Yummy, Yummy, Yummy - 1969

 
 

Julie's sensuality accents the sounds of Today! The unique "London Touch" styles The Doors, Nilsson, The Beatles, Spanky And Our Gang, The Monkees and many more. "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" will satiate your musical hunger and bathe you in the warmth of Julie!


2005 CD Liner Notes by Greg Adams:


Julie London had already recorded a sexy rendition of the "Mickey Mouse March" for her 1967 album Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast, so the peculiar repertoire on 1969's Yummy, Yummy, Yummy didn't come entirely out of the blue. The idea that London's smoky, intimate voice could transform ridiculously inappropriate material into erotic torch songs was apparently too compelling for the powers-that-be at Liberty Records to resist. So "they"--with their perverse and deeply ironic senses of humor--saddled her with a crazy assortment of frat rock, folk rock, and bubblegum that, frankly, insulted her status as a serious but underrated jazz vocalist. How humiliating! The entire album is some kind of twisted joke! But, like the proverbial train wreck, one cannot help but stare with horror and (since no one got hurt) perhaps a little wicked amusement.


That is one possible narrative, and a popular one among many collectors of "golden throats" records and novelty music who have seized upon London's final Liberty album as an example of crass music industry commercialism gone awry. Another version of the story would point out that, like the original liner notes say, Yummy, Yummy, Yummy really is about Julie's sensuality accenting the sounds of today, with "today" referring to a time somewhere in the vicinity of 1969. Most of the songs were recent hits for soft pop groups that scored big on the adult contemporary charts, and London was definitely an "adult contemporary" kind of gal. So, just how weird is this album?...


...Yummy, Yummy, Yummy was produced, arranged and orchestrated by Tommy Oliver, who discovered Joanie Summers and produced a wide range of artists including Doris Day, Vikki Carr, Bob Lind and Jefferson Airplane. His arrangements for Yummy, Yummy, Yummy were full and lush, and Julie was every bit the stylist she ever was, but the material was far more contemporary and mainstream than anything she had yet attempted. Was it a tongue-in-cheek exercise? The recent soft pop hit status of practically all of the selections, and the commercial potential of "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" as a single (it reached #125 in Billboard), suggest that the album is more easily justified than it may first appear.


Yummy, Yummy, Yummy begins with "Stoned Soul Picnic," Laura Nyro's impressionistic song that gave the 5th Dimension a Top 3 hit in 1968. It isn't too much of a stretch to draw a parallel between the sophisticated, atmospheric mood music that London created in the '50s and the introspective, complicated singer-songwriter music of composers such as Nyro and, as we'll hear momentarily, Margo Guryan.


"Like to Get to Know You,"" was a pop and easy listening hit for Spanky & Our Gang in 1968. It is one of two Spanky covers on the album, with "Sunday Mornin'" being the other. "Sunday Mornin'" and "Come to Me Slowly" were written by the talented and enigmatic Margo Guryan, whose 1968 album Take a Picture contains her own recording of "Sunday Mornin'." After Spanky & Our Gang's hit cover, Oliver made the song a Top 15 easy listening hit in 1969.


The Doors' "Light My Fire" was a chart hit twice for the group, in 1967 and 1968, but London's reference point was certainly Jose Feliciano's Top 3 rendition from 1968. Seeing London interpret the Lizard King is another one of the album's startling moments at first glance, but she turns the song into such a sweet come-on that it's easy to gloss over all the mire and funeral pyres.


"It's Nice to Be with You" was a minor hit for the Monkees in 1968, and "Hushabye Mountain" was taken from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The latter was written by the Walt Disney songwriting team Richard and Robert Sherman. The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang soundtrack album was on the Top 100 album chart in 1968-69, so "Hushabye Mountain," too, was a current song. It is an appealing pop ballad that does not explicitly reference the family movie from which it comes.


"Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo)" was a then-unreleased song from Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes sessions when Manfred Mann scored a Top 10 hit with it in 1968. London's version retains the flutes from Manfred Mann's arrangement, and is a minor masterpiece of cool understatement. Dylan himself admitted that he doesn't know what this song is about.


"And I Love Him," a gender reversal of the Beatles "And I Love Her," was a hit for R&B singer Esther Phillips in 1965, and was also recored by Shirley Horn and Nancy Wilson, among others. "Without Him" is another gender-reversed cut, this time of Harry Nilsson's "Without Her" from 1967. This widely recorded song was not a hit for Nilsson, but was a Top 5 easy listening hit for Herb Albert in 1968.


"Yummy, Yummy, Yummy," the album's title track, was a very recent Top 5 bubblegum hit for Ohio Express that featured the adenoidal vocals of the song's co-writer, Joey Levine. The listener will immediately note that, unlike the original, which sounds like a children's song, London's rendition of "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" seems quite serious. The apparent absence of irony makes this recording an exceedingly dry joke, a visionary feat of interpretation, or both. The real irony is that "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" has become London's second best-remembered single after "Cry Me a River"--it was reissued on one of Capitol's Ultra-Lounge compilations in the '90s and, more recently, was included on the soundtrack of the HBO television series Six Feet Under.


"Louie, Louie," the mother of garage-rock anthems, seems at first to rival "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" as the most inexplicable choice of repertoire on the album, but even this selection has its precedent in the soft pop canon. The Sandpipers, a gauzy folk-pop vocal group remembered for their rendition of "Guantanamera," followed up that 1966 hit with a similar treatment of "Louie, Louie." The song itself originated with R&B artist Richard Berry in an overtly seafaring, vaguely calypso-flavored recording. In other words, if we ignore the Kingsmen's raucous version, even "Louie, Louie" is not too far afield....


... [London's] recorded legacy has enjoyed renewed appreciation among jazz listeners in recent years, and now, thanks to fan requests, Yummy, Yummy, Yummy is available once again. Whether you hear it as a camp classic or a soft pop gem, I'm sure you'll agree that it is no embarrassment to London. Regardless of the setting, she was always the utmost in cool.


Track Listing


1. Stoned Soul Picnic

2. Like to Get to Know You

3. Light My Fire

4. It's Nice to Be With You

5. Sunday Mornin'

6. Hushabye Mountain

7. Mighty Quinn

8. Come to Me Slowly

9. And I Love Him

10. Without Him

11. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

12. Louie Louie

 

1969 Liner Notes:

Stoned Soul Picnic

Like To Get To Know You

Light My Fire

It's Nice to Be With You

Sunday Mornin'

Hushabye Mountain

Mighty Quinn

Come to Me Slowly

And I Love Him

Without Him

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

Louie Louie