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Rufus Does Judy (2008)

Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Does Judy

Geffen Records

Notes on the program
- by Kate McGarrigle

Somewhere, under a pile of papers there’s a photo of a woman holding a huge banjo leaning over a baby who is sitting up looking at the woman. The baby looks slightly distressed. He isn’t smiling. There seem to be a look of doubt in his eyes – who is this person and what is this noisy metallic thumping instrument she’s playing at me? I’m not sure I like this.

Fast forward a bunch of years.  This same woman is trying to teach this same baby, a little boy now, how to sing a “folk song”; she’s playing the same banjo and the same look is in the child’s eyes. He is not smiling. The woman grows sad and (pouring herself a large scotch) goes to the piano to express her sadness by singing the songs that were really, truly, deeply rooted within her – not the ones handed down thru generations of share-croppers, about old Smokey mountains or murders on the Ohio River, but rather the ones that were written in the heart of New York City – songs filled with diminished chords, and augmented with lots of black notes on the piano. These were he songs she heard when she was the boy’s age, sung by her mother and father – songs by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter. There were songs about life on the Wabash River, but it was a life imagined from a photo in someone’s smoke-filled office, several stories above a noisy Manhattan street. These were the songs she would sing for solace….

Then, a funny thing happened. The boy came over to the woman to console her, and when she looked into his eyes, that look of doubt had disappeared: there was a smile on his face and he said to her, “teach me that, that’s what I want to learn.” She dried her tears, swallowed her disappointment, turned the banjo to the wall and taking a deep breath said, “OK, we’ll start with the best of the bunch in my opinion. It’s called ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow.’”

The boy was Rufus Wainwright, the woman with the banjo was me, his mother. The photo was taken by Rufus’ late grandfather Loudon, who would, if he were here tonight, be singing along on every one of these songs as he most likely sang along that night, back in April, 1961, sitting with his wife Martha, somewhere out there in this very same hall.

– Kate McGarrigle  

Somewhere near the end of Manhattan, Woody Allen offers a list of things that make life worth living: Willie Mays playing baseball, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, “those incredible apples and pears by Cezanne.” It’s really a list of what he describes earlier in the film as God’s answers to Job, the instances of perfection which make up for the broader errors of our shared experience. I am fine with Allen’s offering, but would add to it Rufus Wainwright’s music.

As it finest, music works is way into our own personal narratives. It evokes our loves and losses, our low hours and our moments of flight, until one day, looking back, it seems as though our lives have been actively scoring themselves all along, as if some part of the human soul was made to seek out its own mirror chords from the start.

Rufus Wainwright’s music is exactly this sort of music. His is the haunting melody of Poses; the tragic triumph of Fourteenth Street; the gorgeous wreck of Old Whore’s Diet; the aching lament of Angus Dei. The yearning redemption of Beautiful Child. I could go on and on. We all could, because at this most beautiful Wainwright’s music is not his at all – the final arranger is the listener, who in weaving the progressions into their own experience takes the work to completion.

It follows that there are many reasons to love these recordings of the concert at Carnegie Hall. The arresting beauty of Wainwright’s voice, the passionate homage to Judy Garland, the winking camp of it all. And yet for me, this particular feat is most remarkable as broad counterpoint to the resonant lament of Wainwright’s last album, Release The Stars. “I’m so tired of America,” he sang giving voice to that peculiar weariness that so many of us now feel, a weariness not of all Americans but this America, this flawed interlude from which we see incapable of escape. A deep weariness, but one born of love.

Rufus Wainwright at Carnegie Hall is a wonderful reminder of the possibility of a different America. These are songs that evoke Cadillacs and Ocean Liners. This is music that takes us somewhere back beyond the rainbow to a time before Vietnam, Watergate, Iran Contra and Iraq. To a time when it seemed impossible that anyone, anywhere could ever tire of America. And when the last of this music has passed through Wainwright’s Orphean being and taken on his inimitable style, it settles like all the rest of his distinct wonders into our lives, in these times. It redeems so much of the rest, just like Willie Mays, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, and those incredible pears and apples painted by Cezanne.
– Dana Vachon    

Part One:

1) Overture:
The Trolley Song / Over The Rainbow /
The Man That Got Away

(B. Martin/H. Arlen - E.Y. Harburg/H. Arlen – I. Gershwin)
EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. (ASCAP) / EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. (ASCAP) / Harwin Music Corp., WB Music Corp. O/B/O New World Music Co LTD. (ASCAP)

2) When You’re Smiling
(The Whole World Smiles With You)

(L. Shay, M. Fisher, J. Goodwin)
EMI Mills Music Inc. (ASCAP), Songwriters Guild of America O/B/O Music By Shay (ASCAP) 

3) Medley: Almost Like Being In Love/This Can’t Be Love

(F. Loewe-A.J. Lerner/B. Rogers, L. Hart)
EMI April Music O/B/O The Jay Lerner Heirs Foundation (ASCAP)/Chappell & Co., Williamson Music Co. (ASCAP)

4. Do It Again
(G. Gershwin, B.G. DeSylva)
WB Music Corp, Songwriters Guild of America O/B/O Stephen Ballantine Music (ASCAP)

5. You Go To My Head

(J.F. Coots, H. Gillespie)
Haven Gillespie Music Publishing, WB Music Corp., O/B/O Toy Town Toons (ASCAP) 

