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Do It Again: JSP’s “The Garland Variations” Box Set Collects Multiple Recordings of Judy Garland Songs

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Garland VariationsLike so many of the great vocalists of her day, Judy Garland frequently revisited repertoire over the years. An arrangement might vary, in great or small ways, and so, of course, would the interpretation. Garland’s unparalleled interpretive gifts, apt for wringing as much authentic emotion out of a song as possible, are front and center on the latest box set of the late artist’s recordings from JSP Records. The Garland Variations – Songs She Recorded More Than Once is a new 5-CD collection, set for arrival on October 27.  Produced by JSP founder John Stedman and compiled by Lawrence Schulman, the same team behind such past Garland treasure troves as Creations: Songs She Introduced and Smilin’ Through: The Singles Collection 1936-1947, the new box will gather songs Garland recorded in the studio on multiple occasions between 1937 and 1962. With 115 tracks and over 6-1/2 hours of music, it will place the spotlight on the songs Garland re-recorded over a 25-year period. These tracks include such signature songs as “The Man That Got Away,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and of course, “Over the Rainbow,” which is included in five distinct renditions.  Of course, some of the most renowned composers and lyricists in American popular song are represented, such as Harold Arlen, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, Johnny Mercer, and Harry Warren.

Garland’s first long-lasting recording affiliation was with Decca Records. Following some abortive test records made in 1935 by the twelve-year old singer (released by JSP on the stellar Lost Tracks set), Decca released two sides by Garland in 1936 and signed MGM’s up-and-coming star the following year. Garland remained at Decca through 1947, and her tenure there yielded 90 recordings from 30 sessions between 1936 and 1947. Her departure from Decca coincided with MGM’s entering the young soundtrack LP market, and so she no longer had the need to re-record movie favorites for Decca. With MGM having first right of refusal for her work, she didn’t make any further studio recordings until after her departure from the Hollywood giant in 1950.

In 1953, Garland appeared on the Columbia label with four single sides, and the following year the label released the landmark soundtrack to her film A Star is Born. In 1955, she was back in Hollywood signing with Capitol Records. She remained at the Capitol Tower until 1966, recording a series of stellar studio albums with top-tier arrangers including Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins – not to mention the Grammy Award-winning, record-breaking Judy at Carnegie Hall. JSP’s set concludes in 1962, the year of her final studio LP released in her lifetime, The Garland Touch. (The record was actually a compilation, drawing on Capitol outtakes, a recent single, and tracks from her 1960 London recording sessions which weren’t released in full until the compact disc era.)

At Judy Garland News, compiler Schulman eloquently illuminates the raison d’être behind this fascinating compilation: “The set’s target demographic is not so much Garland collectors who have all of her recordings, but rather the general public who would be interested in hearing Judy’s evolution musically speaking. To take but one example, her 1945 ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and her 1960 interpretation of the same song, heard back to back, offer a unique glimpse of how her artistry evolved. Her two versions of ‘By Myself,’ the first done at Capitol in 1957, the second in 1962 for I Could Go On Singing, heard back to back is a magnificent revelation in orchestrations and singing style. The difference between her MGM and Decca recordings of the same song is often minute, but often not, as is the case of her initial 1945 MGM recording of ‘On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe’ and her Decca New York session that same year at which she did a lower-keyed ‘chamber’ version of the number. Fascinating listening. No back to back MGM/Decca/Columbia/Capitol set has ever been released, and I thought it was about time.”

After the jump, we have more information on the box set as well as the complete track listing!

The Garland Variations draws on recordings from the Decca, MGM, Capitol and Columbia labels, all of which currently reside in the U.K. public domain. Peter Rynston has remastered, and Andrew Aitken has designed the box set. It features new essays by James Fisher of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; The Judy Room founder Scott Brogan; Broadway’s Christine Andreas (who has portrayed Garland onstage); and Laurent Valière, a journalist at Radio France and producer/host of the program 42nd Street.

The Garland Variations – Songs She Recorded More Than Once is scheduled to arrive on October 27 and can be pre-ordered below!

Judy Garland, The Garland Variations: Songs She Recorded More Than Once (JSP, 2014) (Amazon U.S. TBD / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. Everybody Sing – MGM
  2. Everybody Sing – Decca
  3. (Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You – MGM
  4. (Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You – Decca
  5. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart – MGM
  6. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart – Decca
  7. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart – Capitol
  8. It Never Rains But What It Pours – MGM
  9. It Never Rains But What It Pours – Decca
  10. In Between – MGM
  11. In Between – Decca
  12. Ten Pins In The Sky – MGM
  13. Ten Pins In The Sky – Decca
  14. The Jitterbug – MGM
  15. The Jitterbug – Decca
  16. Over The Rainbow – MGM
  17. Over The Rainbow – Decca
  18. Over The Rainbow – V-Disc
  19. Over The Rainbow – Capitol
  20. Over The Rainbow – Capitol
  21. Figaro – MGM
  22. Figaro – Decca
  23. I’m Just Wild About Harry – MGM
  24. I’m Just Wild About Harry – Decca
  25. Swanee – Decca
  26. Swanee – Capitol

