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 Rufus Wainwright

American singer-songwriter


Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall




Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall - Released 2008 - 4

I have a serious problem with Rufus Wainwright. It was whilst travelling home a few years ago from Yorkshire that I tuned into Radio Two just in time to hear Wainwright singing "Oh What a World" which quickly became a firm favourite of mine. On the strength of that I bought Want One and subsequently Want Two but have to admit disappointment at much on those albums. So when I heard Wainwright was trying to replicate a Judy Garland album recorded over 40 years ago I began to worry. My main concern is that Wainwright's gay icon status is replacing his ability as a musician and he's one of these guys that I can take so much of before I decide enough is enough. That's certainly true on this album. I started off by listening intently with a feeling of "yes this bloke's got a great voice." But then as always it began to grate and I realised that the more I got the less I really wanted. So it took a number of attempts to get through this album. Okay it's not at all bad but I found myself fleeing to listen to the original songs. My problem is that Wainwright doesn't have enough tonal depth in his voice to carry off more than 15 or 20 minutes material before I begin to flag and on some of these numbers he really struggles. His voice doesn't move smoothly between the registers and produces a rather guttural sound. The proof of the pudding was always going to be his version of Over the Rainbow and it sounds more like a karaoke session. The audience seem to love it, however, and I'm sure there was plenty of glitz and glamour present.