Feeling Good - 1965

 
 

Leonard Feather:


Julie London bruises easily. Placed in juxtaposition with, say, a shaggy-dog vocal quartet from England, singing a song based on three wrong chords, she is apt to turn purple all over.


On the other hand, any time she finds herself in the company of an arranger like Gerald Wilson and a set of songs with attractive melodies and meaningful lyrics, she is as likely as not to take on a radiant air and sing, as she looks, like a living doll.


Julie is one of those much too rare performers who, one can sense, sings not for the fast buck but for esthetic reward. Her musical taste is impeccable. Nor should her taste in husbands be faulted when she can pick a man who, like Bobby Troup, writes such songs as "Won't Someone Please Belong To Me" or the lyrics to Neal Hefti's "Girl Talk" theme from the "Harlow" film.


Mrs. Troup's other agenda include the album's title song, which originated in "The Roar of the Greasepaint" [a Broadway show]; a theme from "The Yellow Rolls Royce" [MGM film] called "She's Just a Quiet Girl (Mae)"; the song about bruising, assembled by a promising young composer named Fred Manley; and "Hello Dolly," which she takes at a tempo better suited to her temperment [sic] than Satchmo's upper pace.


"I also included 'Summertime,'" she says, "because Stacy said to me, 'Mommy, why don't you record this new song I just heard?' She was quite surprised at my reaction. 'How come you know it?' she said. Stacy is 15 and she'd heard a teenage version on the radio. This made me feel a thousand years old."


If it took Julie's version to remind her daughter that a rock 'n' roll song was really a ballad, it also took the London touch to make a modern vehicle out of a country and western Roger Miller specialty, as the novel two-voice treatment of "King of the Road" makes pulsatingly clear.


Gerald Wilson was raised in Detroit, Michigan (I won't name his native state, since it wasn't his fault.) [my note: It's Mississippi. As a Beatles fan and a Southerner--Texas--this writer's snootiness is becoming annoying.]: he settled in Los Angeles in 1942 after three years on the road with the great Jimmie Lunceford Band. In addition to recording his superb band in a series of instrumental albums for Pacific Jazz, he has accompanied an impressive list of singers whose yen for first-class arrangements led them to him: Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Al Hibbler, Nancy Wilson, for instance.


Gerald's featured soloist is Jack Wilson (no relation to Gerald or Nancy), a 29 year old Chicagoan active for the past couple of years as pianist, composer and combo leader around Los Angeles. Such tracks as "She's Just a Quiet Girl" indicate that he has a fruitful new career ahead of him as an organist. Also present are men like saxist Teddy Edwards, guitarist John Gray, bassist Jimmy Bond, drummer Earl Palmer and a dozen other members of the West Coast elite.


As Gerald Wilson said after this album was completed: "Julie is beautiful, but it's been clear ever since 'Cry Me a River' that she didn't rely on her looks. She really knows how to interpret a lyric; she has a lovely sound; and she's a wonderful person to work with."


The team of London and Wilson is guaranteed to leave you unbruised, and in a mood very adequately expressed in the album's title song. And who, as Gershwin once said, can ask for anything more?


Leonard Feather


Track Listing:


1. My Kind of Town

2. Girl Talk

3. King of the Road

4. I Bruise Easily

5. Feeling Good

6. Watermelon Man

7. She's Just a Quiet Girl (Mae)

8. Summertime

9. Hello Dolly

10. Won't Someone Please Belong To Me

 

Album Liner Notes:

My Kind Of Town

Girl Talk

King Of The Road

I Bruise Easily

Feeling Good

Watermelon Man

She's Just a Quiet Girl (Mae)

Summertime

Hello Dolly

Won't Someone Please Belong To Me

Webmaster’s Note: Jim Spencer, a West Coast musician, recording artist, author and a big fan of Julie London and Bobby Troup, recently told me an interesting story about Julie recording this album.


Jim met a fellow musician, Johnny Jackson, who played trumpet and who also worked with Bobby Troup. Mr. Jackson also played with Gerald Wilson’s big band for the recording of Julie’s Feeling Good album. He related the story that Julie made the whole band tacos and margaritas before a rehearsal one day. Julie was a huge fan of Mexican cuisine and culture.


If you would like Julie’s recipe for enchiladas and read about how she uses bacon fat in virtually everything she cooks, read Julie Stars in the Kitchen, Too. The 1966 article is on this site.