Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Judy Garland: Miss Show Business

Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Judy Garland: Miss Show Business

Article excerpt

Judy Garland: Miss Show Business. Capitol/UMe (Universal Music Enterprises) B0023187-01 (1 LP).

Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli: Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli "Live" at the London Palladium. Capitol/UMe (Universal Music Enterprises) B0023188-01 (2 LPs).

Judy Garland: Judy at Carnegie Hall. Capitol/UMe (Universal Music Enterprises). B0023189-01 (2 LPs).

The Wizard of Oz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. WaterTower Music WTM39711 (1 LP).

Down with vinyl, long live vinyl. US CD sales dropped by 31.5 percent in the first half of 2015, whereas LP sales grew by 52 percent in the same period, even if the overall sales of vinyl were still far less than CDs or digital downloads, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After of hiatus of some thirty years during which the CD reigned, Capitol has decided to follow market trends and release three Judy Garland (1922-1969) 180-gram vinyl LPs, first on September 25, 2015, in the case of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli "Live" at the London Palladium, then on October 2, 2015, in the case of Miss Show Business and Judy at Carnegie Hall. WaterTower Music in turn hopped on the vinyl bandwagon by releasing the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz on LP on October 16, 2015.

The last time Capitol Records, which was Garland's home label between 1955 and 1965, released a Garland LP was the 1988 three-LP set, The Legendary Judy Garland: I Could Go On Singing! (SLC 57051), which Capitol Records Inc./MLM Corporation issued. The last times Decca Records, for which Garland recorded between 1936 and 1947, released any Judy Garland LPs on vinyl was in 1984, when MCA Records/Decca issued an important compilation, mastered by Steve Hoffman, entitled From the Decca Vaults (MCA-907), followed by the 1985 MCA Records (UK division) LP best-of called Golden Greats (MCM 5203), which was another Decca compendium. M-G-M Records, the label for the film studio at which Garland worked between 1936 and 1950, last released on LP the 1991 Judy Garland: The Great MGM Stars (M-G-M Records/EMI Records, Ltd. [England] CDP 79 5856 2). As for Columbia Records, which released four sides she did in 1953 as well as the 1954 A Star Is Born soundtrack, its last Garland LP was the 1978 A Star Is Born (CBS Records/Embassy England CBS 31695).

The 2015 release of a high-definition downloadable Miss Show Business (see: Schulman, ARSC Journal 2015; 46[2]:364-366) is further proof that the labels, after the historic decline of the CD, are endeavoring to expand their offerings through both downloads and LPs. It is a good sign, but will non-audiophile buyers buy it? There are many too who, after so many decades of listening to CDs, no longer even have a turntable. Whether the release of audiophile vinyl is a permanent trend or a passing fancy, as were 8-track cartridges, LaserDiscs and DualDiscs, is unknown in 2016. The question is: Are these new audiophile Garland LPs worth purchasing?

All three Capitol LPs, insofar as content, are the same as the original LPs released decades ago. Miss Show Business, as heard on the 2015 LP, is the same as the 1955 LP (Capitol W-676) in terms of content, but the two live shows, Judy at Carnegie Hall and Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli "Live" at the London Palladium, as heard on original two-LP sets of 1961 (Capitol WBO/SWBO-1569) and 1965 (Capitol SWBO-2295) respectively, were heavily edited versions of the original shows. Judy at Carnegie Hall was released on CD integrally in 2000 (EMI-Capitol/DCC) and 2001 (Capitol), and some people, now used to those fuller versions, might be nonplused at this 2015 LP iteration, which although containing all the music performed on that April 23, 1961 evening does not contain all of Garland's stories and audience exchanges. Other people, on the other hand, might like that the best-selling, award-winning Judy at Carnegie Hall is being re-released as originally heard on the 1961 set. …

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