Judy Garland

Judy "Live" at the Palace

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For what would have been Judy Garland's 75th birthday, Sid Luft Music released a double album of Judy Duets/Judy at the Palace. Each of these -- uniting 13 duets from CBS' weekly The Judy Garland Show, and a live concert recorded at the Palace Theater in New York in 1952 -- are available individually. With most '60s Judy Garland recordings, one has to be prepared for less-than-stellar live performances. The star of stage and screen was often emotionally overwhelmed, forgetful, and out of breath. The concert at the Palace, unlike Judy Duets, is colored by strange histrionics. There are moments in the live show when Garland actually states she is "too old" for performing and seems to laugh at jokes that remain mysteries to the audience. Despite this, the audience eats it up. The versions here of "Over the Rainbow" and "Liza" are home runs, which makes up for it a bit. Judy at the Palace may be a somewhat hard album for casual fans to hear. Then again, it is amazing that she is able to perform at all at that time in her career. That strength does not make for a particularly fun show. But its good moments may outshine the freaky ones for diehards. For people whose love for Judy Garland includes her tragic and painful decline, this album is a must-own. Overall, the sound quality is fabulous, and both discs contain very important material that, thankfully, was preserved by Garland's third husband and made available to the public. Originally released on an unofficial LP, this is a historical document and should not be compared with a polished album release. It is a one-of-a-kind performance, on which Garland, exhausted after her long run and performing before friends, often sounds a little scattered, even though she sings well.

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