Monday, 26 July 2010

Judy Dyble CD

Talking With Strangers (BRILLIANT/FiXiT, 2009, CD)

The original vocalist of Fairport Convention, part of the loose assemblage around Robert Fripp that would become King Crimson, one half of Trader Horne: you can’t mistake Judy Dyble’s clear, very English diction. She was never going to be a torch singer, but on this album she brings to perfection her talent for the miniature. Julianne Regan, Jacqui McShee, Celia Humphris (yes, she of Trees) pitch in too – and that’s just backing vocals. Fripp supplies ‘soundscapes’ and sundry guitar parts. Although the contributors were scattered around the world, thanks to smooth production you’d think they were in the same studio.

Several tracks impress, but Dyble leaves the best for last. ‘Harpsong’, checking in at over 19 minutes, is a résumé of her career to date, the eclectic style mirroring her successive incarnations. Starting in her gentlest pastoral vein, it opens out into a free-form instrumental jam reminiscent of early Crimson, all distorted guitar riffs and wailing saxes, before the first verse returns, now with past tenses updated to present, as if her life’s come full circle. The lyrics, clearly autobiographical, reference Sixties hedonism, her long sabbatical from music as she diverted into librarianship, bereavement, and her welcome return to performance. ‘So much music fills the air, and I’m still busy growing,’ she sings: Dyble’s optimism is heartening.

Judy Dyble on the Web

First published in R2 (Rock’n’Reel)

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