6. Alone Together
(A. Schwartz, H. Dietz)
WB Music Corp., Bienstock Publishing Co. O/B/O Arthur Schwartz Music Ltd (ASCAP)

7. Who Cares (As Long As You Care For Me)
(G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) WB Music Corp., (ASCAP)

8. Putting On The Ritz
(I. Berlin) Irving Berlin Music Company (ASCAP)

9. How Long Has This Been Going On

(G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) WB Music Corp., (ASCAP)

10. Just You, Just Me

(J. Green, R. Kiages) EMI Robbins Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)

11. The Man That Got Away
(H. Arlen, I. Gershwin) Harwin Music Corporation, WB Music Corp. O/B/O New World Music Company, Ltd (ASCAP) 

12. San Francisco
(W. Jurmann, B. Kaper, C. Kahn) EMI Robbins Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)


Part Two:

1) That’s Entertainment
(A. Schwartz, H. Dietz)
Chappell & Co., Inc. (ASCAP)

2) I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
(D. Fields, J. McHugh)
EMI April Music Inc. O/B/O Cotton Club Publishing, Songwriters Guild of America O/B/O Aldi Music Company (ASCAP)

3) Come Rain or Come Shine
(H. Arlen, J. Mercer)
S A Music, WB Music Corp O/B/O The Mercer Foundation (ASCAP)

4) You’re Nearer
(R. Rogers, L. Hart)
Chappell & Co. Williamson Music Co., (ASCAP)

5) A Foggy Day

(G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) WB Music Corp. (ASCAP)

6) If Love Were All

(Coward) Warner Bros. Inc. (ASCAP)

7) Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart

(J.P. Hanley) Warner Bros. Music (ASCAP)

8) Stormy Weather (Starring Martha Wainwright)

(H. Arlen, T. Koehler) S A Music Co, Fred Ahlert Music Company (ASCAP)

9) Medley: You Made Me Love You/For You And My Gal/The Trolley Song
(J. Monaco, J. McCarthy/G. Meyer, H. Leslie, R. Goetz/B. Martin) Sony/ATV Tunes LLC O/B/O Broadway Music Corp, MLP Music Publishing Inc., O/B/O Edwin H. Morris & Co. Inc./EMI Mills Music Inc., George W. Meyer Publishing/EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. (ASCAP)

10) Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A
Broadway Melody

(J. Schwartz, S. Lewis, J. Young)
MPL Publishing Inc, Warock Corp, EMI Mills Inc. (ASCAP)

11) Over The Rainbow
(Featuring Kate McGarrigle)

(H. Arlen, E.Y. Harburg) EMI Feist Catalog Inc (ASCAP)

12) Swanee
(G. Gershwin, I. Caesar)
WB Music Corp, Irving Caesar Music Corp (ASCAP)

13) After You’ve Gone (Featuring Lorna Luft)
(H. Creamer, H. Layton) Morley Music Co (ASCAP)

14) Chicago
(F. Fisher) Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP)

This album is dedicated to Jorn.

“Dear, when in your arms I creep that divine rendezvous”*

Special thanks to all my family and friends.

* “How Long Has This Been Going On” Words and music by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin © 1927 (Renewed) WB Music Corp. (ASCAP) All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

Produced by Phil Ramone
Executive Producer Rufus Wainwright
Concert Producers: Jared Geller and David J. Foster

Martha Wainwright appears courtesy of Zoe/Rounder Records (USA). Drowned in Sound (UK), Shock Records (Australia), MapleMusic Recordings (Canada).

Lorna Luft appears courtesy of First Night Records

Worldwide Management: Barry Taylor and Paul Quijano for MCT mailbox@metbold.com

Photography/Art Direction: Jack Pierson
Design/Production: John Masterson
Carnegie Hall Stage Painting: Tabboo!
Concert Poster Design: SpotCo

Styling: ZALDY
Makeup: Miss Guy
Hair Styling for Concert: Danilo
Makeup for Concert: Jerry Stolwjk

Rufus, Martha & Kate Concert Wardrobe: Viktor and Rolf
Music Director/Conductor: Stephen Oremus
Piano: John Oddo
Drums: James Saporito
Bass: Richard Sarpola
Guitar: Bucky Pizzarelli
Concertmaster: Christian Hebel
Saxophone: Vincent Della Rocca
Orchestra Adaptations: Jon Charles & Christopher Jahnke Mastered by Ryan Smith, Sterling Sound

XM Productions/Effanel
Lead Engineer: Frank Filipetti
Recording Engineer in Charge: John Harris

ProTools Engineer: Peter Gary
Assistant Engineer: BJ Ramone
Stage Tech: Michael Fortunato

Legacy Recording Studio
Engineer/Mixer: Frank Filipetti
Post Prod. Assistant Engineers: Missy Webb, BJ Ramone, Nick Banns, Kevin Porter

A&R Administration: Jeanne Venton

Booking Agency: Sam Kirby and the William Morris Team (North America) Dave Chumbley for Primary Talent Int’l (Rest of World)

Photography Credits: John Engstead: inlay Judy photo
Alex Lake: p. 5 (Oremus photo)*
John Loengard: p. 4 Jack Pierson: Cover & p. 2, this page and back of booklet
Gus Powell: inlay, p.6-7, 8-9*
Loudon Wainwright II (Grandfather): p.3

*photos on p8 & 9 were taken in Paris at L’Olympia

Rufus Wainwright uses Shure Microphones and Yamaha Pianos

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