Julie London / Whatever Julie Wants

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  • What Julie Wants finally arrives on the site with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus side two married with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one
  • Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Liberty pressings are overflowing with it
  • This may be the last good sounding Julie London record we know of – she still had it going on in 1961, and so did her engineers
  • “. . . a fun album and one that can be enjoyed for its individual songs or its narrative thrust. . . undeniably entertaining and it offers a Technicolor sex comedy break from her usual world of shadowy film noir.”

Having done this for so long, we understand and appreciate that rich, full, solid, Tubey Magical sound is key to the presentation of this primarily vocal music. We rate these qualities higher than others we might be listening for (e.g., bass definition, soundstage, depth, etc.).

The music is not so much about the details in the recording, but rather in trying to recreate a solid, palpable, real Julie London singing live in your listening room. The best copies have an uncanny way of doing just that.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of older recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but less than one out of 100 new records do, if our experience with the hundreds we’ve played can serve as a guide.

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Liberty pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambiance, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made that sound like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually is a CD of this album, and youtube videos of it too, but those of us with a good turntable simply could not care less.

What the Best Sides of Whatever Julie Wants Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1961
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Whatever Julie Wants

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Note-like bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Why Don’t You Do Right
My Heart Belongs To Daddy
Hard Hearted Hannah
Do It Again
Take Back Your Mink
Diamond’s Are A Girl’s Best Friend

Side Two

Daddy
An Occasional Man
Love For Sale
Always True To You In My Fashion
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
Tired

AMG  Review

Julie London was equally famous for her cool vocal style and her rather cold beauty. She normally specialized in torch songs, singing bleak songs of lost love, but on Whatever Julie Wants, London plays the part of a vampish sexpot who treats love as a commodity to trade with wealthy men. Sure, it’s a sexist album that’s more famous for its cheesecake sleeve photo of London naked under fur, diamonds, money, and a strategically placed champagne bottle, but it is a fun album and one that can be enjoyed for its individual songs or its narrative thrust.

While most concept albums featuring popular standards don’t really follow a strict story line, Whatever Julie Wants does. It begins with the protagonist uttering an innocent lover’s plea before mistreatment turns her into a jaded gold digger (“Daddy” and a host of other tracks), then a prostitute (“Love for Sale”), and a step up to kept woman (“Always True to You in My Fashion”). Just as things are looking bad, London finally realizes that you can live without a man and his money with “There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” because the onetime temptress is just too darn “Tired.” This may not be Julie London’s finest musical hour, but the album is undeniably entertaining and it offers a Technicolor sex comedy break from her usual world of shadowy film noir.

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