In his book Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend, Scott Schechter wrote for August 1955: "Judy signed a...recording contract with Capitol Records, where she would make her finest recordings." As annotator, co-producer, and co-compiler of Classic Judy Garland: The Capitol Years 1955-1965, Schechter is able to give substance to his assertion, as he and co-producer/co-compiler Cheryl Pawelski construct a double-disc chronicle of Garland's Capitol recordings. The strictly chronological collection begins with the sessions for her first Capitol album, Miss Show Business, and concludes over nine years later with songs from her duo show with her daughter, Liza Minnelli, at the London Palladium in November 1964. In between, the compilers are careful to balance well-known staples of Garland's concerts and re-recordings of her early signature songs with rarities, including two previously unreleased songs, another previously unreleased performance, and four songs new to CD. Although Garland's tenure at Capitol was commercially successful, capped by the number one 1961 album Judy at Carnegie Hall, the label rarely released singles on her, so she did not score hits in the conventional sense. The compilers make a point of selecting at least a couple of tracks from every album project, whether it was finished and released or not, and they have dug up such rare British releases as the single "Comes Once in a Lifetime" from the musical Stop the World -- I Want to Get Off and an EP of songs from the musical Maggie May. But they don't forget Garland favorites like "Over the Rainbow" and "The Man That Got Away," although, of course, the Capitol versions are remakes. Some people still may feel that Garland made her finest recordings for Decca and MGM in the 1930s and '40s, but this album makes a strong case for her Capitol years.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2