Julie London

Cry Me a River [Prism]

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Copyrights on recordings extend only 50 years in Europe, and reissue labels like Great Britain's Prism Leisure watch carefully to see what enters the public domain each year on January 1. The start of 2006 brought a new artist into the world of unlicensed repackaging: Julie London, who started her recording career in 1955 with her first LP, Julie Is Her Name, released before the end of that year, with her second, Lonely Girl, though not issued until 1956, also recorded in 1955, and therefore available as well. Prism Leisure could have simply thrown the two 13-track albums together on a single CD, but instead the label has chosen 11 titles from Julie Is Her Name ("Cry Me a River," "I Should Care," "I'm in the Mood for Love," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "I Love You," "S'Wonderful," "Say It Isn't So," "It Never Entered My Mind," "No Moon at All," "Laura," and "Gone with the Wind") and nine from Lonely Girl ("How Deep Is the Ocean?," "All Alone," "Fools Rush In," "I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Where or When?," "Mean to Me," "When Your Lover Has Gone," and "Remember") and mixed them up on a 20-track, 46-minute disc with the unimaginative but probably inevitable title Cry Me a River (London's sole singles chart hit and signature song). This makes it at least the fourth Julie London album to be called Cry Me a River, but of course Prism Leisure couldn't care less about the confusion; if anything, it probably works to the company's advantage. Although taken from two different albums, the songs sound fine together. Julie Is Her Name used only guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Leatherwood as accompanists, while Lonely Girl cut that down to one musician, guitarist Al Caiola. More of a problem is that the spare arrangements allow lots of the pops and scratches from the LPs Prism Leisure used for the transfers to remain audible, meaning the sound quality here is not great. Also, as is typical of unlicensed reissues, the annotations are suspect, with "It Never Entered My Mind" mistakenly credited to Rodgers & Hammerstein instead of Rodgers & Hart, and poor David Raksin, composer of "Laura," having his name misspelled "Raskin" for the umpteenth time. Sticking to the original albums is a better idea, of course, but, as is also typical, the Prism Leisure disc is inexpensive.

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