Jul 1, 2010
JULIE LONDON - YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY (LIBERTY 1969) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve
REQUEST No 4
Pop standards vocalist/actress Julie London was definitely at a transitional phase in her career when she cut Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (1969) -- the final entry in her decade-and-a-half long relationship with Liberty Records. Modern listeners will revel in the obvious kitsch factor of a middle-aged, old-school female who is crooning rock & roll. Rightly so, as the two musical universes rarely collided with a lucrative outcome. However, just below the genre-bending veneer lie interesting interpretations of concurrently well-known selections with the occasional sleeper gem thrown in. The lush and admittedly antiquated orchestration doesn't mask London's smoky and smouldering pipes, and some scores definitely work better than others. The opening cover of Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic," the adaptation of the Beatles' "And I Love Her," and the remarkably evocative "Hushabye Mountain" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) are each superior matches of artist with repertoire. Less successful is Harry Nilsson's "Without Him" [aka "Without Her"] as it lacks the urgency of Blood, Sweat & Tears' rendering or the pithy of Nilsson's original. The remake of Spanky & Our Gang's "Like to Get to Know You" is similarly short on soul, although it lends itself to the middle-of-the-road (MOR) feel, as does "It's Nice to Be With You." That said, the latter is infinitely more tolerable in this context than it was on the Davy Jones' warbled Monkees' single. The seeming incongruity of London's take on the Doors' "Light My Fire" isn't all that odd until she lets her hair down (so to speak) and slips into something right out of The Graduate's Mrs. Robinson. There are several instances of 'What were they thinking?,' such as the practically surreal "Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo)" which sounds like it was the result of a Quaalude-related encounter. By the time we roll around to the title track, one can't tell if London is trying to be sexy or is simply hung over. "Sunday Morning" -- the second nod to Spanky & Our Gang -- also makes London come off as either bored or sleepy, either of which will be the effect that a majority of the album will inevitably have on 21st century ears. ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide
"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.