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Judy Garland - The Amsterdam Concert
Judy Garland (vocals)
David Lee (piano); Jos Cleber's Cosmopolitan Orchestra/Norrie Paramor
rec. 10 December 1960, Tuschinski Theatre, Amsterdam, Holland
full track-list at end of review
FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR18 [56:07 + 69:12]

First Hand Records assure us that this is the first official complete and legitimate commercial release of the 10 December 1960 midnight concert in Amsterdam. As such it will already have been snapped up by Judy Garland’s many and dedicated fans. It comes complete with radio announcements in Dutch and with applause - cool rather than anything else. 

The original radio engineers and producers for this event were AVRO (Algemene Vereniging Radio Omroep or General Association of Radio Broadcasting). The resulting tapes have been re-mastered by Debs Spanton of K&A Productions Ltd, UK. Do not expect perfection although what we hear is pretty good. The whole has been rather handsomely set off by liner-notes from Jonathan Summers. Mr Summers relates that the concert took place only four months after the London studio recordings and four months before the famous Carnegie Hall concert. By the way, the booklet is the epitome of good design and substance. The two meet in balance.
 
This release follows on from First Hand Records’ Judy Garland - The London Studio Recordings, 1957-1964 (FHR12). It includes the full programme of thirty songs from the Amsterdam concert all in big orchestral versions. Add to this short interviews with Garland, Sid Luft (Garland’s husband) and conductor Norrie Paramor. The booklet is extensively illustrated with photographs of Garland in concert.
 
Listening to these discs very soon confirms Miss Garland’s reputation as “Miss Show Business”. Along the way we hear her gracious thanks to her collaborators. By the way, the songs are heard in vocal arrangements by Roger Edens. Her self-deprecating humour is experienced at close quarters including some gentle asides directed toward the sessions photographer. Act or not, it is quite endearing. Everything is sung with an abundance of feeling. It’s quite intense. Impressions crowd in. The dreamy smooch of Do it again links later with a similar treatment for Stormy Weather on CD 2. The jazzy Who cares? from the Gershwins is a joy. I liked the audacity of rhyming “Yonkers” with “A kiss that conquers”. The tracking is lavish with every intervening speech from Garland accorded its own track. There’s a nice swing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Garland gives “San Francisco, open your golden gates” a Gracie Fields cum Ethel Merman blast. Invincible stuff. The second disc continues offering plenty of instrumental detail although occasionally the balance occludes the voice but not so much that it robs I Can’t Give You Anything But Love of a very dreamy smooch. Come rain or shine has a South American jungle heart beat. If love were all is the odd one out in that respect being laid out with piano solo. It is affectionately mused by Garland. The classic Zing went the strings of my heart is confidently delivered. She really makes that ‘zing’ ring out. There’s a song medley ending with the Trolley Song: “clang, clang, zing, zing went the bell”. Then we get Over the rainbow which still answers to Garland’s call. Swanee is another upbeat and driven number done with an affectionate swagger. She makes a false start with A great day for the Irish but handles it with disarming integrity. We end with a repeat of San Francisco which brings things to a close.  

Rob Barnett 

Full Track-List 

Judy Garland - The Amsterdam Concert 
CD 1
1. Judy Garland interviewed by Nikko van Fleet [2:50]
2. Male dialogue [0:35]
3. Orchestral Number [1:14]
4. Ageeth Scherphuis announcement [0:35]
5. Orchestral Introduction [2:13]
6. Norrie Paramor interviewed by Ageeth Scherpius [1:00]
7. Garland Overture [4:57]
8. When You’re Smiling [3:24]
9. Medley: i. Almost Like Being in Love / ii. This Can’t Be Love [3:56]
10. Talk - ‘It’s lovely to be here in Amsterdam…’ [0:26]
11. Do it Again [4:11]
12. Talk - Paris hairdresser story [1:42]
13. You Go to My Head [3:40]
14. Talk - ‘I wonder what all the people listening to the radio are thinking…’ [0:18]
15. Alone Together [3:04]
16. Talk - ‘I’m known, if I’m known at all…’ [1:33]
17. Who Cares? [1:34]
18. Talk - ‘The next starts with a moan…’ [0:18]
19. Puttin’ On the Ritz [2:20]
20. Talk - ‘I think the next is a sort of strip-tease tempo…’ [0:18]
21. How Long Has This Been Going On? [3:48]
22. Just You, Just Me [2:06]
23. The Man That Got Away [4:18]
24. San Francisco [3:52]
25. Talk - ‘I could stay here for a week…’ [0:31]
26. Sid Luft interviewed by Ageeth Scherphuis [1:23]
 
CD 2
1. That’s Entertainment [2:30]
2. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love [5:25]
3. Talk - ‘Now you know you can’t get any attractive pictures from there…’ [0:27]
4. Come Rain or Come Shine [4:00]
5. Talk - ‘I ran out of breath on the last note…’ [3:44]
6. You’re Nearer [2:27]
7. Talk - ‘There’s another nice song…’ [0:41]
8. If Love Were All [2:15]
9. Talk - ‘Shall we go on with this nonsense…’ [0:35]
10. A Foggy Day (in London Town) [2:49]
11. Talk - ‘We had about twenty stagehands in Paris…’ [1:19]
12. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart [3:30]
13. Talk - ‘I can hear a marvellous woman off there…’ [1:22]
14. Stormy Weather [5:29]£0.65
15. Medley: i. You Made Me Love You / ii. For Me and My Gal / iii. iii. The Trolley Song [3:59]
16. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby (with a Dixie Melody) [2:54]
17. Bows [1:51]
Talk - ‘Thank you very, very much…’ [0:36]
19. Over the Rainbow [3:40]
Talk - ‘You know we don’t have too many orchestrations…’ [0:18]
21. Swanee [1:57]
22. Announcers [2:27]
23. Talk - ‘I think it’s rather beastly to keep coming on and going off…’ [1:17]
24. It’s a Great Day for the Irish (false start) [0:29]
25. It’s a Great Day for the Irish [2:35]
26. Announcers [0:32]
27. Talk - ‘I don’t know what we can do…’ [0:28]
28. After You’ve Gone [4:39]
29. Talk - ‘I think we’re going to have to just do one of them over again…’ [1:14]
30. San Francisco [3:44]
31. Talk - ‘God bless you and goodnight…’ [0:38]