Judy Garland's first two Capitol Records albums, 1955's Miss Show Business and 1956's Judy, are combined on this discount-priced reissue. Both were recorded when the singer was 33 years old. By then, she had come to the end of her Hollywood career and launched her second career as a concert performer. Both albums were tied into television specials without being soundtracks per se. The ten tracks making up Miss Show Business actually hearkened back further, since they constituted much of the repertoire Garland had developed to launch her stage act in 1951, combining songs from her movies and old vaudeville numbers, many of them organized into medleys featuring special introductory material fashioned by longtime Garland associate Roger Edens. To listen to such tracks as "Judy at the Palace" was to get a sense of at least what the audio was like at one of Garland's shows. Naturally, the set concluded with her signature number, "Over the Rainbow," which oddly comes halfway through this disc, since Miss Show Business is followed by Judy, a collection of songs arranged by Nelson Riddle. Riddle induced Garland to try some material that was new to her, but much of it is still in her familiar style. There are more songs written by Harold Arlen, composer of "Over the Rainbow," as well as more vaudeville-era material associated with Al Jolson, such as "April Showers." As such, Judy makes a good follow-up to Miss Show Business and an appropriate pairing for it on this disc. Judy contains less razzle-dazzle than its predecessor, and it allows Garland to plumb more of the depths of her interpretive talent, especially in the heart-rending version of "Last Night When We Were Young." Still, there is plenty of lighthearted fare, making for a well-rounded collection.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann