Julie London

Lonely Girl

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Liberty Records was pleasantly surprised when Julie London's debut album was such a big hit. Julie Is Her Name did contain the hit single "Cry Me a River," but each featured mellow jazz guitar and bass backing -- which was considered commercial suicide in 1955. So, instead of changing direction and recording the follow-up Lonely Girl with a full orchestra, Liberty wisely allowed London to strip the accompaniment down even more on the album by dropping the backing down to one instrument. Lone guitarist Al Viola plays gentle Spanish-tinged acoustic behind the hushed vocalist, and it suits London perfectly. While the singer was often chided for her beauty and lack of range, she deftly navigates these ballads without any rhythmic underpinnings to fall back on. London's intense focus on phrasing and lyrics recalls Chet Baker's equally telescopic approach. So while most of the album contains the usual midnight standards, London sings them in her own way. The title track is the one unfamiliar tune here, and it's a real gem, penned by Bobby Troup (he was London's producer, paramour, and future husband). The low-key Lonely Girl beat the sophomore slump and initially did almost as well in the charts as Julie Is Her Name. Instead of stripping away the guitar in order to make London's next release be the first a cappella torch album, Troup crafted Calendar Girl, a big-budget orchestral affair that was more in keeping with the thematic pop albums released at the time.

blue highlight denotes track pick