January 2nd and I have had no contact with the outside world so far this year. I still have a cold and the bleak mid-winter weather has stopped me from venturing out. I have been listening to music to keep my spirits high. Today, I have been playing albums by Judy Dyble. A couple of years ago I bought an album by Judy called Flow And Change which I really enjoyed and I meant to write a review of it. Sadly, I never got around to doing that. Then, back in September I was in my local record shop in Warminster buying Van Morrison’s Roll With The Punches album when I spotted an album called Summer Dancing by Judy Dyble & Andy Lewis. I didn’t know this album was even being released. I bought it and took it home and to my shame I forgot all about it until today.
Anyway, I came across it this morning and thought I would give it a spin. I had never heard of Andy Lewis before, so I expected the album would be a sort of simple folky thing with male & female vocals and acoustic guitar. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is nothing like I imagined. It is a sophisticated lush production. Andy would appear to be the production wizard. I liked the album from the first track He Said / She Said. As an old hippy from way back I loved the psychedelic sound and even the birdsong mixed into the song. Judy’s voice reminds me a little bit of Vashti Bunyan who I also like. She hasn’t got the strongest voice, but she uses it very effectively and enunciates every word beautifully. I hate it when you can’t make out what singers are on about. I was writing notes as I listened to the songs and I wrote that Judy’s voice is haunting & beguiling. To my ears her voice is as good now as it was in the olden days with Trader Horne. I didn’t write notes for every song, but I loved the jazzy keyboards on Night Of A Thousand Hours. This album is on the Acid Jazz label which seems quite appropriate. Another track that stands out for me is A Net Of Memories (London) with the sounds of London crowds and even radio traffic reports cleverly mixed in very evocatively. My Electric Chauffeur is very upbeat with drums to the fore and Treasure has a very lush production with a nice rhythmical sequence. I enjoyed every single track on this album. The vocals are great and the production first class. It is awash with violas, recorders, glockenspiel, hand drums, timbale, guitars, synthesizers, & percussion. A most enjoyable album indeed. Well done to all involved in the project.
After that I had to play the Morning Way album again which is how I discovered Judy’s music in the first place. I wrote a piece about that album a few years ago so I just thought I would dust that off in case you would like to read it.
They had just released their album Morning Way and after seeing them that night I meant to buy it but I never did. There was so much great music about in those days. Some how I never got around to buying that album.Forty one long years went by, and finally the internet age began. You are never going to find a band like Trader Horne in your local record shop these days are you? One night I stumbled across them on YouTube and I wondered if their album was available and lo and behold it was. I think because of the internet it is becoming worthwhile for record companies to re-release little known gems from the past and with pay-pal you can pay instantly and a couple of days later a CD plops through your letter box, voila! What could be easier? so I treated myself to Trader Horne's album. I must say it is quite magical.The opening track Jenny May is very catchy, I think Jackie wanted to write a children's album originally. The next two tracks are quite Tolkienesque, The Children Of Oare with the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. and Three Rings For Elven Kings. The next track really reminded me of The Incredible String Band's The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, an album Judy actually sang on. Growing Man is a great song with Judy and Jackie sharing vocals.The lyrics are quite profound. The next track is called Down And Out Blues which is an old Bessie Smith song and I think although it is sung superbly by Judy it doesn't quite fit in on this album. It breaks the enchanting spell being cast by the other songs.The next song is The Mixed Up Kind which has some really nice harpsichord and I ought to mention that Ray Elliot from Them and John Wilson who I think also played drums for Them at one time plays on this album. Better Than Today is the next track featuring some really nice flute playing. In My Loneliness is a wonderful song showing the beauty of Judy's vocals. Sheena is really catchy and I think it was released as a single. It is great pop music. I have seen this album described as Acid-Folk. The Mutant is very psychedelic, a brilliant piece of work. Morning Way the title track is next with Judy and Jackie sharing vocals, a quite wonderful song. Velvet To Atone was co-written by Judy and Martin Quittinton who went on to write Maggie May with Rod Stewart. Like That Never Was is another superb upbeat song with amazing vocals. Here Comes The Rain and Goodbye Mercy Kelly are great songs to end the album, The album is very pastoral, very English but the last track is very Irish. Such a shame this album didn't get the recognition it deserved when it came out.
I have really enjoyed listening to this record and I'm pleased I finally got around to buying it 41 years after seeing the band live .