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Album Review: Judy Is 100 & Rufus Wainwright Takes 12 Tracks To Remind Us All With RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS

Album Review: Judy Is 100 & Rufus Wainwright Takes 12 Tracks To Remind Us All With RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS

Is The Third Time A Charm?

Album Review: Judy Is 100 & Rufus Wainwright Takes 12 Tracks To Remind Us All With RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS

Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, Bobby Patrick, your rainbow reviewer is back in CD-Land to offer another broken-down breakdown of a new music release. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

So my lovelies, We all know that this is the YEAR OF JUDY. Our beloved Ms. Garland's 100'th birthday is being celebrated this entire year in cabaret/nightclubs, in the recording studios, and especially on TCM. We have so much Judy in NYC that you can't swing a sparkly red pump without hitting some drag artiste lipsynching to THE TROLLY SONG. Rufus Wainwright is not a drag artiste, but for 2022 he has thrown his musical hat in the ring and produced RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS. Whether this is just the inspiration of the moment, this birthday year, or is intended as a follow-up to his two other 2007 Judy salutes - RUFUS DOES Judy Garland AT Carnegie Hall and the DVD released special: RUFUS! RUFUS! RUFUS! DOES JUDY! JUDY! JUDY!: LIVE FROM THE LONDON PALLADIUM - you have to admit that this is a whole lotta Judy from just one singer. To be fair, the Carnegie Hall tribute was a big hit, and that's just great for him and those who bought it and got into it. Paying homage to an idol is almost part & parcel of the work of musical artistes with the kind of staying power of a Wainwright. Well, goody-goody, we say, and wasn't that a fun exercise 15 years ago?

But now it's 2022 and Rufus Wainwright has come out with yet another Judy Garland salute album - this one, a sort of studio cast recording of a virtual concert he did that aired on the VEEPS network in 2021. Even though it was a virtual concert with one audience member, Renée Zellweger, RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS was to celebrate Judy's 99th Birthday... how clever. Rufus and Renée and Judy's birthday. Now, the show biz rule is a joke is good three times, but not four. So this latest venture IS the third time, and, if you ask Little Bobby, it should be the last time.

To be clear my lambs, RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS is a perfectly fine album. Bobby liked it, but we didn't LOVE it - It ain't great, but it doesn't blow either... It's fine. This album is for RW's fans and those are the peeps who will buy and probably treasure this recording. Those of us who are Judy fans might like a cut or two here, but in the long run, we can just go listen to our treasured Judy albums and be more satisfied. We cannot be the people he had in mind when making this album because Judy fans know better than to buy a Rufus Wainwright singing Judy Garland album because we own all of Judy's. Even though Rufus Wainwright is a fine performer that many of us like a lot, he has now done three Judy Garland projects and we, her fans, are just more prone to listen to Judy.

So why does Rufus Wainwright keep doing this? Because his fans will buy anything he does - FAB! Couldn't he just go back to recording his own original music and leave Judy Garland alone? How many times does he intend to back his truck up to this loading dock? TBH, yours truly has never found RW's voice interesting enough to take on the Judy Garland catalogue. When he sings he tends to slide up and slide down, scooping into notes where he lands just a tiny bit under the pitch much of the time, and, for the most part, he sounds emotion deprived. Here he goes again, singing the songs of one of the most emotionally present singers of all time, and Rufus Wainwright just ain't up to it. His fans will love it because they are fans and they love him, but the rest of the world, especially Judy Garland fans, will just be uninterested in this mostly uninteresting performance. The production is good, the band sounds great, the arrangements are good-ish, in as much as they are mostly lifted from the originals, sometimes fluffed up a little to make them different. The guitar-arranged HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON is the most original on the album and gets our callout as a highlight for sure. The bottom line - Rufus Wainwright just ain't Judy Garland - and in a year of people singing Judy Garland music in honor of Judy Garland's 100th, what's the point of this album?

For twelve tracks, Rufus Wainwright goes from uptempos like COME RAIN OR COME SHINE, PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ, and JUST YOU, JUST ME to the ballads; A FOGGY DAY, and ALONE TOGETHER and his fans will, no doubt, Get Happy to support his work when hearing them since he tries very hard and actually makes some solid successes here and there, especially with a (surprisingly) peppy and belt-y JUST YOU, JUST ME. This number, in fact, and the follow-up ballad YOU'RE NEARER kind of make a person wonder why the rest of the album wasn't as good as these two cuts, why Rufus Wainwright wasn't able to step up to the Garland plate with the kind of life-affirming energy that the lady herself brought to everything... something that is unfortunately clarified during the live HAPPY DAYS/GET HAPPY duet with Kristin Chenoweth, whose performance only serves to shine a light on the fact that Rufus Wainwright should make this the last Judy Garland tribute project that he does, so he can go back to doing what he does best: original Rufus Wainwright material, tailor-made and just right for Wainwright.

So my dearlings, if you are a Rufus fan, you should pick this one up, but for Little Bobby, we can only give this album...

2 Out Of 5 Rainbows

RUFUS DOES JUDY AT CAPITOL STUDIOS is a 2022 release on the BMG label and is available on all digital platforms

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