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Gay Purr-ee (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [feat. Robert Goulet]

Judy Garland

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Album Review

One of the lesser-known stops in the illustrious career of Judy Garland is likewise one of her most beloved by enthusiasts of all ages. Gay Purr-Ee was a 1962 full-length animated feature highlighted by voice-overs and vocals from Garland and Robert Goulet — as Mewsette and Jaune-Tom, a pair of Parisian felines — along with the inimitable Paul Frees (as Meowrice), whose unmistakable pipes have brought to life classic cartoon characters such as John Lennon in Yellow Submarine, Boris Badenov in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and everybody's favorite octopus, Squiddly Diddly, among countless others. Interestingly, it was not Disney Studios that created Gay Purr-Ee, but rather Warner Bros.' Chuck Jones and United Productions of America, a company founded in the midst of the infamous 1941 strike that put Disney at odds with their own animators. As inferred above, not only did the primary cast act out Jones' screenplay, but they sang a host of memorable compositions by none other than Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, the duo responsible for the score to The Wizard of Oz some two decades earlier in 1939. This expanded edition boasts an absolutely stunning remaster of the soundtrack and, arguably best of all, five never before released demos courtesy of Arlen that were tucked away in the Warner Bros. tape vaults. Although Garland's private demons had become public knowledge, her career was on another ascent. She had just won five Grammys for Judy at Carnegie Hall — a double-disc package of her April 1961 show at the venerable venue — and that same year had also been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Irene Hoffman in Stanley Kramer's Judgment at Nuremburg. Garland's confidence is evident throughout, especially on the enchanting ballad "Little Drops of Rain," the happy-go-lucky "Roses Red, Violets Blue," and the achingly poignant "Paris Is a Lonely Town" — any of which easily stands up against her voluminous cinematic repertoire. As for Goulet, who had just completed an extended stint on Broadway in Camelot, he is superb on the charming "Mewsette," and sports a slightly silly faux French accent on "The Horse Won't Talk." Indeed, both the film and subsequent soundtrack are full of fun for the entire family. For collectors, the bonus demos from Arlen should all but seal the deal.

Biography

Genre: Classics

Singer/actress Judy Garland had a varied career that began in vaudeville and extended into movies, records, radio, television, and personal appearances. She is best remembered as the big-voiced star of a series of movie musicals, particularly The Wizard of Oz, in which she sang her signature song, "Over the Rainbow." But unlike most other film stars of her era, she also maintained a career as a recording artist, and after her movie-making days were largely...
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