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Over the Rainbow
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer, Gene Kelly, The Merry Macs, Bing Crosby (vocals); Victor Young & His Orchestra; Georgie Stoll & His Orchestra; David Rose & His Orchestra.
  • Recorded between 1939 and 1945. Includes liner notes by Ron O'Brien.
  • Digitally remastered by Doug SChwartz (Audio Mechanics, Los Angles, California).
  • Unlike most musical film stars, Judy Garland maintained a healthy career as a recording artist separate from her duties at the film studios. Of course, many of the songs she recorded were ones she also performed in her films. But Decca Records, which had unusually close ties to Hollywood and Broadway, recorded her regularly from 1936 to 1947, and she scored a series of record hits for the label, beginning with her signature song, "Over the Rainbow," in 1939. The 90 masters she recorded for Decca have been reissued often over the years, of course, but this 20-track compilation can claim to be, as the press release accompanying it notes, the first full-length, front-line (i.e., full-price) single CD compilation of the recordings. Included are all of Garland's hits of the first half of the '40s as measured on Billboard magazine's best-seller charts of the period: "I'm Nobody's Baby," the '20s song she sang in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante; "For Me and My Gal," the 1917 song she sang with Gene Kelly in the film of the same name; "The Trolley Song" from Meet Me in St. Louis; "Yah-Ta-Ta, Yah-Ta-Ta (Talk, Talk, Talk)," a novelty duet with Bing Crosby; and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" from The Harvey Girls. Also included are her customized version of "You Made Me Love You," which brought her attention in Broadway Melody of 1938; "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," which she used to audition at MGM in 1935; and three Gershwin songs from Girl Crazy. The result is a reasonable selection of highlights of the Decca material, though one must question the inclusion of two alternate takes (of "Yah-Ta-Ta, Yah-Ta-Ta" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). A single-disc best-of is not the place to include inferior, if interesting, rarities. ~ William Ruhlmann
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