Judy Dyble 2015
Subtitled “Fifty Years Of Stuff,” a marvelous overview of lost gem’s of English folk rock first decades on the stage and behind the scenes.
She may be praised as a national treasure now, but only core followers were interested in what Judy Dyble‘s been doing in the time when her name didn’t grace the music press pages. And here’s a reward for the aficionados’ loyalty: compiled and issued by the singer herself, this 3CD-box offers a genuine continuity with a fantastic selection of Dyble’s album fare, rarities previously scattered across limited editions and collaborative efforts, and recordings that haven’t seen the light of the day before. More so, it reveals Judy as an intrepid experimentalist as well as traditionalist.
Although ordered chronologically, the collection ends with a recent concert take on “If I Had A Ribbon Bow” which the chanteuse entered a public eye with, when she fronted FAIRPORT CONVENTION, and their fans will be happy to hear a couple demos from 1967. One of these is the deeply emotional “One Sure Thing” that Dyble would revisit in a crunchier, almost punk setting with THE CONSPIRATORS in 2008, on a single housed on CD2, yet there are earlier tracks – two home recordings from 1964, “Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies” showing the 15-year-old artist not afraid to infuse an Appalachian tune with her own, English personality. Yet in 1966, in the company of Richard Thompson, she went much further, for a riveting folk-tinged improvisation, present on the first disc in a much abridged form than is on the source tape and throwing a bridge to Judy’s later sonic adventures like solo “Seventh Whorl” or “Noh Kro Poh” that she notched for JOXFIELD PROJECT.
In such a context, the singer’s work with GILES GILES & FRIPP in 1968 feels only logical, tracks like “Make It Today” demonstrating Dyble’s talent at handling jazzier material, which is also manifested on 2014’s outtake “RadioWaves” – the duet with Jackie McAuley could have been a reunion of TRADER HORNE whose tapes are absent from “Threads” due to contractual reasons – and it was Judy who first recorded “I Talk To The Wind” that she updated on 2006’s solo album “The Whorl” to add magic and maturity to it. There’s a woman’s touch to this ballad, too, but the singer was enchanted enough with Greg Lake‘s approach to appropriate his “C’est La Vie” for her "Talking With Strangers" in 2009 and take it to crystalline heights. Judy’s ability to adapt and transform comes forth on a backing vocals job be it in the 2012 on “Weather Changes” for DODSON AND FOGG or back in 1970 on G.F. Fitzgerald’s “May Four.”
The ’70s saw Dyble disappear into family life, yet it didn’t deter her from singing, and Mike Batt was smitten with Judy voice, so one may only wonder why the richly orchestrated “Better Side Of Me” stopped in 1972 at a demo stage, as did the slide-adorned merry vocalizing on “I Hear A Song” from the following year. Still, there’s a gap between those and her psychedelic version of “See Emily Play” from 1982, when Dyle worked with Adrian Wagner, and then to 2004, when Judy returned to action to stay on. The comeback is reflected on “Going Home” from “Enchanted Garden” where the erstwhile folk sensibility gets married to a cosmic buzz of a soundscape before unwinding into an almost orchestral “Lost In Fingest” – and it was at this point that she opened up for epic compositions.
The artist breathes transparent fire into “Shining” whose “I am lost for words” refrain lingers in one’s mind long after its rays dissolve in vibrant silence, although her longest suites – LP side-long “Harpsong” and “The Sisterhood Of Ruralists” – aren’t part of the box. Scope aside, it’s nigh on impossible to imagine gentle Judy in a metal mode, yet here she is, grafting a second voice to “Every Sentimental Moment” on a KINGS CROSS single in 2009, but the title piece on “Talking With Strangers” finds Dyble in her very element – piano-backed and soaring, while freezing her flight down to a faux-fairy tale of “Wintersong” off 2013’s "Flow And Change".
High or low, though, Judy Dyble is so natural – an integral part of the nature – that she’s mesmerizing throughout. With threads gathered into a fine tapestry, this collection opens the doors to her second spring: she’s a treasure, indeed.