Of the 3,165 audience members at Carnegie Hall on the evening of Sunday, April 23, 1961, just how many of them realized that they were witnessing musical history when Judy Garland took the stage? While most probably came to that realization by evening's end, surely all 3,165 knew by the time Capitol released its recording. Judy at Carnegie Hall remains one of the most acclaimed, beloved albums of all time, live or otherwise. Capturing Garland at her artistic peak, the lavish double-LP spent 95 weeks on the Billboard chart, 13 of them at Number One. When the Grammy Awards rolled around, Carnegie Hall handily picked up five of them including Album of the Year (the first by a female artist) and Best Female Vocal Performance, and the collection has remained in print on the Capitol label since its debut. London’s JSP Records announced last week that it will issue its own version of Judy at Carnegie Hall in early 2012. This release is made possible because the original LP will have expired in U.K. copyright.
In 1987, Judy at Carnegie Hall made its CD debut in an unfortunately abridged single-disc version (Capitol CCDP 7 46470 2). This disc omitted the famous overture conducted by Mort Lindsey, plus “Do It Again,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Alone Together.” There was an outcry over the abridgement of the album, and so Capitol's next CD issue in 1989 (CDP 7 90014-2) presented the LPs in full on two discs and even added some of Garland's dialogue as a bonus. Yet this reissue wasn’t without its problems, either. Capitol replaced the original LP track of “Alone Together” with a studio version recorded for the LP That’s Entertainment!; this was because the original recording allegedly couldn’t be found at the time. Capitol was unaware that while tape ran out on one of the two recorders in use during the concert, the song was preserved for posterity on the second recorder’s backup tape.
Enter Steve Hoffman, then at the DCC label. Hoffman located this tape in the EMI vaults, and persuaded Capitol’s powers-that-be to allow DCC to release the first-ever complete Judy at Carnegie Hall, from curtain-up to curtain-down, with all of Garland’s stories and talk intact, and in the correct order. 2000’s 24K Gold release (DCC GZS (2) 1135) quickly became a highly sought-after collectible for both its electrifying performance, complete for the first time, and Hoffman’s pristine mastering. In the DCC liner notes, Hoffman explained that the discs were mastered directly from the original Capitol 3-track “A-set” remote session tapes, and where the original engineers changed reels, a one-second lapse was left in the program rather than artificially smoothing the gap over with applause overdubs. “Rest assured that you are hearing every second of this legendary night,” Hoffman wrote. Capitol based its own complete release in 2001 (72435-27876-2-3) on this edition, though reissue producer Paul Atkinson brought in Bob Norberg to remaster the album yet again at Capitol’s own mastering facilities. Norberg’s remaster, with reverb and other “enhancement” added to the more “pure” Hoffman master in an attempt to capture the “hall sound,” is still available from Capitol. How does JSP’s release differ from previous editions? Hit the jump to find out!
JSP’s reissue, produced by John Stedman, remastered by Peter Rynston and annotated by Lawrence Schulman (the team behind 2010’s landmark four-CD set Judy Garland: Lost Tracks, which introduced a whopping 55 unreleased tracks to CD, including Garland’s 1935 Decca tests), will present on CD the original 1961 Capitol LP sequence for the first time. Capitol’s LPs concentrated on the songs over the singer’s onstage dialogue and made some alterations in song order to accommodate the format's space constraints. (On the LPs, the second act/second LP begins with “Come Rain or Come Shine,” when Garland in fact began the second act with “That’s Entertainment!” instead. “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and "That's Entertainment!" were moved to the end of the first act/first LP.) While some fans have already questioned the logic of reissuing an album that’s already available in more complete form, JSP’s issue is intended to restore to catalogue the album as fans experienced it originally in 1961 and for years thereafter.
Judy at Carnegie Hall will arrive after another JSP project, The Complete Judy Garland at Decca Records 1936-1947. This release, currently slated for late 2011, will collect all of Garland’s Decca recordings and alternate takes.
Further information isn’t yet available about The Complete Judy Garland at Decca, but the tracklisting for JSP’s release of Judy at Carnegie Hall follows with discographical information.
Judy Garland, Judy at Carnegie Hall (Capitol WBO/SWBO-1569, 1961 – reissued JSP Records, 2012)
- Overture: The Trolley Song/Over the Rainbow/The Man That Got Away
- When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
- Medley: Almost Like Being in Love/This Can’t Be Love
- Do It Again
- You Go to My Head
- Alone Together
- Who Cares (As Long as You Care for Me)
- Puttin’ on the Ritz
- How Long Has This Been Going On
- Just You, Just Me
- The Man That Got Away
- San Francisco
- I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
- That’s Entertainment!
- Come Rain or Come Shine
- You’re Nearer
- A Foggy Day
- If Love Were All
- Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
- Stormy Weather
- Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Girl/The Trolley Song
- Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody
- Over the Rainbow
- After You’ve Gone