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Around Midnight by Julie London
Released: Sep 1960
Label: Blue Note Records
The best Julie London records are usually the ones where she's backed by small jazz groups or quality big bands. Thankfully this lush, orchestral torch-song set from 1960 ranks among the finest albums of London's career, regardless of the format (and it includes a couple of swingers). The string charts really aren't that compelling, but London commits throughout, painting bleakly romantic narratives worthy of classic film noir. Highlights include "Black Coffee," "But Not for Me" and a reading of Peggy Lee's "Don't Smoke in Bed" that is so intense, it may clue new listeners in to the lyric's alcoholic subtext.
Nick Dedina
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