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Judy Dyble - Starcrazy - An Introduction To Judy Dyble CD (album) cover

STARCRAZY - AN INTRODUCTION TO JUDY DYBLE

Judy Dyble

 

Prog Folk

3.58 | 5 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Not an album per se, this is a compilation that came with one of those Classy Crock Present Prog magazine, and I must say that this is from far the best thing (read CD) they've distributed with their glossy mag. Indeed, after a disappearance lasting over three decades, Judy came back in the mid-00's with a string of low-profile albums, despite some extra-stellar guests? This compilation was taken from her first four or five (depending on how you look at it) and will give a fairly good idea of the new-millennium musical visage. Yes, she's still a folkie ? I'd even say a hippie-folkie ? at heart and her musical creation is probably much more meaningful than in her Crimson Fairport Horne days, because back then, she often appeared as a beautiful librarian that had been catapulted at the front of the stage of folk groups. Despite that lengthy motherhood eclipse, Judy had managed to keep most of her musical friends as friends, and when she decided to come back, most of them lent her a willing hand. This includes some old Crimson buddies (Fripp & McDo), but also some newer generation-stalwart like Tim Bowman.

Opening on the fabulous and haunting Heart Of Stone, this compilation is simply one of the best witness if what modern prog-folk can be. There is an amazingly beautiful hypnotic and tense side to this outstanding track, and the Miles-like muted trumpet and flute only adds mystery to the soundscape. There is definite psych-folk ambiance in the following Jazzbirds (well there is a bit of a jazz feel), an amazingly haunting piece that opens on morning birdsongs and harp, a very pastaural (pun intended! ;o)) track that slowly grows in intensity. Judy's voice doesn't have the crystal-clear vocal timbre of what the early-70's era presented as the norm, but it's all for the better, because her softer delivery drives shivers down your spine as will that trumpet and flute again. Oddly enough the birdsongs open the following Crystal Voices, where Judy revisits with her harp and old voice her previous golden era.

The only weak track in this compilation selection will probably her highest-profile cover (Floyd's See Emily Play), which I find particularly twee and out of place in the present album. The other cover is rather better, but it's hard to confirm that A better Side Of Her is indeed so, because it's overwhelmed by string arrangements (most likely synthesized) and is a bit cheesy. The delicate-sounding The Last Time is again in the same tonal frame (all three versions are demos), but still full of charms with his pipes in the background. The compilation closes on a 19-mins stunning epic that forms the spine of her previous album (Talking With Strangers), with the first guitar-dominated movement slowly segues to a piano-driven second section with some lengthy spell-binding soundscape before a Porcupine Tree-like guitar interrupts a bit abruptly to let the an insane musical quagmire make inroads into your sanity. While the track never really climaxes, there are plenty of superb moments that should please all progressive folkheads.

Well, I'm not a big fan of that glossy bi-monthly mag, but then again they managed sometimes to pleasantly surprise me (Harper, Pentangle and Fairport were also on the menu), so you'd better jump on that issue to get an earful of freaky folk-prog, or else you might have to get one of her last two albums (apparently her brand-new is still not out), which I'm sure will be quite charming? I will most-likely indulge in the near-future.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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