Judy Dyble — Earth Is Sleeping
(Acid Jazz AJXCD447, 2018, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-10-12
There is no mistaking the unique and hauntinly beautiful voice of Judy Dyble, who, since her days as singer and founding member of Fairport Convention, in the pre-Crimson assemblage of Giles, Giles and Fripp, and along with Jackie McAuley in Trader Horne (all pre-1970), has come back and forged a unique style of her own as a singer-songwriter, now with half a dozen solo albums to her credit since 2004’s Enchanted Garden. Here we have 13 beautifully crafted pieces, more or less in the folk-rock vein, each composed in collaboration with others in her circle, many with multi-instrumentalist and producer Alistair Murphy. The arrangements are entirely supportive of the singer’s voice, including piano, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, Uillean pipes, occasional saxes and strings, including her regular collaborator Phil Toms (keyboards and string arrangements) along with Murphy, and some names as well (drummer Pat Mastelotto plays on one cut, basoonist Brian Gulland of Gryphon on another) all making this one richly arranged collection of masterful tunes. For her part. Dyble also plays autoharp on several cuts. “Broken Day” is a classic example, with piano driving the arrangements with guitar, bass, synths, drums and a warm bed of strings supporting a beautiful lyric and unforgettable vocal delivery; on every one of the songs, the arrangements never get out in front of Dyble’s voice, though they definitely make each piece so much more powerful. On “Velvet to Atone” the arrangements are even more sparse, consisting mostly of piano, guitar, bass, synths, and low whistle, all imparting a bit of a mournful flavor. Another interesting lyric is “Faded Elvis,” a bit sad but a strong thread of stark reality woven through it. Many magical and powerful pieces are presented here, too many to single out, but all are blessed with Dyble’s uniquely gifted lyrical songwriting and vocals.
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