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Judy Dyble

Prog Folk

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Judy Dyble Talking with Strangers album cover
4.27 | 37 ratings | 2 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Neverknowing (1:42)
2. Jazzbirds (3:05)
3. C'est La Vie (4:15)
4. Talking with Strangers (3:25)
5. Dreamtime (4:19)
6. Grey October Day (6:04)
7. Harpsong (19:19)

Total Time 42:09

Bonus track on 2010 reissue:
8. Fragile (2:45)

Bonus tracks on 2013 reissue:
8. Sparkling (3:22)
9. Waiting (6:23)

Line-up / Musicians

- Judy Dyble / vocals, autoharp

- Alistair Murphy / acoustic (2,3,5,6), electric & 12-string (5) guitars, organ (2,3,5,6), keyboards (2,3,5), piano (4-6), Dynatron (4), electric piano, synth, EBow, arrangements, co-producer
- Tim Bowness / co-lead (6) & backing (1-5,7) vocals, electric guitar (7), arrangements, co-producer
- Jacqui McShee / backing vocals (2,5,7)
- Julianne Regan / backing vocals (3,7)
- Celia Humphris / backing vocals (3,7)
- Simon Nicol / acoustic guitar (1,7)
- John Gillies / acoustic guitar (5)
- Paul Robinson / electric guitar (7)
- Harry Fletcher / electric guitar (7)
- Robert Fripp / guitar & Fx (7)
- Ian McDonald / lead alto saxophone (7), flutes (3,5,7), ukulele (7)
- Laurie A'Court / tenor & alto saxophones (6,7)
- Sanchia Pattinson / oboe (7)
- Rachel Hall / violin (7)
- Mark Fletcher / bass (3,5-7)
- Pat Mastelotto / drums & percussion (3,5-7)

Releases information

Artwork: John Hurford

CD Fixit Records ‎- FXTR CD113 (2009, UK)
CD Termo Records ‎- TERMOCD006 (2010, Norway) With a bonus track, new cover art
CD Gonzo Multimedia - HST123CD (2013, US) With 2 bonus tracks

LP Tonefloat ‎- tf70 (2009, Netherlands)

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JUDY DYBLE Talking with Strangers ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JUDY DYBLE Talking with Strangers reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Judy Dyble was familiar to me from the charming debut of Fairport Convention, her work with Giles, Giles & Fripp along with the interesting but in my opinion bit unbalanced Trader Horne album. I was interested to learn her being again active on music making and tried to find her albums. Sadly I soon noted these 21st century released albums were quite hard for me to find, released mostly on CD's, and some lonesome Syd Barrett cover songs I found from the internet didn't appear so interesting. However I was stunned as I found her originally 2009 released record as new vinyl reissue from a local vendor, and grabbed this album decorated with Jackie Morris new illustrations pleasing my eyes more than the pictures I had seen from the earlier release. After some spins on my turntable I was awestruck by its dramatic power and sensuality; the shy appearing folk singer from the past had grown as singular artist, mesmerizing deep emotions from the cozy firesides away from the hectic centrals of music industry.

I felt the album title "Talking with Strangers" referring to the songwriter/musician's dialogue with listeners trough her work - the intimate feelings and thoughts shared with audience, which will react and break the soliloquy through various repercussions on the art via different channels. This album felt strongly autobiographical, sincere and touching from its lyrics or me. Music carries the tradition of 1960's as undercurrent, but it is filtered to contemporary sounds through modern day recording and mixing techniques, along with post 1970's musical ideas grown from the popular music culture. Conceptually the physical vinyl record has diverse sides, first carrying six shorter compositions, which prepare the listener for the catharsis of second side's nineteen minutes epic. Despite this dualism, the songs form a very solid flow of music and lyrical tale for the listener; The Stranger.

"Neverknowing" summarizes quickly what possibly happened to Judy after departing the music business at early 1970's, and continues directly to a poetic impression about "Jazzbirds", The musical feminine characters giving so much for mankind but with a price. This song is driven by both harpsichord and charming flute lines, flautist Ian McDonald later also shining on many parts with his saxophone tones, certainly matured due age from the savage roars of legendary but rustier iconic heyday recordings. Lake and Sinfield composition "C'est La Vie" gains the ultimate interpretation on this album, haunted by most angelic goddess choir of mademoiselles Celia Humpris, Jacqui McShee and Julianne Regan. Rachel Hall's violin also rises as very meaningful tonal element on this tragic crystallization of beauty's values. The name song of the record resides on classic piano and voice duo, standing at the centre of the record, trying to lure the dreamy memories return from the Avalon. The melancholia continues with gently cradling "Dreamtime", composition finding really pretty vocal harmonies and melodic solutions arranged with ethereal sensibility. "Grey October Day" dives to the heart of the constantly conjured melancholic depths, minor key slow jazz passages echoing with Ian's saxophone's sorrowful sounds.

