- An excellent copy of Julie London’s 1956 classic featuring solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout
- Both of these mono sides have plenty of Tubey Magic – they’re fuller, more musical and more natural than many of the copies we’ve played over the years, especially the reissues, but it sure is hard to find them quiet enough for audiophiles
- Julie’s voice sounds particularly nice on this copy – intimate, rich and warm, just as the way we like her to sound
- 4 Stars: “… Julie London had an extremely limited vocal range but she did the most with what she had, possessing a special knack for torch songs that cast her in the role of a woman constantly being destroyed by love in general and by men in particular.”
- If you’re a fan of Miss London’s, or vintage Pop and Jazz Vocals in general, this 1956 release belongs in your collection
- The complete list of titles from 1956 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.
This vintage Liberty mono pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage 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 maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides Of Calendar Girl 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 1956
- 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.
Get the volume right and Julie will appear right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime. This early pressing also has the midrange magic that’s no doubt missing from whatever 180g reissue might be available. This one is guaranteed to be dramatically more REAL sounding. It will give you the sense that Julie London is right in front of you.
She’s no longer a recording — she’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. Her voice is so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.
This record is the very definition 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 couldn’t care less.
What We’re Listening For On Calendar Girl
- 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.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
June In January
February Brings The Rain
I’ll Remember April
People Who Are Born In May
Memphis In June
Sleigh Ride In July
Time For August
September In The Rain
The Thirteenth Month
AMG 4 Star Review
Jazz critic Will Friedwald has stated that Julie London’s records were so popular in the 1950s mainly because she looked so drop-dead gorgeous on the album covers. The marketing hook behind Calendar Girl may just be the main example for those critical of London’s musical career, since its sleeve has made it a prized collector’s item. The famous wraparound cover depicts cheesecake shots of London posed for every month of the year, while original issues of the album included a more-than-suggestive insert photo of the singer stretched out in bed.
While Friedwald’s correct about London’s physical beauty, he’s wrong in suggesting that the vocalist didn’t have the talent to go along with her looks. Like Chet Baker, Julie London had an extremely limited vocal range but she did the most with what she had, possessing a special knack for torch songs that cast her in the role of a woman constantly being destroyed by love in general and by men in particular.
The cover concept of Calendar Girl is carried over from the concept album, which features a narrative of romance lost and found for each month of the year before ending with one final tune called “The Thirteenth Month” (which is illustrated by that insert picture of London in bed). Since there aren’t quality standards for every month of the year, one of Calendar Girl’s pleasures can be found in the numbers written especially for the album, particularly those penned by Bobby Troup, London’s husband.
The jazz-oriented Troup hit pay dirt with such fine compositions as “Route 66,” “Daddy,” and “The Meaning of the Blues,” but too few of his smart, witty songs have been widely recorded. Calendar Girl is a fun, if often bittersweet, ride and a must-have for fans of classic vocal pop and lounge music.