Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Calendar Girl was an LP album by Julie London, released by Liberty Records under catalog number SL-9002 in 1956. In keeping with the title, each of the first twelve tracks had a month in its title, completing the album with a song entitled "Thirteenth Month." Two of the songs were composed especially for this album by London's husband, Bobby Troup, who also produced the album, as he did many of her albums.
Jazz critic Will Friedwald has stated that Julie London's records were so popular in the 1950s mainly because she looked so drop-dead gorgeous on the album covers. The marketing hook behind Calendar Girl may just be the main example for those critical of London's musical career, since its sleeve has made it a prized collector's item. The famous wraparound cover depicts cheesecake shots of London posed for every month of the year, while original issues of the album included a more-than-suggestive insert photo of the singer stretched out in bed. While Friedwald's correct about London's physical beauty, he's wrong in suggesting that the vocalist didn't have the talent to go along with her looks. Like Chet Baker, Julie London had an extremely limited vocal range but she did the most with what she had, possessing a special knack for torch songs that cast her in the role of a woman constantly being destroyed by love in general and by men in particular.
The cover concept of Calendar Girl is carried over from the concept album, which features a narrative of romance lost and found for each month of the year before ending with one final tune called "The Thirteenth Month" (which is illustrated by that insert picture of London in bed). Since there aren't quality standards for every month of the year, one of Calendar Girl's pleasures can be found in the numbers written especially for the album, particularly those penned by Bobby Troup, London's husband. The jazz-oriented Troup hit pay dirt with such fine compositions as "Route 66," "Daddy," and "The Meaning of the Blues," but too few of his smart, witty songs have been widely recorded. Calendar Girl is a fun, if often bittersweet, ride and a must-have for fans of classic vocal pop and lounge music.
Thankfully, EMI has reissued this album on CD in a two-fer package with the more traditional London session Your Number Please.., which, oddly enough, also features a very suggestive photo of London in bed.
Calendar Girl, an Lp with twelve songs, six on each side, one for each month of the year (there's another version of this lp with an extra song thrown in... I think the British edition must have logically thrown that one back out... or something) and on the cover Julie London herself poses in idiomatic costume twelve times, one for each month.
Maybe it was her famous Cry me a River turning up on the V for Vendetta soundtrack that brought her recently back to mind. That was a track from her first Lp, which had a pristine and perfect pared down accompanimant of only guitar (the first rate jazz guitarist Barney Kessel) and base, and was a big success against the odds in the year that rock'n'roll arrived in the public consciousness, 1955. It was produced, as were her first handful of albums, by her husband Bobby Troup, himself famous as writer of the song Route 66. Her second album, Lonely Girl was even more sparse, with just a soft guitar. Calendar Girl was her third, and an orchestra was brought in this time. Half of the numbers were standards and the rest were written specially including two by Troup himself and two by the guy who wrote Cry me a River.
While googling around i found a chap named Godfrey King mulling over one of these,
'FEBRUARY BRINGS THE RAIN' (Troup)
breaks the Winter's icy chain,
that's a song I heard so long ago"
I think he must have been recalling Sara Coleridge's (1802 - 1852) poem known as 'The Months'...the second line goes
"February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again". It is at least an adaption from it and, as her father ST Coleridge
is my favourite poet , the song becomes a shared memory beautifully sung by Julie.
the album affects people like that.
I recently was able to retrieve it to some extent when it appeared on a cd, but it was paired with her 1959 album which had an orchestra arranged and conducted by a young Andre Previn in a godawful syrupy style. After Calendar Girl they started mucking about trying to find a winning approach, and there was an occasional return to form, but the 1955-57 albums are the best. My favourite Chet Baker session went for the same kind of simplicty. Dated 1957 it was probably carefully taking note of London's first outing. That's on Embraceable You. The record company apparently decided that wasn't saleable and put it in the vault for thirty eight years.
I scanned the above piccies from the cd booklet, but there's a site here with a far superior scan of the original lp sleeve, and lots of information on Julie London and her recordings.
My brain turned to Calendar Girl in 1997 when I needed a story for the Bacchus serial Banged Up. The set-up was that Bacchus was in jail and each of the various characters he meets there has his own story. Thus the book becomes a little set of short crime stories, including the man who killed santa Claus, the punk who pissed on the grave of Elvis, etc. This story was titled The Snatching of Miss July. An old inmate finds that his favourite pin up has been stolen out of a calendar that he has kept for years. The other pinups comment on the stituation:
Miss June: "I was looking the other way at the time."
Miss August: "It happened right under my nose but I aint saying nothin. More than my life's worth."
Miss December: "you ask me, she got what she deserved. She was so up herself, all that flag wavin' an' bugle blowin'."
It turns out in the end that Miss July was the old geezer's wife of twenty-odd years ago, and he's still doing time for her murder.
The attraction of the story was that I was able to draw on one of Pete Mullins' strengths, the depiction of that kind of period style cheesecake, and have him do a great deal of the art on that chapter. We had a lot of fun with it. You can just see my drawings of Bacchus and his cockeyed mayhem behind the pin-up of Miss January, which appears to have been left lying over the artwork. It wasn't unlike the kind of tricks Eisner used to pull in the great days of the Spirit. [Source: http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.com]
01. "June in January" Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin
02. "February Brings the Rain" Bobby Troup
03. "Melancholy March" Dory Langdon
04. "I'll Remember April" Gene de Paul/Patricia Johnston/Don Raye
05. "People Who Are Born in May" Earl Brent
06. "Memphis in June" Hoagy Carmichael/Paul Francis Webster
07. "Sleigh Ride in July" Johnny Burke/James Van Heusen
08. "Time for August" Arthur Hamilton
09. "September in the Rain" Harry Warren/Al Dubin
10. "This October" Bobby Troup
11. "November Twilight" Paul Francis Webster
12. "Warm in December" Bob Russell
13. "Thirteenth Month" Arthur Hamilton