Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Art of the Cover - Julie London's "Julie Is Her Name Volume II" (1958)

Seems Julie's found a nice new black sweater to fill!

Yap, it's the sultry and successful collection of classics released by Julie back in 1958.

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.

-- allmusic.com


Blue Moon 2:20
What Is This Thing Called Love 1:47
How Long Has This Been Going On 2:46
Too Good To Be True 2:40
Spring Is Here 2:05
Goody Goody 1:55
The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else 2:00
If I'm Lucky 2:16
Hot Toddy 1:45
Little White Lies 2:45
I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan 1:50
I Got Lost In His Arms 2:05

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