Wednesday, 12 December 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Judy Dyble interview (Part One)

Judy Dyble ImageAs regular readers of the Gonzo Daily will be aware, I am a big fan of Judy Dyble's latest album Talking with Strangers which Gonzo are releasing in the USA next month. It is a fantastic record, and I cannot praise it highly enough. Regular readers will also be aware that last week I telephoned Judy and had a very pleasant chat, which almost immediately was swallowed into the interstices of the internet aether. However, after various rituals and supplications at the altars of the Gods of hi-technology, we managed to retrieve them, and today, we are posting part one of a three part interview which (I hope) goes some way towards explaining the talent of this extraordinary lady...

JON: I think your album is absolutely gorgeous

JUDY: Oh, I am pleased.  It’s always nice to be told.

JON: Well I think it’s absolutely lovely and I am going to do everything in my power to plug it unmercifully.
JUDY: Fabulous

JON: Until everyone from here to the other end of Christendom is totally sick and tired of it.  So how did it come together?  Tell me about it…

JUDY: Well, I had stopped singing for 30 years and kind of got dragged back into it via one of the Cropredy festivals which is the Fairport Festival that they do every year up in Oxfordshire and because it was an anniversary year in 2002 – forty years or something like that  since Fairport had started – I was up on the stage singing some of the early songs and I was contacted and asked if I would like to have my voice sampled by some band and I thought well that would be kind of fun, and from there I did make three albums with a man from Astralasia which is a trance dance band, and I didn’t want to make another album going into that direction so via MySpace I had come into contact with Tim Bowness who was in a band called No-Man with Steven Wilson. I don’t know if you have come across his work…

JON: Yes, he’s the Porcupine Tree guy.

JUDY: That’s the very one, yes

JON: I met him once about 20 years ago and he gave me some early No-Man CDs.

JUDY: So you’ll have heard Tim’s voice.  He’s a very nice man, he’s very shy but he’s very friendly.  And Tim and I were talking and I said I’d got more songs and I didn’t want to do any more with Astralasia for a while, and he put me in touch with his friend, Alistair Murphy and between the three of us we created Talking with Strangers.  We didn’t know what we were going to do with it, or what was going to happen to it, but we did it.

JON: Well considering that you were the original singer with Fairport and the original singer with King Crimson

JUDY: Well not quite

JON: Not quite, but it actually sounds like a cross between early Fairport and early King Crimson.

JUDY: It might have a touch of Trader Horne in there as well – the band I was in after Giles, Giles and Fripp. And that was with Jackie McAuley who was in Them and we made this one album which didn’t sell well, but it’s now a cult album and everybody wants it, so …

JON: It must feel weird to be a cult

JUDY: Oh it is, it’s very strange.  People say, ‘Oh I’ve just spent £300 on your album’, and you think, well that’s just because they didn’t buy it in the first place, which makes it rare <laughs>  That’s probably not quite the right attitude, but …

JON: It’s probably how I’d be as well.

JUDY: It’s strange, strange feeling.  It’s nice to have it acknowledged, but it is quite strange. And of course Harpsong is pretty autobiographical – I kind of wrote the words and then Tim re-organised them to fit the music that he and Alistair had written so it starts of a bit soaky and then goes a bit weird when I stop singing, and then you get the King Crimsony bit in the middle.  I was really lucky because everybody that I asked from the old days was happy to contribute to it so Robert contributed a soundscape and Ian McDonald – who is not the same Ian McDonald who was in Fairport, so many people get that muddled; it’s the other one ..

JON: The one that was originally in King Crimson

JUDY: Er, yeah, that Ian McDonald who went on to be part of Foreigner

JON: The trouble is there are actually three Ian McDonalds.  There’s also the Ian McDonald who was the deputy-editor of the NME once

JUDY: That’s right yes <laughs>  It’s very complicated

JON: I got, years ago, him confused with the Fairport one

JUDY: Well Ian McDonald in Fairport, his name was really Ian Matthews Pratt or something, but he changed it to Ian McDonald, but when the Ian McDonald from King Crimson started becoming famous, Ian McDonald from Fairport changed his name to Ian Matthews, and became Matthews Southern Comfort. <laugh>

JON: I thought that what Ian McDonald did – I thought that his playing on it was absolutely exquisite.

JUDY: It is, isn’t yet…yes, and considering his part was done in New York.  Very little of the stuff was done in a studio, most of it was done … the vocals were mostly done in my house, the  music was created in Alistair’s, little tiny studio and people like Pat Mastelotto from Stick Men – he was in King Crimson – he sent his stuff via email from Austin, Texas, Ian sent his stuff from New York, Robert’s soundscape came via – that was one he did in Japan I think.  The only people that actually came and recorded in anything like a studio were Simon Nicol and Jacqui McShee who actually came to my house to record their bits.

JON: Well they live fairly close don’t they…

JUDY: Simon lives just up the road,  and Jacqui lives in Surrey.  And of course there’s Julianne Regan who did some beautiful things and Celia Humphris who is in France.  It’s quite an interesting collection of people...

This seems like a reasonably sensible place to break off for today. We shall be back on the morrow

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