Rufus & Judy

Due to my interest in modern cinema, I came across the singer and song writer Rufus Wainwright and I bought a couple of his discs. I like his Chanson style very much, but what is more important: thanks to his remake concert at Carnegie Hall I discovered Judy Garland’s famous concert recording. I had known Judy Garland before, mainly from The Wizard of Oz (a performance of which I had once seen in Sausalito when I studied in California), but I didn’t know about the concert. So, I’m not so critical about Rufus redoing Judy as other people seem to be (among them my colleague Ben Munson), since Rufus made me discover a very entertaining concert with great songs. Of course, Judy’s performance is not always flawless, but it is very enjoyable and I like her interpretation better than the remake which is still quite good; however, as Rufus himself says during the concert: he is more a song writer than a singer, at least when it comes to jazz music (or rather swing), which is certainly more difficult than pop music.

My favorite song of Judy’s and Rufus’s concert is Puttin’ on the Ritz, a musically very interesting song by Irving Berlin. There is a slight textual change in Rufus’s version which I can’t explain:

  • Judy sings:
    That’s where each and every lulu-belle goes
    Every Sunday evening with her swell beaux
    Rubbin’ elbows
  • Rufus sings:
    That’s where each and every lulu-belle goes
    Every Sunday evening with her swell girls
    Rubbin’ elbows

Why does he change beau to girl? Is this some kind of Gender mainstreaming? It is not really a good idea, because the rhyme gets lost.

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