Side One: Mint Minus Minus (barely)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (barely)
- Julie's debut finally arrives on the site with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- The vocal naturalness and immediacy of this early Liberty pressing will put Julie in the room with you - more than anything else, it lets her performance come to life
- The naturalness of the presentation puts this album right at the top of best-sounding female vocal albums of all time
- 4 stars: "Her debut is her best, a set of fairly basic interpretations of standards in which she is accompanied tastefully by guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Leatherwood."
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John Krauss engineered brilliantly. He's the man behind many of Julie London's best recordings, albums such as Calendar Girl, Julie... At Home and Around Midnight.
He also did some wonderful albums for Peggy Lee.
Listen to how rich the bottom end is on Barney Kessel’s guitar. The Tubey Magic here is off the charts. Some copies can be dry, but that is clearly not a problem on this one.
To take nothing away from her performance, which got better with every copy we played. Julie’s rendition of Cry Me a River may be definitive.
If only Ella Fitzgerald on Clap Hands got this kind of sound! As good as the best copies of that album are, this record takes the concept of intimate female vocals to an entirely new level.
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 Julie's Wonderful Debut 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 1955
- 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.
Mono Versus Stereo
This is the kind of record that the mono cartridge owners of the world worship, with good reason: the sound is amazing. But you don’t need a mono cartridge to hear how good, in fact how much better, this copy sounds than the stereo pressing.
The recording is mono, which means that the stereo pressings are actually reprocessed into stereo. Not too surprisingly the sound is terrible.
What We're Listening For on Julie Is Her Name
- 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 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.
A Must Own Vocal Album
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Vocal Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Cry Me A River
- I Should Care
- I'm In The Mood For Love
- I'm Glad There Is You
- Can't Help Lovin' That Man
- I Love You
- Say It Isn't So
- It Never Entered My Mind
- Easy Street
- S' Wonderful
- No Moon At All
- Gone With The Wind
AMG 4 Star Review
For a time, Julie London was as famous for her sexy album covers as for her singing. Her debut is her best, a set of fairly basic interpretations of standards in which she is accompanied tastefully by guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Leatherwood. "Cry Me a River" from this album, was her biggest hit, and her breathy versions of such numbers as "I Should Care," "Say It Isn't So," "Easy Street," and "Gone with the Wind" are quite haunting.
Java’s Bachelor Pad Review
Julie London once said of her vocal style, “It’s only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to a microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”
Nothing could be more true of her debut album, Julie is Her Name. London, backed only by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass creates one of the purest, most subtle lounge albums of all times (not to mention one of the best vocal jazz albums ever). Her tormented version of “Cry Me A River” became her biggest hit and became the gold standard for all future versions of the song.
Born to a song-and-dance family, London grew up with music all around her. Although she decided to pursue the acting side of show business, she never lost her love of music. During her marriage to Jack Webb (of Dragnet fame), her love of jazz and going out to nightclubs grew. With a little prodding from her soon-to-be second husband Bobby Troup (who is famous for penning “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66”), London took that leap from nightclub patron to nightclub performer.
In the liner notes to the Julie Is Her Name, London was referred to as the “the girl with the ‘come hither’ voice.” Add to that a little cheesecake on the front cover and London’s sultry image was complete. Produced by Troup, Julie Is Her Name pushed London into the musical spotlight. Although London kept recording into the late 60’s, nothing matched the beautiful simplicity and warmth of her first album.