Judee Sill – Live In London

Judee Sill – Live In London / 2007 Water / 18 Tracks / http://www.runtdistribution.com/water.html /

While it is true that some individuals in the current period know who Judee Sill was (Water Records released the demos for Sill’s unreleased third album as “Dreams Come True” back in 2005), chances are still strong that if you were not a fan of eir music when ey released eir self-titled (1971) and “Heart Food” albums (1973), you may not know why Sill was important. Sill was signed as the first artist to David Geffen’s Asylum label, after Geffen saw Sill performed as the opening act for Graham Nash and David Crosby. “Live In London” marks the entirety of two live sets that were created for the BBC between the time of the self-titled and “Heart Food” albums, and shows Sill in such a way that few individuals were able to see eir.

It goes without saying that some of Sill’s biggest hits were repeated for each of these shows, including “Jesus Was A Cross Maker”, “Down Where The Valleys Are Low”, and “Enchanted Sky Machines”, but there is some variation between the sets. Water has done well in regards to digging out these recordings and actually imbuing them with the same type of soul and spunk that were present when Sill first took the stage. What happens a lot of times with these released live sessions is that they merely sound as if the individual was trying to do a studio recording but did not have good enough equipment, coupled with a few annoying friends in the studio. The BBC recordings, however, give listeners a valuable insight to what it must have felt like thirty five years ago to be present at one of these shows. For individuals that have only been able to hear the two and a half albums that Sill put out (the two official releases and the demos for the third album), these live sets provide a valuable piece of the puzzle that is necessary to understand who Sill was and why individuals should care about eir contributions to the sound of current artists such as Devendra Banhart and Sufjan Stevens.

I don’t know what Water still has in regards to the Sill collection, but I would hope that they could continue with this important musical line. Water can go and show individuals artists that were hindered by life and other constraints, and give a whole new generation appreciation for what is a solid album, whether live or studio.

 Top Tracks: “The Kiss” (first set), “Jesus Was A Cross Maker” (latter set)

Rating: 7.4/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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