Thursday, 7 March 2013

Julie London - I’ll Cry Tomorrow and Rarities [music]

This CD shows a different side of Julie London to The Ultimate Collection... Julie is unmistakably Julie, smoky-voiced and sultry, but the songs are less familiar and this collection has a more varied feel.

The compilation is a curious mix of the upfront and the reticent. ‘Must Be Catchin’’ has a rhythm and key changes that remind me of Peggy Lee’s famous ‘Fever’, while ‘Time For Lovers’ has the flavour of the better-known ‘Black Coffee’. ‘Now Baby Now’ is vampishly teasing (and would make a great soundtrack to burlesque, I feel. Other tracks, especially ‘Tall Boy’ and ‘Man of the West’ are dreamy, yearning songs, while ‘Shadow Woman’ is a plea to her lover’s other woman – essentially the same theme as Dolly Parton’s Jolene, but a far softer, more pleading sort of song, lacking Dolly’s fighting spirit. There are more of the gentle songs, and overall the collection has a wistful feel.

One of the songs does reveal the limitations of Julie London’s voice. When sung by the right performer, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’ is beautiful in its painful loneliness. Julie’s sultry softness isn’t really appropriate, and her rendition doesn’t really work, in my opinion, even when heard within the context of the slightly melancholy feel of the collection. I think I prefer my Julie to be sassy and saucy, backed with some vampish, jazzy playing.

I enjoy I’ll Cry Tomorrow and Rarities, but it’s quite downbeat and not the first thing I’ll reach for. I listen to a lot of vintage music on my iPod at work, and Friday is usually the day when I turn to 50s/60s easy listening. That midcentury optimism works well at the end of the week. However, neither this album nor the reflective tracks from Sinatra Swings are really Friday tunes - maybe they’re sunny Sunday morning music. Both are currently on my Lounge playlist. Some playlist rearranging is in order...

Source of CD: a Christmas gift from Mr Robot.

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