The second side's "Harpsong" seems to gather all this together as the powerful appraisal to sentimental forces of creativity. This gently rolling apparition of seraph's memories strikes to the core singer's memories of her past, and gathering her performer companions from the late 1960's allows a sensation of sacred truth, not bigger than life but sized as the curve of human experience itself. Guitar genius Robert Fripp and his drummer friend Pat Mastelotto join in creation of magical soundscapes and contrasting dynamic twists to this celestial epoch, which synthesizes elements of art rock, classical music, folk rock and modern new-age shades.

Though written biographies can be touching, I believe the sensation of both music and memoirs mingling together work as yet more emotionally affecting mixture. It is also great to hear how much there istrust in the future and detect the realization of human's constant growth during the ages. I guess life is a great riddle and everybody has to find their own answers. I believe Judy's choice of escaping the swinging London of seventies to the peace of countryside for a family life was a great understanding, allowing to live a full human life and leaving the choice for artistic expression for lesser pressure. If there was any difficulties in finding this path is not my business, but I firmly believe time had shown here the wiser; The serenity of the gardens and human emotions of life with devoted love shimmers from this album so more powerfully than any drug boosted market products could ever. These yearnings and sorrow has humble aura of humanity instead of hate of losses disguised as sadness.

There were few songs from the "Talking with strangers" sessions omitted, now available in US CD reissue and as EP "Fragile". I have not heard those though, but will close the content of this original album within my heart. Thus I find this album as an essential recommendation for anybody interested of real human emotions and alternate sidetracks, trekked by a beautiful kin to those, whom many reached for stardom. Alas those, who often met the Icarus' fate either from traps of fast life or forced pressures of publicity and capitalist greed; The curses flattening art as failed portraits of innovation and beauty, crumbled to dust of time. It is kind of healing experience, that this album is coronized by the league of numerous friends from the singer's artist friends from past, who made trough that purgatory surviving each on their ways. There is faith for this moment and tomorrow, and there is an invisible circle which curves as an unbroken divine sphere. Luckily this album is not the end of the dialogue for the strangers, as Judy's following album "Flow and Change" has been announced to be released later during the year of this writing. May the human kindness and fate's enchantress bring assurance for that "nothing can go wrong".

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Prog Folk legend Judy Dyble getting together with many of her collaborators from the past. (She was part of the British prog scene in the 1960s and early 1970s. She left music to retreat to a farm life in 1973.) She sings about the past, the times she passed on her self-imposed agrarian exile.

1. "Neverknowing" (1:42) Two guitars (Alistair Murphy and Simon Nicol [from Fairport Convention]) backing Judy. A surprisingly strong song and vocal. Tim Bowness' contribution is nice. (4.5/5)

2. "Jazzbirds" (3:05) with autoharp, guitars, full rock ensemble, and electric effects on Judy's voice, this is a more 1970s-sounding Prog Folk song. Nice but nothing very special. (8.5/10)

3. "C'est La Vie" (4:15) a perfect arrangement of instruments to surround Judy's voice with. Nice backing vocal appearance from former founding TREES vocalist, Celia Humphris and long time folk contributor Julianne Regan. My favorite song on the album. (9/10)

4. "Talking With Strangers" (3:25) A pleasant if innocuous song that, unfortunately, continuous to accentuate the frailty in Judy's aged voice. (8/10)

5. "Dreamtime" (4:19) again, a nice musical weave to support Judy's vocal, but her voice her again seems to reveal its aged fragilities. (8.5/10)

6. "Grey October Day" (6:04) lounge jazzy soundscape with piano, bass, and gently brushed drums support Judy and Tim Bowness in this traditional duet. Organ, electric guitar, and horns add some texture and tension in the second verse and behind Tim's up-close-and-personal performance. A long saxophone solo in the middle draws the song out (unnecessarily). (Laurie A'Court's contribution is much better, more appropriate in the final section.) (8.5/10)

7. "Harpsong" (19:19) a very personal song full of vignettes and various perspectives on her cumulative life story. This song is a special historical marker in that many of her esteemed and luminous musical collaborators from the 1960s came out to contribute to this. It is now even more heart-wrenching that she has died--like this song represents one glorious reunion and the ensuing party--just as may be happening in Heaven as we speak. After the delicate and maudlin folk-rock beginning section (which houses Judy's singing of her autobiographical lyrics) we are sucked into a kind of old KING CRIMSON section before settling into a Steve REICHian percussionary bridge to return to the more saccharine vocal-supporting motif. Emotional and historic. (35/40)

Total time 42:09

Judy's voice is more fragile and unstable than it was, yet her nostalgic lyrics poignant and meaningful. Her performances are welcome and courageous. The album is most for the nostalgic feel. I have to admit a fair amount of excitement at the prospect of hearing the contributions of long-time folk diva Jacqui MacShee (John Renbourn, PENTANGLE) on a couple songs, but her presence is barely discernible.

B/four stars; a very nice contribution to the Prog Folk catalog--one that is filled with nostalgia and historical significance. A nice addition to the prog lover's music collection.

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