Julie Andrews Sings [RCA]

by: Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews avoided the expected with her debut solo album, The Lass with the Delicate Air, recording a set of English folk songs rather than a collection of show tunes. For her second album, which followed shortly, she bowed to the inevitable, as the album cover pointedly followed the title, Julie Andrews Sings, with a list of the musical theater composers whose songs she was singing. Backed for the second time by the arrangements and conducting of Irwin Kostal, she applied her precisely pronounced English accent to the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, Lorenz Hart, Ivor Novello, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, E.Y. Harburg, Stanley Adams, Irving Berlin, Alan Jay Lerner, Cole Porter, and Noël Coward, and the melodies of Novello, Berlin, Porter, Coward, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Kurt Weill, and Frederick Loewe. Still only 22, she wasn't able (or wasn't coached) to apply much in the way of believable feeling to the songs, such that her best efforts were reserved for the British writers with whom she had the greatest familiarity, Novello ("We'll Gather Lilacs") and Coward ("Matelot"). Of course she also did respectable jobs with the American songwriting teams she had represented on Broadway and on television, Lerner & Loewe (a role-reversal take on "Come to Me, Bend to Me") and Rodgers & Hammerstein ("It Might as Well Be Spring"). But the collection could have used some livelier fare to set off the proper string-filled ballads, something of the flavor of Andrews' "Just You Wait" in My Fair Lady that would give her a chance to chew the scenery, and not just decorate it. Julie Andrews Sings demonstrated, if there had been any doubt, that Julie Andrews certainly could sing, but it didn't display all the ways she could sing. ~ William Ruhlmann

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