Smoky Julie (1926 - 2000) with her sultry come-hither vocal intimacy, has been well-served by CD reissues of her many fine albums, but this Sepia release does us all a favour by rounding up two-dozen tracks released by the glamorous chanteuse during the period 1955-1961 when she also waxed her most enduring hit CRY ME A RIVER. Unlike that centre-piece of numerous multi-artist compilations, these singles arrived on the scene only to be virtually forgotten as they disappeared from view despite being excellent examples from the singer's song catalogue. Even worse, many failed to gain UK release. Such reasons for obscurity make them doubly worth reappraising.
Film themes SADDLE THE WIND, MAN OF THE WEST and VOICE IN THE MIRROR (the latter co-written by Julie with husband Bobby Troup) relate to movies in which Julie appeared although I have no idea if she actually sang them on-screen or over the credits. However, as eye candy who could actually act, her presence in any film was a welcome bonus for the viewer. I'LL CRY TOMORROW, a bio-pic, starred Susan Hayward and obviously Julie picked up on the movie's theme.
Other Bobby Troup numbers include the jazzy BABY, BABY ALL THE TIME, the cosy I'D LIKE YOU FOR CHRISTMAS, TELL ME YOU'RE HOME, MY STRANGE AFFAIR whilst THE FRESHMAN was co-written with Julie and their rarity is understandable as presumably they were written specifically for his wife. MUST BE CATCHIN' has a FEVER type tempo, mood and arrangement attached, whilst Frank Loesser's MY DARLING,MY DARLING is putty within Julie's vocal prowess. Her first recordings released on the Bethlehem label in 1953 - A FOGGY DAY, DON'T WORRY 'BOUT ME, YOU'RE BLASE and traditional SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD - are very welcome additions to this collection.
Overall, there are a few big-band/chorus tracks but Julie generally gains more when accompanied by a small group of musicians.Sepia's excellent remastering, notes and high-level presentation help make this a noteworthy release.