Sunday, 15 May 2016

"Calendar Girl/Your Number Please..." by JULIE LONDON (1997 Capitol 'Two On One' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Two Sleepy People..." 

Sultry, smooth and sassy – and that's just the left leg. Like her contemporaries Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, Nancy Wilson, Jeri Southern and Jo Stafford - JULIE LONDON had the sauce and the voice to caress a tune. And man is that evident on the wonderful sounding CD Reissue chockfull of lush songs presented to fans of Fifties Crooners in truly gorgeous Audio. Time to get the cocktail bar open and my chiffon gown ready for gentleman callers. Here are the nightcaps...

UK released September 1997 – "Calendar Girl/Your Number Please..." by JULIE LONDON on EMI/Liberty/Capitol CTMCD 125 (Barcode 724385995927) offers 2 x Fifties LPs Remastered onto 1CD (one in Mono, the other in Stereo) and plays out as follows (67:13 minutes):

1. June In January
2. February Brings The Rain
3. Melancholy March
4. I'll Remember April
5. People Who Are Born In May
6. Memphis In June
7. Sleigh Ride In July [Side 2]
8. Time For August
9. September In The Rain
10. This October
11. November Twilight
12. Warm December
13. The Thirteenth Month
Tracks 1 to 13 are her album "Calendar Girl" - released December 1956 in the USA on Liberty SL 9002 (Mono) – MONO Mix used. Orchestra conducted by PETE KING.

14. Makin' Whoopie
15. It Could Happen To You
16. When I Fall In Love
17. It's A Blue World
18. They Can't Take That Away From Me
19. One For My Baby
20. Angel Eyes [Side 2]
21. Love Is Here To Stay
22. The More I See You
23. A Stranger In Town
24. Two Sleepy People
25. Learnin' The Blues
Tracks 14 to 25 are her album "Your Number Please..." – released December 1959 in the USA on Liberty LST 7130 (Stereo) – STEREO Mix used. Music arranged and conducted by ANDRE PREVIN.

The 10-leaf foldout inlay pictures the gorgeous artwork in full for both LPs. There are no liner notes per say (mores the pity) – but the inlay is far better than a gatefold slip of paper. You get the full twelve months of famous pictorial poses – Julie is various swimsuits and leggy dresses showing off her womanly wiles and curves - sensationally saucy stuff for the day. But all of that is naught to the truly beautiful CD Audio you get the second you start playing the expertly crafted songs. RON HILL did the 24-bit Digital Remasters at Abbey Road Studios in London from first generation tapes and both albums sound spotless – clean – full of presence and warmth. The Stereo "Your Number Please..." is particularly gorgeous – every string pluck and breathy vocal as clear as bell.

The "Calendar Girl" album has a month-by-month song rota with the 'thirteenth' tagged on at the end. Even romantic slush like "Sleigh Ride In June" comes up roses and the Nat King Cole piano-roll of "September In The Rain" gives a welcome lift in pace. But it when she gets 'hot' and sexy in "Time For August" ('gals with only man a year' she croons) or smoulders on the gorgeous "November Twilight" where she purrs 'the ache of long lost things' - that you feel the magic of her persona. Admittedly some of the tracks like "June In January" and "This October" feature intrusive and coy backing singers that has dated them badly. But outside of that – it’s a great period album.

The Stereo "Your Number Please..." can only be described as 'sumptuous' - every song and arranging swirling around your boudoir in glorious Stereo. An album of cover version homages to her favourite Male Vocalists - she does Nat King Cole's "When I Fall In Love", the Freshman's "It's A Blue World and Matt Monroe's perennial classic "Angel Eyes". On tracks like Johnny Mercer's "One More For The Road", Fred Astaire's "They Can't Take Away From Me" and Bing Crosby's "It Could Happen To You" - her voice is close to sung perfection. Her rendition of the Bob Hope and Shirley Ross classic "Two Sleepy People" from the 1939 film "The Big Broadcast" is filled with swooping strings and echoed vocals. The whole bedroom swoon ends on a gorgeous "Learnin' The Blues" – a tune made famous by ole blue eyes himself (Frank Sinatra) as Julie sings forlornly "...the dancefloor is deserted...you play the same love song...it's the tenth time you've heard it..."

This is a sweetheart of a release and one that boasts exceptional Audio - classy like the good lady herself. And that "Your Number Please..." LP is an overlooked genre gem...

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