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Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (Geffen)

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In 2006, gay singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright recreated gay icon Judy Garland's 1961 smash album, Judy at Carnegie Hall, note for note in concert at the venerable New York City venue. Well, almost note for note. Wainwright couldn't quite match Garland's zingy swing. But he was so determined to get it right, he chatted up the audience at selected intervals, because, as he told the crowd at one point, "This is where Judy talked." The two-disc souvenir, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, presents Wainwright at his most flaming, exuberant, and affectionate. He hauls out his mom — folk icon Kate McGarrigle — and singer-songwriter sis Martha for a couple of cuts, and his droll banter rivals Garland's onstage blurts (he even ribs the orchestra, just like the old-timers used to). Like Garland's Carnegie Hall, Wainwright's is only as good as its songs. And he nails Great American Songbook staples like "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "Over the Rainbow," and the medley that includes the zippy "Trolley Song." It doesn't get gayer — or better — than this.

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