Julie London – Julie Is Her Name, Volume 2

More Julie London

More Pop and Jazz Vocal Albums

xxxxx

xxxxx

  • The superb follow-up to Julie’s stunning debut finally arrives on the site with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side two mated with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one
  • No marks are audible, and the vinyl is about as quiet as any Black Label Liberty stereo pressing we’ve ever played, which makes this a very special copy indeed
  • On a copy this good, London will appear as a living, breathing (albeit disembodied) person right in your very own listening room. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades
  • Every three to five years or so we run into a copy that plays this quietly and sounds this good – the last one was in 2018, so if you have a few years to wait, you can be sure there will be another coming down the pike
  • 4 stars: ” London’s breathy vocals aren’t that different [from her debut], but she seems more confident and she swings more, even on the ballads. . . This album was also better recorded than London’s debut and the release has a fuller, richer sound to it.”

The reliably brilliant Ted Keep was the engineer for these sessions from 1958. The stereo tape came out in 1958, along with the mono LP, but those of you who wanted a stereo record had to wait until 1959!

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.

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 Volume Two of Julie Is Her Name 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 1959
  • 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 Julie Is Her Name, Volume 2

  • 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.
  • Tight punchy 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

Blue Moon
What Is This Thing Called Love
How Long Has This Been Going On
Too Good To Be True
Spring Is Here
Goody Goody

Side Two

The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
If I’m Lucky
Hot Toddy
Little White Lies
I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan
I Got Lost In His Arms

AMG 4 Star Review

Three years after her debut, Julie Is Her Name, Julie London returned to the intimate jazz guitar and bass backing that resulted in a Top Ten album and single (the still-popular “Cry Me a River”). You can almost see the cigar-smoking executives at Liberty Records planning this one out — “Hey, if the public loved it the first time, they’re bound to love it again, right?” Well, to give the cigar-chompers some credit, Julie London favored this backing for her live performances and she originally had to fight to be able to record with this intimate jazz backing. Plus, every uptown singer — from Johnny Mathis to Chet Baker to Sarah Vaughan — was recording with a guitar/bass duo after Julie Is Her Name hit big, so why not the lady who started it all?

For once, pandering to the public equaled taking the artistic high road, because while Julie Is Her Name, Vol. 2 may not be as fresh or unexpected as its predecessor, it actually stands up as a slightly stronger album. London’s breathy vocals aren’t that different, but she seems more confident and she swings more, even on the ballads. Howard Roberts may not have been a “name guitarist” like Barney Kessel, who played on the debut, but his work here is strong and bassist Red Mitchell lays an entire rhythm section worth of foundation for London to stretch out on. This album was also better recorded than London’s debut and the release has a fuller, richer sound to it. Since the plunging-neckline album cover to London’s debut was talked about as much as the music, Liberty Records decided to continue the concept by literally putting spotlight beams on the famed beauty’s chest. Thankfully, Julie London had enough jazz credentials and focused vocal talent that such blatant cheesecake shots remain of secondary importance to the music contained on the album.

Leave a Reply