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Julie London: About The Blues

Jim Santella By

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All sixteen tracks on this album have been issued previously on the Liberty label; however, the first twelve appeared on one album, while the others appeared on other vinyl releases. Julie London interpreted the blues in her own sweet way, and this collection brings them together. What makes About The Blues so special, however, is the impact Bobby Troup had on the music. Each arrangement, while focusing on her smooth contralto delivery, partners London with a well-balanced orchestra that swings hard. Their sound is full and the accompaniment contains fills from alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, muted trumpet, and more. Section work moves back and forth between low brass, screeching trumpets and mellow woodwinds. Strings are present at times, but it’s not overdone.

The first twelve tracks were released in 1957. Troup and London were married on New Year’s Eve, 1959. Their musical collaboration, however, was already in place for About The Blues. Two of Troup’s compositions appeared on the original, and one more is added here. It was through his encouragement that London sought a perfect accompaniment for her recordings. Troup’s “The Blues is all I Ever Had,” for instance, opens with light woodwind tones over a walking bass and maintains a minimalist accompaniment. “Blues in the Night,” on the other hand, wails with a Count Basie attitude, employing individual soloists to join the singer, while a full band creates an impressively round sound. Julie London’s vocal interpretations prove all the more satisfying in the company of these stellar band arrangements.

Track Listing: Basin Street Blues; I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues; A Nightingale Can Sing the Blues; Get Set for the Blues; Invitation to the Blues; Bye Bye Blues; Meaning of the Blues; About the Blues; Sunday Blues; The Blues is All I Ever Had; Blues in the Night; Bouquet of Blues; Baby, Baby, All the Time; Shadow Woman; Meaning of the Blues (45 single take); Dark.

Personnel: Julie London- vocals; Russ Garcia and a studio orchestra; The Spencer-Hagan Orchestra for “Dark.”

Title: About The Blues | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Capitol Records

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