THE DISC & RECORDINGS:
Released in the fall of 1969, this LP
is made up of performances from Judy's last few weeks of appearances
at the "Talk
Of The Town" cabaret in London. She performed there, off
and on, from December 30, 1968 through February 1, 1969. The
exact dates of many of the recordings are not known, as they were culled from tapes made by both Judy's husband at the time,
Mickey Deans, and her friend and companion John Meyer.
These were not really Judy's
final performances. She still had several performances ahead
of her including the Scandinavian tour. Nor was it her very last
recording. Judy's then husband Mickey Deans recorded Judy, himself, Anita O'Day and Charlie Cochran rehearsing for their appearance at the Half Note Club in NY on June 16, 1969. These are the the last Garland
recordings known to exist. You can listen to these recordings at The Judy Room's MP3 Page.
The version of "I'd Like To Hate Myself In The Morning"
on this LP is actually from Judy's appearance on the
Merv Griffin show on December 19, 1968, in New York City.
was nominated for a Grammy for his liner
notes to this album.
Image of the original release (top image) provided by Richard
Allen - thank you!
All other images from the collection of Scott Brogan.
Photo at right: The back of the album, featuring a photo of Judy
on stage at The Palace Theatre in 1967. This gatefold album opens
up to reveal the Rex Reed liner notes with another photo of Judy,
in a similar pantsuit (she has several versions), during her run at "The Talk Of The Town".
The re-release, with the sticker slapped on the
top to tout that this was Judy's "Last Performance!"
The "letters" seen above right on
the back of the album are as follows:
July 29, 1969
Dear Bob and Ettore:
As you know, my Judy's last cabaret performance was in London
in January and February of this year. She was fabulous, a tiny
tornado, thrilling the crowds that filled the many tiered auditorium.
And being Judy, not all the applause in the world could convince
her that she was in good voice, and that she was being heard
within the 30 piece orchestra behind her.
I decided that if she could hear
herself, it would assuage her fears and surely prove what we
already knew --- that she was ready to record again. Using
a small battery-operated tape recorder with just one mike,
I taped Judy from the second tier of the balcony. These tapes
were made solely to convince my fearful Judy that the crashing
applause was deserved and that she was giving a performance
that she could take pride in. Judy listened to the tapes and
was at once excited. In fact, she listened to them over and
As Judy was under contract to
you, I am offering them to you. Despite the unusual recording
conditions, these tapes caught the essence of Judy.
My judy is gone, and I think this last joyous club performance
should belong to everyone.
Colby and Ettore Stratta
FROM THE PRODUCERS:
We will always remember that sunny Sunday morning
in London when Judy and Mickey showed up at our suite at Claridge's with the
tapes, made only a few hours earlier, of her closing night
She and Mickey had been up all night ---- listening.
And now they wanted to share their excitement. We played the tapes over and
over again and again until the four of us were exhausted. Judy
was performing like only she could perform ---- and that morning
we knew she was happy and confidant. We talked of new recordings
---- making plans for sessions in London that Spring. They
These tapes did happen. Though the technical recording
conditions were not ideal, we feel that they captured that audience-performer
excitement that a recording studio could never have given us.
Remembering that sunday morning in London, and
especially recalling Judy's pleasure in what she heard, we feel that this, her
last joyous performance, should be shared.
Colby and Ettore Stratta
[I Belong To London (London Belongs To Me)]
Man That Got Away
Like to Hate Myself In The Morning
(And Raise A Little Hell Tonight)
You Made Me Love You/For Me And My Gal/The Trolley Song
Once In My Life
Rex Reed's liner notes were nominated
for the 1969 Grammy for "Best Album Notes". Johnny
Cash won that year for his notes to the Bob Dylan album "Nashville
BY REX REED
She was superbly hip, intelligent, sensitive, funny; and
she could sing like an angel. From the very beginning, when
she stepped out of that show business trunk and squeezed
her chubby little feet into those ruby red slippers for that
tippy-tap kip down the yellow brick road, people everywhere
began a love affair with a girl named Judy Garland that was
destined to go on forever.
We loved her innocence
and her vulnerability as soon as we were old enough to see
our first movie. We loved her when she was happy and we loved
her when she was blue, and most of the time she was both.
When she soft-shoed across the empty stage with a cleaning
woman's broom in Presenting Lily Mars, we cried.
When she pushed Andy Hardy into a pot of geraniums, we laughed.
