Young gun con­jures the ghost of Gar­land ’ s tri­umph

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Iain Shed­den

ON April 23, 1961, Judy Gar­land stepped on

York’s to the stage of New Carnegie Hall and de­liv­ered a per­for­mance that re­vived her ca­reer. The re­sult­ing dou­ble album, Judy at Carnegie Hall , won five Gram­mys and re­mains one of the all- time great live

It’ s record­ings. un­likely Ru­fus Wain­wright can em­u­late that suc­cess, but he has made a rea­son­able fist of repli­cat­ing the drama and

Gar­land’s mu­si­cal flour­ish of night of tri­umph. The 25 stan­dards here, from the open­ing

The Trol­ley Song to the Chicago finale, were recorded over two nights in June 2006. As­sisted by a 36- piece orches­tra and a hand­ful of guests, the Cana­dian- Amer­i­can singer is clearly en­joy­ing ev­ery minute. His the­atri­cal­ity has in­flu­enced some of his own ma­te­rial on al­bums such as

Want One, Want Two and Re­lease the Stars , al­beit in a

There’s sub­dued man­ner. n o room for sub­tlety on Broad­way, how­ever, and Wain­wright hams it up here on Swa­nee,

’ ’ Put­tin on the Ritz and When You re Smil­ing ( The Whole World Smiles With You) like he was born to it; per­haps he was. In one of many hu­mor­ous asides he re­calls how his mother Kate McGar­rigle ( who plays pi­ano here on

Over the Rain­bow ) would wheel out her young son to sing at par­ties when she wanted peo­ple to leave. Clearly, he has de­vel­oped. Also join­ing the party are Wain­wright’ s

sis­ter Martha ( Stormy Weather ) Gar­land’ s and daugh­ter Lorna Luft, who gives

’ an emo­tional read­ing of Af­ter You ve Gone . The album is an in­dul­gence on his part, of course, and by the end, 25 show tunes seems like sev­eral too many. Still, Wain­wright is one of the few mod­ern- day singer- song­writ­ers who could pull off such a de­mand­ing ex­er­cise. For those who wish to see as well as hear it, a DVD of his Lon­don per­for­mance of the same show,

Ru­fus! Ru­fus! Ru­fus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! Live from the Lon­don Pal­la­dium is also avail­able.

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