Product Reviews

Product: Judy Dyble - Flow and Change
Date: 2013-11-05 

Flow and Change

Judy Dyble is probably still best known as the first female vocalist of Fairport Convention. She sang on the band's first single and charming debut album and was forced to leave soon afterwards, in the spring of 1968. Along with her new boyfriend Ian McDonald she soon after teamed up with a pop trio called Giles, Giles & Fripp and participated on quite a few home recordings with them. They were finally released as the highly entertaining album The Brondesbury Tapes in 2001. One of the songs Judy sang, was called "I Talk To The Wind". A more professionally recorded version of the song surfaced on the debut album of the new aspiring quintet King Crimson the following year. By then Judy's relationship with Ian had ended and she had left the band before the name change. Instead she teamed up with Jackie McAulie, a former member of Them (Van Morrison's band in the early days, you know) in the folk-inspired duo Trader Horne, named after John Peel's nanny, no less! They released one highly recommended album, Morning Way, that sold next to nothing at the time. Disillusioned and lacking confidence, Judy left the music business for several years.

She was persuaded, or forced, to join the Fairport gang onstage to sing a couple of songs on a very few occasions in the 1980s, 90s and 00s, participated on some recordings with artists of a younger generation and recorded three low profile solo albums Enchanted Garden (2004), Spindle and The Whorl (both from 2006). With Talking To Strangers (2009) she was really back in business and ready to meet up with a bigger audience. It was produced by Tim Bowness (of No-Man, Henry Fool etc. and also co-founder of the recommended online music store Burning Shed) and Alistair Murphy, and featured old friends from Fairport, King Crimson (yes, including Robert Fripp!), Jacqui McShee (vocalist of Pentangle), Celia Humphris (vocalist of The Trees) and quite a few others as guests. The album was even launched in Scandinavia on a Norwegian label and she made a couple of promotional stints for national Norwegian tv.
In 2010 she recorded a new album in collaboration with Lee Fletcher and Markus Reuter. Apparently they fell out after the recordings were finished and the album was never released. So here, finally, is the follow-up to Talking To Strangers. It's produced by Alistair Murphy all on his own this time. He has also written most of the melodies to Judy's lyrics and submit keyboards or guitars the majority of the tracks.

Other guests seem mainly to belong to a younger generation than last time around. Pat Mastelotto (of latter day King Crimson) takes care of drums and percussion and Julianne Regan (ex-All About Eve) contributes backing vocals as they did on Talking To Strangers. Michael Mooney (steel guitar, ex-Spiritualized) and Matt Malley (vocals, ex-Counting Crows) also contribute, along with several others I'm not familiar with. The majority of songs of Flow And Change are beautiful, melancholic chamber folk-pop, with piano, violins, viola, cello and double bass at the fore. With Judy's great mature voice on top, they're as beatuiful as can be. Breathtaking... Almost too much at a time. A clever move then, that a few in between are spiced with guitars and some other instruments that brings a bit of change to the harmonious flow. The opening song "Black Dog Dreams", with music by Simon House (the violinist from High Tide, Third Ear Band, Hawkwind and David Bowie's band at a time), is not quite the Led Zeppelin inspired number you might expect. Still it includes some dynamic electric lap steel guitar playing and keyboards to great effect. A bit more uplifting than the majority of the album. "Crowbaby" is another goodie, the pop-ballad of the album, that also includes a guitar of the electric kind and a fascinating vibes sounding keyboards. "Letters" stand out because of the guitars and the vocal duties shared with Matt Malley. A melancholic highlight. "Featherdancing" has tendencies towards a combination of elegant chamber music and music hall (can you imagine?), whereas "Head Full Of Stars" probably is the catchiest of the lot. Some great pop-hooks in there and the fascinating Mellotron-sounding keyboards bring reverberations of the 1960s...


Flow and Change
CD - £9.99


Talking With Strangers
CD - £9.99

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