Spectacular by the Bar Harbor Times

"Lawrence Schulman says he fell in love with Judy Garland at age 11. “Something about that strong pure voice, with the undertone of melancholy and yearning — the sincerity, entranced me,” he says.
Well he was not alone. For some the romance with Judy Garland started when they first heard her on the Major Bowes radio show — a little girl with a big, deep voice that could break your heart. For most, perhaps, it was in 1939 when, as the impossibly plucky Dorothy Gale, she and her little dog Toto set off on the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz. Her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is, arguably, the most iconic song of the 20th century. So yes, we all fell in love with Judy at some point in our lives. But unlike most of us, young Lawrence, an enterprising boy from the Bronx, was an active suitor. He read about Judy, collected her records — and later her radio broadcast recordings— and when he learned that one of her musicals was going to be on TV on the Late, Late Show, he got up for it. And on two occasions as a teenager in 1965 and 1967 (two years before her death at age 47) he got to see her in person. Although no longer in her prime and deeply addicted to drugs, now, he says the love he felt in that audience for Miss Garland was powerful, lifting her up, willing her to transcend all her physical and emotional obstacles and shine for them, one more time — and she did.
So, then young Lawrence grew up, went to college, studying language, literature and other liberal arts subjects, ending up at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he stayed for the next 27 years. Judy came with him. Although as an adult in Paris he developed a strong interest in classical music, eventually becoming a music critique and host of a French Public Radio show, his interest in Miss Garland abided, and he continued collecting her recordings with greater and greater savvy and sophistication. He also became part of a network of worldwide Judy Garland collectors. If he doesn’t have a particular recording from a 1937 radio broadcast, he sure as hell knows who does.
Now in his late fifties, and back in the states — Halls Quarry, actually, Mr. Schulman has brought his affair with Miss Garland to a new height. After two years of work he has compiled a double boxed set of Judy Garland’s recordings “Judy Garland Classiques et Inedits [unreleased recordings] 1929-1956.” Some of the 40 songs in the collection have never been heard by the public since they first went out over the radio, 50 years ago. The set is being released by Fremeaux and Associates of Paris on May 5.
“I know some collectors don’t share this opinion,” says Mr.Schulman, “but I think a vital role of the collector is to share what he has with the world. Not just because it’s a nice thing to do, but as a way of preserving historical treasures like these. What would happen if my house burned down, for instance?”
Now he knows that at least 40 of his treasured songs will be dispersed into the world, where they will become a vital part of other collections. Getting them to this safe place was, however, fraught with danger. Like a foreign attaché with invaluable secrets to transport, Mr. Schulman literally strapped a carefully packed case of his original 76s and radio recordings to his wrist. “I was afraid I might drop it,” he says, and then, choosing the bus as the safest mode of transportation, took them to New York to be recorded for the CD. “I did lose one 76 in the process,” he mourns.
But what survived is spectacular. The two CD’s contain 20 of Judy Garland’s classic recordings starting when she was just a tot named Frances Gumm in 1929, belting out a couple of Vaudeville tunes with her two older sisters tap dancing in the background. Then we listen to her grow up and into control of her unique and marvelous instrument. The other disc contains 20 of her radio recordings of familiar songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (her film version is on the other disc) “Merry Little Christmas” and “Somebody Loves Me,” as well as some songs, such as “Someone to Watch Over Me” recorded at a private party for Democrats in 1944 that haven’t been heard publicly since that occasion. As we listen to the CD’s Mr. Schulman has a story to tell for every tune, the most poignant of which is her spectacular rendition of “Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart” when Judy was only 13. “She was singing it for her father who was in the hospital with meningitis,” Mr. Schulman says. She knew he was listening. He died the following day.”. This early loss of her father was a defining moment in Judy Garland’s troubled life, and one can hear it all in this incredibly sincere and moving farewell song to her dad. For those not fortunate to have Mr. Schulman sitting with you while hearing these songs, the boxed set does contain his extensive liner notes (in French and English) offering a brief biography of the singer and interesting information about the songs and the circumstances under which they were recorded. Mr. Schulman also gives us a moving account of his last encounter with the Diva at a live performance at the Palace Theater in New York. “… She sang and I remember her doing “What Now My Love?” The last word of the song — “good-bye”— was a high note Garland’s voice could only make on good days now. The electricity in the house was thick enough to cut, palpable. The silence before that “good-bye” was deafening. Finally she made the note and the house went crazy. I knew then I could never really know everything about such an unfathomable creature…”
Anyone interested in buying the boxed set should be able to find it on Amazon.Fr (bring a French –speaking friend along to help fill out the form.)"