Friday, June 25, 2010

Maine Man Releases Rare Judy Garland Recordings

06/24/2010 Reported By: Keith Shortall

Two years ago, we introduced you to Lawrence Schulman, a music historian, collector and critic from Mount Desert Island who had put together an sizable anthology of Judy Garland recordings. This summer Schulman will help release a new collection of Garland's work, including several rare recordings made when she was just 12 years old -- which, until now, have never been broadcast.

For those of you who are under the age of 50, this song, "On the Good Ship Lollypop", became the trademark song, not for Judy Garland, but for another child star by the name of Shirley Temple, who sang it in the 1934 film "Bright Eyes." This particular version, at this moment being broadcast for the first time ever, was recorded as a demo for Decca records on March 29th, 1935. It features a 12-year-old Judy Garland, accompanied on piano by her mother, Ethel Gumm.
"These recordings were rejected by Decca at the time and were probably given back to the family," says Mount Desert Island-based music historian Lawrence Schulman. Schulman says what's also remarkable is that these demo recordings were actually pulled from the trash outside Garland's Los Angeles home in 1960 by a woman named Dorothy Kapano.
"She had gone to London that year and her house in Los Angeles had been sold, and the renovaters were taking stuff out and Dorothy Kapano -- unbelievably -- happened to be going by and found these old recordings on the street and picked them up and kept them and didn't know, really, what they were until about 2003. She had died in the meantime, her daughter had inherited them. The daughter, whose name was Cynthia, didn't really know what these recordings were, what these two records she had were, until about 2003."
Schulman says another solo recording from that 1935 session -- "Bill" -- also being broadcast here for the first time ever, demonstrates the remarkable maturity of Garland's voice, even at the age of 12. He says it's hard to believe that Decca turned them down.
"I've been collecting Garland recordings for several decades and I had never heard these before, and when I put them in my CD player, I didn't have time to get back to the couch to listen to them because I found them so moving, so incredible for a 12-year-old that it's incomprehensible for me to think that Decca at the time rejected them," Schulman says. "But on the other hand, here you have a 12-year-old girl, completely unknown, and they felt that there really was no place for her at Decca records. In any case she was signed on to Decca two years later in '37, although her first recording at Decca dates from 1936. But it's astounding in view of the quality of these recordings that Decca rejected them, no I can't -- it's impossible."

Keith Shortall: "Even at the age of 12, at that point, she was no stranger to performing."

Lawrence Schulman: "She was born in '22, but she was on stage at the age of two-and-a-half, so by 1935 when she did the Decca test, she had been on stage, actually, for a good decade, so she had a lot of experience and actually that experience you can feel in the Decca tests already."

KS: "And a couple of the other recordings that you shared with me have been broadcast at least once before, for example on the "Bob Hope Pepsodent Hour."

LS: "Yes, most of the recordings on "Judy Garland -- Lost Tracks" are radio recordings, and all of those radio recordings were once broadcast, but what's different between this new set and the one I did two years ago is that this new set has an astounding number of never-previously-issued recordings. There are a 100 tracks in all, but 55 have never been released, so its rather historic."

KS: "Thank you very much."
LS: "Thank you."
Lawrence Schulman of Mount Desert Island has compiled and annotated a new four-CD box set called "Judy Garland -- Lost Tracks", an entirely remastered collection of rare and never-released tracks, including 100 performances on radio, stage and film betwen 1929 and 1959. The collection on JSP Records, will be released in the United Kindgom on August 2nd.

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