THE DISC & RECORDINGS:
23, 1961 - a legendary night for Judy and show business. This night, attended
by the general public and the glitteratti of show business alike
has endured as "the greatest night in show business history." Judy was in perfect shape both vocally
and performance-wise. Even Judy's peers were "reaching out to touch Judy
as Rex Reed would state years later. All who were there would
talk about it as if it were more of a religious revival than a simple concert. The contemporary reviews were full of praise and awe. Having just come back from the brink of a bout with Hepatitis a few years before (she was told she'd never perform again), in 1960/61 Judy embarked on a new concert tour. This new tour gave audiences "Just Judy" for the first time - no dancers or Vaudeville acts. It was Judy and the band. And Judy was in incredible voice. This would set in motion a Garland Renaissance including several films, an Oscar nomination, and her TV series. If there was any doubt before, Judy secured her place as The World's Greatest Entertainer.
Capitol wisely decided to record this concert. The two-record
set was as big a hit as the concert and spent 95 weeks on the charts, 13
at #1. The record would garner FIVE Grammy Awards (unprecedented for the era): Best Solo
Vocal Performance, Female; Album of the year (the first time
an album by a female artist or a concert recording won
this award); Best Album Cover (Jim Silke); Best Engineering Contribution,
Popular Recording (Robert Arnold); A Special Artists and Repertoire Award
given to the set's production Andy Wiswell.
The album made its CD debut in 1987 when Capitol released
an abridged version. The outrage
from fans was such that the label released a 2-CD set in 1989 (#C2-90013),
complete with most of that previously unreleased dialog. In March 2000, the complete concert (including all of Judy's
stories and chatter to the audience) was released by DCC
Compact Classics. This 24 karat 2-CD set presented the concert
as recorded through the microphone that night, with no auditorium reverb
added. All the songs were presented in the order of the concert.
Capitol released their own complete, restored and remastered
version on a special 2-CD release on February 27, 2001, to
commemorate the 40th anniversary of the concert. The difference
between this and the DCC Compact version is that this Capitol
version has the added "hall" sound, whereas the
DCC version presents the sound as recorded in Judy's microphone.
This results in a sound that places Judy's voice front and
center, with the rest of the hall in the background. It's
a matter of taste as to which one a fan prefers.
To this day, "Judy At Carnegie Hall" is considered
one of the greatest live performances ever caught on record.
If it's possible
for the electricity of a performance to come through on a record,
this is it!
Brogan & Eric Hemphill.
Album cover restoration provided by "Alex in Belgium". Thank you
by: Freddie Fields and David Begelman, Carnegie
Hall, New York, April 23, 1961