CD 2

  1. Embraceable You – Decca
  2. Embraceable You – MGM
  3. Embraceable You – Decca
  4. I’m Nobody’s Baby – MGM
  5. I’m Nobody’s Baby – Decca
  6. Buds Won’t Bud – MGM
  7. Buds Won’t Bud – Decca
  8. Our Love Affair – MGM
  9. Our Love Affair – Decca
  10. It’s A Great Day For The Irish – MGM
  11. It’s A Great Day For The Irish – Decca
  12. It’s A Great Day For The Irish – Capitol
  13. A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow – MGM
  14. A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow – Decca
  15. A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow – Capitol
  16. Danny Boy – MGM
  17. Danny Boy – Capitol
  18. I’m Always Chasing Rainbows – MGM
  19. I’m Always Chasing Rainbows – Decca
  20. How About You? – MGM
  21. How About You? – Decca
  22. F.D.R. Jones – MGM
  23. F.D.R. Jones – Decca
  24. For Me And My Gal – MGM

CD 3

  1. For Me And My Gal – Decca
  2. After You’ve Gone – MGM
  3. After You’ve Gone – Capitol
  4. After You’ve Gone – Capitol
  5. I Got Rhythm – MGM
  6. I Got Rhythm – Decca
  7. But Not For Me – MGM
  8. But Not For Me – AFRS
  9. But Not For Me – Decca
  10. Bidin’ My Time – MGM
  11. Bidin’ My Time – Decca
  12. Could You Use Me? – MGM
  13. Could You Use Me? – Decca
  14. Boys and Girls Like You And Me – MGM
  15. Boys and Girls Like You And Me – Decca
  16. The Trolley Song – MGM
  17. The Trolley Song – Decca
  18. Meet Me In St. Louis – MGM
  19. Meet Me In St. Louis – Decca
  20. Skip To My Lou – MGM
  21. Skip To My Lou – Decca
  22. The Boy Next Door – MGM
  23. The Boy Next Door – Decca
  24. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – MGM
  25. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Decca

CD 4

  1. It’s A Great Big World – MGM
  2. It’s A Great Big World – Decca
  3. On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe – MGM
  4. On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe – Decca
  5. On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe – Decca
  6. In The Valley (Where The Evening Sun Goes Down) – MGM
  7. In The Valley (Where The Evening Sun Goes Down) – Decca
  8. March Of The Doagies – MGM
  9. March Of The Doagies – Decca
  10. Swing Your Partner Round And Round – MGM
  11. Swing Your Partner Round And Round – Decca
  12. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Decca
  13. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Capitol
  14. I Wish I Were In Love Again – Decca
  15. I Wish I Were In Love Again – MGM
  16. Last Night When We Were Young – MGM
  17. Last Night When We Were Young – Capitol
  18. The Man That Got Away – Columbia
  19. The Man That Got Away – Capitol
  20. Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody) – Capitol
  21. Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody) – Capitol
  22. Judy’s Olio – Capitol

CD 5

  1. Judy’s Olio – Capitol
  2. Judy At The Palace – Capitol
  3. Judy At The Palace – Capitol
  4. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe – Capitol
  5. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe – Capitol
  6. Lucky Day – Capitol
  7. Lucky Day – Capitol
  8. Come Rain Or Come Shine – Capitol
  9. Come Rain Or Come Shine – Capitol
  10. By Myself – Capitol
  11. By Myself – Capitol
  12. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love – Capitol
  13. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love – Capitol
  14. Do It Again – Capitol
  15. Do It Again – Capitol
  16. It Never Was You – Capitol
  17. It Never Was You – Capitol
  18. It Never Was You – Capitol
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Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2014 at 10:56

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks so much for the great write-up, Joe. Great journalism, as usual. The only thing I would add to further whet people’s appetites is to say that THE GARLAND VARIATIONS will also include two tracks new to CD: one is an MGM outtake of “Danny Boy;” the other is the studio alternate of “It Never Was You,” with Dave Lee on piano, that was first released on the 1963 LP of Garland’s last film, I Could Go On Singing. Strangely enough, in First Hand Records’ recent release of Garland’s London studio records, it was left out. When the CD of I Could Go On Singing was released in 2002, the live-on-the-set version, heard in the film, was included, and not this studio version, for which the sonics are far superior to the live version. I am quite excited in rediscovering it. Finally, might I add that I am also excited by the inclusion of essays by Broadway star Christine Andreas, scholar James Fisher, TheJudyRoom.com’s founder and webmaster Scott Brogan, and French radio broadcaster Laurent Valière? I think it will be another great JSP release.

    lschulman

    April 29, 2014 at 11:31

  2. A great concept for a box set! It is rare that CD companies encourage “deep listening”. Even though I have all the tracks but those rarities mentioned above, I will definitely buy this. I wish other sets would try this approach. Many singers re-recorded songs throughout their careers.

    Kevin

    April 30, 2014 at 08:10

  3. As of result of audio restorer John H. Haley’s excellent work in doing an A/B comparison between the soundtrack “It Never Was You” and the one issued on LP, he has come to the conclusion that it is one and the same. This final 1962 track on the new JSP set is therefore not an alternate. I stand corrected.

    lschulman

    May 1, 2014 at 15:38


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