, and thankfully Capitol was at hand to preserve it all. Released first on vinyl, it's initial releases on compact disc botched horribly by Capitol until DCC (then Capitol for the concerts 2001 40th anniversary) released the complete, start-to-finish-every scrap of applause, every note Garland sang and every brilliant annecdote told to her adoring audience that 23rd of April 1961. So why do we need another version of this performance released? Reason being is that the original, mono vinyl version, the musical document that spent 95 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 chart, 13 of those weeks at #1, winning 5 Grammys including Best Album & Female Vocal, has never seen the light of day on compact disc......and that's what we have here with this newest release of the Carnegie performance. I am grateful beyond words that we have BOTH the HISTORICAL document, and this...the MUSICAL document of that evening. While I will always cherish the complete versions, I've always missed not having the album I grew up with.....the album concentrating on Garland's music and vocal artistry, strong and undiluted, without extended applause and chatter. If I have one bit of a complaint, it's that JSP has not used the stereo version, but the original mono that was first released. Being mono, one will notice that the sound lacks the dynamic range and nuances of the Capitol 2001 version, being quite "punchy" and "boxy". Small irritant for the musical richness contained on these two discs.
Which versions to own? Garland admires will, and should, own both......the more casual novice will love the uninterrupted Garland performance of the new JSP version but might be put off by the constricted audio quality. Either way, one and all will experience musical and theatrical brilliance that simply does not exist today, and I'm afraid never will again.
Luigi ~ nyc