We loved her on
the trolley singing to the boy next door and trying to save
Margaret O'Brien's snow people in Meet Me in St. Louis (in
fact, we loved her so much that when she sang the title song,
we would have met her in St. Louis or anywhere else
if she had only told us what time to be there). After The
Clock, women met their soldiers under the clocks in
railroad stations all over the world, and after The Harvey
Girls, the stock went sky high on the Atchison, Topeka
and the Santa Fe. We loved her with lettuce in her jeans
and we loved her when she didn't have a bean. And by the
time she got around to letting it all hang out by singing Born
in a Trunk in A Star is Born, we wanted to
say, "yes, judy, we know." Nobody who ever saw
her or listened to her records ever needed a last name. It
was always Judy.
She grew up, and
her troubles were our own. We read about the pills and the
hospitals and the lonely tortured cries for help and - this
is the truly remarkable thing about Judy Garland - we never
stopped caring. We cared because she was no ordinary, run-of-the-kleig-light
Hollywood legend. She was our little girl. She asked for
more sympathy than we could afford to give her and sometimes
she got on our nerves, but then she'd step out on the stage
at Carnegie Hall or the Palladium or any old stage at all,
it didn't matter, and the spotlight would hit those fail
little legs and capture that wry, helpless little wince of
a smile and somehow we'd forgive her for keeping us waiting.
Sometimes the voice
was tired and rough round the edges. It would bend and crack
and she'd sip something cool (we were never quite sure what
it was) and then it would soar again, like a turbo-jet readying
for the transatlantic takeoff, and a bolt of sunlight would
stop our hearts in the middle of a sigh. There will always
be imitators, but there will never be anyone like Judy. She
tried our patience and she used our love, but she paid us
back a hundred times over.
The endurance of
her art is inestimable, but it is warming to know that through
recordings like this one, it will always be there for new
generations to discover. There is something special about
this particular collection of her work: it was recorded in
january and February, 1969, during her last public appearance.
She was playing a five-week engagement at London's leading
cabaret when musician-songwriter-producer Bob Colby talked
her into returning to the old recording mike. Judy was nervous.
Her voices was in one of it's up-and-down phases. There had
been some disastrous TV appearances in New York; during one
Merv Griffin Show on which I also appeared, it even gave
She was interested,
but frightened (two characteristics which had always marked
her life) and to encourage her, Colby suggested taping several
of her appearances in the club to re-acquaint her with the
sound of her voice and re-convince her over her own magical
charisma on records. Judy was cooperative. Every day she
would arrive at Colby's suite at Claridge's to listen to
her voice, like an enthusiastic young hopeful. Her confidence
returned and she was impressed enough to agree to do a brand
new album. It never happened. Four months later, Judy Garland
made her final headline and the world was a sadder place
It's all here in
this historic tribute - the joys and the grins of those last
days in London - sealed for posterity. Something old, something
new. There's an old music hall revue tune, I Belong To
London, for which Stan Freeman contributed special lyrics
to express some of the happiness Judy felt in her new life
there. There's a zappy little cheery-bird song called I'd
Like to Hate Myself in the Morning (and Raise a Little Hell
Tonight), written by john Meyer, a young New Yorker
who was close enough to her in the last months to pen what
could easily have been her own survival slogan.
There are the great
Garland memory pieces, Get Happy and The Man
That Got Away and For Me And My Gal and The
Trolley Song, and, of course, her love letter to Clark
Gable, You Made Me Love You. And as a historical
subtext to the legend, there is Judy singing for the very
last time the most touching rendition of Over the Rainbow I've
ever heard. And through it all, there is that indomitable
spirit, kidding herself, kidding Hollywood, full of the eagerness
of another comeback. She would have come back, and we would
all have been there waiting for her.
That, I think,
is the reason her place in history is secure and unchallenged.
Even when we thought we couldn't bear to read another unasked-for
news report, even when she taxed our tolerance and wore out
her welcome, we never stopped caring! She needed more love
than anyone had the strength to give. But she always paid
her dues by making her audiences smile and cry and - I hate
to say it - get involved.
She was like that
favorite old star at the op of the Christmas tree. Other
ornaments would break through the years or get chewed on
by some dog or child. We'd replace them with newer, fancier
models. But back in the back of the box, wrapped in soft
tissue, would be the star, durable and comfortable to be
with because it had lived through so much and survived it
Judy was like that
star. her light has gone out for now, but nothing will ever
erase the memory of her glow. Through her movies and her
songs, it will be Christmas for as long as we care to remember.
- REX REED
(Rex Reed is a music critic for Stereo Review, the
film critic for Holiday, and the author of two best-selling
books, Do You Sleep in the Nude?, and Conversations
in the Raw)
Produced by: Robert
Colby & Ettore Stratta
Promoted & Distributed thru: Ben
Arrigio - Glenn Productions & Promotions
Production coordination by: Frank Driggs
Package design by: Peter Rauch
Liner notes by: Rex Reed
Additional "letters" by: Mickey Deans, Robert Colby & Ettore Stratta