Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Susan Hodgdon's CD I Could Go On Singing by George Strum

This review of Susan Hodgdon's CD I Could Go On Singing: Susan Hodgdon Sings The Songs Of Judy Garland was written by George Strum and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

I Could Go On Singing: Susan Hodgdon Sings The Songs Of Judy Garland
Recorded Live on March 5, 2015 at Don't Tell Mama
Written & Produced by Susan Hodgdon
Musical Director & Piano by Daryl Kojak
Arrangements by Bill Zeffiro & Daryl Kojak
Directed by Tanya Moberly
Recorded by Peter Millrose/Millrose Music
Reviewed 9/1/15 

To perform the songs of Judy Garland, one of America's, dare I say the World's, greatest entertainers in a tribute CD is to tread on ambitious and dangerous ground. It takes a lot of chutzpah taking on Judy Garland but it is with a courageous heart and loving spirit that Susan Hodgdon brings us her first CD. Susan rises to the challenge of capturing the "essence" of Garland. She manages to surpass her gift infusing each song with her own style of newness that may resonate with the listener.

The CD begins with the song If You Feel Like Singing, Sing with Susan singing in a very lyrical soprano style but her tone changes with each song getting grittier and jazzier. At times, she even sounds like Judy herself. Some of the selected songs may only be marginally associated with Judy either from her recordings or from her television show while more famous ones get short changed in a fast-paced medley. I was disappointed that "The Man That Got Away" and "Get Happy" didn't get to be sung fully. An obscure song, "I'd Like To Hate Myself In The Morning," sung on her television show in 1968 never got to be recorded by Judy so without Judy's hand prints on the song, Susan was able to put her own stamp on it. In between the numbers are biographical tidbits and Susan matches happy songs with her triumphs and sadder ones with Judy's disappointments. Daryl Kojak, the accompanying musical director, did an amazing job. 

Through Susan's interpretations, we experience the songs of Judy Garland in a new light. My personal favorites were: "Alone Together," "What Now My Love," and "I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues." This CD needs to be a part of your collection, right next to the ones you have of Liza and Judy herself. To purchase it, go to http://cdbaby.com/cd/susanhodgdon

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