Thursday, 13 December 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Judy Dyble interview (Part Two)

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 two of a three part interview which (I hope) goes some way towards explaining the talent of this extraordinary lady...

And - by the way - if you missed yesterday, you can read Part One Here.


JON: There are several different covers to the album, which is confusing

JUDY: The first one – the one done with John Hurford – he did the cover and another artist did the inlay drawings.  He got rather cross and had an argument and didn’t want his work to be used again so through Facebook contacts, I had come across Jackie Morris who’s a fabulous illustrator and asked if she would let us have some images we could use for the re-press.  And what she gave me was so wonderful that we used it for the front as well.  The only problem is the background of her drawings is gold leaf and of course that doesn’t come across very well as a colour picture, but I know it’s gold because I have got the original hanging on my wall and it’s beautiful. 

JON: I notice both of them have dogs that look very much like your dog.

JUDY: Yes,  I wonder why that is <laughs>  I did specify with John Hurford’s picture that I did want a greyhound because I just love them so much.  I’ve had about ten of them I think in the last 15 years because I usually take the very old ones who don’t have that long, so I have a lot of them but can give them a nice few years at the end of their lives.

We then totally digressed and talked about dogs for about ten minutes, and then drifted on to other animals with whom we had shared our lives. Whilst talking about pet birds, and in particular a wild blackbird who had become so tame that he visited Judy's kitchen for grapes, I said in passing that this sounds exactly what one would have hoped for a doyenne of British folk-rock..

JUDY: Fairport Convention weren’t really a folk band, we were much more of a rock band

JON: You were like the English version of Jefferson Airplane weren’t you?

JUDY: Only in that we had a male and a female singer and that we sang fairly rocky songs. It’s quite odd because I got lumbered with the folk tag simply because of what Fairport did when Sandy joined and they did Leige and Leif and went into the traditional stuff.  But I was never part of that. People tend to lump me in with that.

JON: You have such an English voice. 

JUDY: I do, yes.  I don’t know why. 

JON: That is one of the things that I find endearing about the album.  It has a very Englishness about it.

JUDY: Yes I’ve always wanted the words to be heard so I do tend to sing quite clearly and people seem to associate that with me so I can’t really ‘slur me words’ much because it gets me told off.

JON: Well I really do like the album.  What is happening next?

JUDY:  I’ve just finished a new heap of songs which I am looking a home for.  They are just about finished now, they are slightly more lyrically I think maybe … no that’s not really true. They are slightly different to the Talking to Strangers, but obviously they would need to be because I don’t do the same thing twice.  I don’t know quite how to describe.. I will have to send you one to listen to.

JON: Oh yes please.  I am very, very much a fan. 

She did, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Corinna and I feel very honoured to have been amongst the very few people to have heard it 

JUDY: I’m going to make a short video soon with snippets of the songs and some of the pictures that go with them. One of the songs is a fairly long song – about 12 minutes, which is all about the four artists that I am sort of connected with which is Jackie Morris, Catherine Hyde and Hannah Willow and Tamsin Abbott and they are four very different artists and they form what they call the Sisterhood of Ruralists, which is I think a kind of take on the Brotherhood of Ruralists which was the Pre-Raphaelites or something like that did that. So they each have their own song but Alistair has written the music and they kind of join together so that’s quite a nice one.  There’s a song about a crow, and a song about a black dog, and all sorts of songs. 

JON: Do we have any sort of timescale?

JUDY: Well I’m looking for a home for them at the moment, so it depends on if they get picked up by a label.  And then they will be, I imagine, probably middle of next year, early next year?  I think it takes about four months to get them together doesn’t it?

JON: You had another project, didn’t you, between Talking with Strangers and the new record that went something nasty.

JUDY: It went very wrong.  It was actually beautiful songs, but the people I was working with got rather uptight about something I can’t really talk about, but they took the music away so I was left with the words, so I am getting new music done for the words

JON: Are these the ones that are going to be on the next album?

JUDY: One of them is, but the others have gone to other songwriters to write music for, and they are not quite finished yet, but the people who took the music away, they wrote their own words, and have released the album as their own now, which is fair enough because it was their music, but it hurts.  I try to be practical about it and pragmatic.

JON: It’s a bit difficult isn’t it?

JUDY: It is, it is a strange world, strange and odd.  Things start off so well and then they go kind of wonky.  But that is the way life is.

JON: I think there is probably a song in that.

JUDY: Yes, there is a song, and I haven’t written it yet, because that whole time is still – I haven’t come to terms with it properly yet, but I will write a song about it one day.  That’ll learn them <laughs>

JON: Have you any more plans about live stuff?

JUDY: No.  I don’t know quite why I did that live gig  - it just felt good at the time.  I don’t do live very often once every three years seems to be the way, simply because I don’t really enjoy singing live until I am actually doing it.  The actual logistics of getting everyone rehearsed and in the right place at the right time is hard work.  And because I do have these health things I get very tired so I wouldn’t be able to do several weeks of touring or anything like that – I would be in a heap.  But if there’s something interesting and unusual then I am always ready to consider things.  I would quite like to go and sing in Estonia actually.  I have been sort of talked to about maybe doing that.

JON: Because you were doing some stuff in Norway, wasn’t it?

JUDY: Yes  that was because Talking with Strangers was released in Norway with a Norwegian record company.  I am not sure that it sold very well but it was quite fun to do and that is why I have got the Norwegian television thing.  And they made me put on all this makeup and did my hair – at 7 o’clock in the morning <laughs> That was quite fun.

And once again, this seems like a sensible place to break off for today. We shall return with the final part, tomorrow..

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