In 1992, Capitol Records released the third disc of its 1991 Judy Garland box set, The One & Only, a disc titled The London Sessions, as a separate album, confusing consumers by adding the phrases "The Best of the Capitol Masters" (which implied the album was a hits collection) and "Selections from The One & Only Box Set" (which implied it condensed the entire set) to the cover; some retailers have mistakenly filed the album under one or the other of those names. This was only the latest in a convoluted history for the recordings enclosed. In 1960, following a near-fatal bout with hepatitis, Garland mounted another comeback by returning to The London Palladium. While in England, she cut 20 tracks with conductor Norrie Paramor, but when she returned home, Capitol Records didn't know what to do with them. Half the songs were ones she had already put out on Capitol, sometimes in the same arrangements. Most of the others were staples of her repertoire; basically, she had just recorded her concert set. Capitol dribbled the material out, putting some of it on singles and culling six tracks for the odds-and-ends album The Garland Touch in 1962. In 1971, all 20 tracks were issued as Judy in London through the Capitol Record Club, a release later reissued through the Capitol Special Markets budget division. The London Sessions is the same 20 tracks, resequenced. But now, they do come across as something of a best-of collection. Garland isn't in her best voice, but her breathy raggedness adds emotional fervor to her renditions. And the material includes some of her signature songs: "Over the Rainbow," "The Man That Got Away," "The Trolley Song," and more, plus some familiar concert favorites. This is a late reconsideration of her standard repertoire, and a masterful one.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann