Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A Morning With Judy Dyble.

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.

My home town Peterborough  had a great music scene in the 70's for a town of its size. You could see local talent like Lloyd Watson who was a brilliant guitarist and once supported David Bowie at The Rainbow and Colin Hodgkinson who is one of the best bass players in the world who founded the band 'Backdoor'. They played in The Falcon on Cathedral Square at weekends. The Spinning Wheel at the Bull And Dolphin was a popular venue. There were always gigs at the Tech College and even Queen played at the Town Hall in 73. In 1969 Cloud 9 replaced the Folk Club at the Grand Hotel off Bridge Street. Saturday nights were Soul nights but what I really liked was Sunday night when it was Progressive Rock. We used to go every week regardless of who was on. For an impressionable person of 18 which I was it was magical,they had strobe lighting and psycedelic light shows. Before the bands came on they used to play all the latest 'underground' music such as Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyd and Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. We used to sit cross-legged on the floor right in front of the stage and shake our heads to the sound of the music. I saw some great bands at Cloud 9 such as The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster with Vincent Crane on keyboards and Carl Palmer on drums, The John Dummer Blues Band with Nick Pickett on violin. The Greatest Show On Earth who had Norman Watt-Roy later of Ian Dury's Blockheads, Amazing Blondel who played all this 'musick' from the middle ages and played strange instruments like crum-horns etc, Curved Air with the beautiful Sonja Kristina, I actually saw Curved Air in the Mini Friar cafe in Bridge Street on Sunday afternoon before their performance at Cloud 9 and lots of other bands. There were two bands though that really made an impression on me. On August 23rd 1970 I saw a band called Skid Row. They were an Irish rock band with Brush Sheils on bass, Noel Bridgeman on drums and this 17 year old kid called Gary Moore on guitar. "My god he is great", I thought to myself as Gary played these amazing licks on his guitar, he was a year younger than me but I knew he was a genius, in my book he was up there with Jimmy Page and all the rest of them.
The other band that made a real impression on me at Cloud 9 were Trader Horne.That was on March 15th 1970 almost 48 years ago. I know the date because I looked it up on the internet. I think I really liked them because I am a folkie at heart. I was already a big fan of Fairport Convention and lots of other folkie stuff. Trader Horne were Judy Dyble who was the original singer with Fairport and Jackie McAuley who had been a member of Them with Van Morrison. After Judy left Fairport she was a member of Giles.Giles and Fripp who became King Crimson. After Van left Them, they carried on for a while eventually becoming the Belfast Gypsies who were quite popular on the continent and made three albums I think. When they broke up Jackie roamed around Europe and Morocco for a while before meeting up with Judy in Notting Hill and forming Trader Horne. The night I saw them they were really tired. If my memory serves me well Jackie asked the audience if anyone could put them up for the night. They had played at Van Dyke's in Plymouth the night before and had driven all the way to Peterborough which is a helluva way and Jackie had done all the driving. That's what it was like in 1970, you could be all over the pages of Melody Maker or NME but still driving yourselves around the country in an old Bedford van.
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 .

The End.


patrickg said...

Surprised you haven't mentioned the tie-in between the melody of "We Three Kings of Orient Are" and the "Three Rings for Elven Kings" .

Pat said...

Thanks for your comment Patrick.I know what you mean but i didn't think to mention that.Anyway i like getting feedback and thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Cheers, Pat.

Jude said...

I am so pleased that you finally got to buy the album and even more delighted that you have enjoyed it after all those years..Hooray!!

Pat said...

Dear Judy,
Thank you very much for taking the time to read it. I just bought your album Flow And Change. When it arrives I'll write a review of it.Probably in a couple of weeks time after Glastonbury.

Cheers, Pat.

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