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Live in London The BBC Recordings 1972-1973 Live


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Live in London The BBC Recordings 1972-1973 + Abracadabra: The Asylum Years (International Release) + Judee Sill
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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Jun. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Troubadour
  • ASIN: B000PHX17W
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Jesus Was A Cross Maker
2. Lady O
3. The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown
4. Enchanted Sky Machines
5. The Kiss
6. Down Where The Valleys Are Low.
7. Enchanted Sky Machines
8. The Kiss
9. Down Where The Valleys Are Low
10. Phoenix
11. Lady O
12. Jesus Was A Cross Maker
13. Interview.
14. There's A Rugged Road
15. Phoenix
16. The Kiss
17. Down Where The Valleys Are Low
18. The Donor
19. Soldier Of The Heart

Product Description

About the Artist

A singer/songwriter with deeply religious overtones and a penchant for the occult, Judee Sill is one of rock's more interesting and lesser-known stories. The daughter of old Hollywood money, Sill's father died when she was just a child, and her brother died in a car crash soon after, leading to a bleak outlook on life that she expressed in an arty, disaffected attitude. She disliked her stepfather and condemned her mother for remarrying; as a quiet form of vengeance, Sill set out to travel America and live a rambling lifestyle. She had been interested in playing music although was seemingly not serious about it until she began her travels, playing small coffee houses and dives for fun. She and her friends had always been into drugs for recreational and exploratory use, but as Sill stayed out on the road she began using heroin regularly, eventually developing a hundred-fifty-dollar-a-day habit. It was rumored (partly by Sill herself, although never confirmed) that she at one time had to prostitute herself in order to support her addiction.

In the late '60s Sill was busted for heroin possession and served three months in prison, during which time she was able to kick her habit; when she returned to the world at large, she focused solely on making music. She returned to Los Angeles where, through her Hollywood connections, she was introduced to David Geffen. Geffen was in the process of creating Asylum Records, which was to focus exclusively on non-rock material. Taken by Sill's abilities as a writer and performer, Geffen immediately signed her to Asylum; her self-titled debut was also the first official release for the new label.

It was through Geffen that she met Graham Nash, who quickly became a fan, and produced the first single for her album, "Jesus Was a Cross Maker." The rest of Judee Sill was orchestrated and produced by Bob Harris, Sill's ex-husband. Judee Sill was released in 1971 to immediate acclaim. Lushly orchestrated, the album featured Sill's voice in multiple overdubs, often in a four-part chorale or fugue. The album fit in well with the light rock/folk-rock underpinnings of what came to be known as the "Laurel Canyon sound" associated with other female singer/songwriters such as Carole King and Joni Mitchell (Mitchell, also signed to Asylum, was at work on Ladies of the Canyon at the time, which was also produced by Bob Harris). A tour as the opening act for Nash and David Crosby exposed her intimate songwriting and skillful guitar playing to a larger audience, but her record failed to make much of an impact, despite the somewhat heavy airplay of "Jesus Was a Cross Maker." A self-professed perfectionist, one song could often take her a year to write, and it wasn't until late 1972 that Sill returned to record and release her second and last album, Heart Food. It too received enthusiastic reviews but did poorly commercially. Sill took over the chores of both orchestrating and arranging Heart Food, with the production relying more heavily on multilayered strings and lush expanse. Unable to draw a sizable crowd yet unwilling to play as a support act, Sill's name and moderate fame both receded, and she disappeared from view entirely. Rumors abound as to what happened next, although it is definitely known that she returned to her heroin addiction as well as becoming heavily involved with cocaine. Graham Nash has said that he learned as early as 1974 that Sill had died of an overdose, a claim that would later prove to be incorrect, but considering how closely the two had worked only a few years earlier it does illustrate just how completely Sill had dropped out by this time. She never managed a second return from the abyss and Judee Sill, age 35, died of a drug overdose in November of 1979.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By N. Black on 8 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
Troubled soul that she was, Judee Sill found - at first - a kind of a safe haven in the UK during brief European tours before she was brutally dropped by David Geffen for an off-colour impromptu public remark. This album chronicles that period, with selections from two 1972 gigs and one in 1973.

This album shines best when Judee turns to the piano... beautiful versions of "the Kiss", "the Phoenix" and a stunning solo version of her masterpiece "the Donor" which, stripped of its intricate choral arrangements nevertheless holds up as Judee finds, as she describes it, a partner to harmonise with - the piano itself. Wierd that her semi-supporters Graham Nash and Daviod Crosby never appear to have deigned to actually harmonise with her, because their voices would have blended so well.

Another gem is the guarded, somewhat sparky interview with none other than whispering Bob Harris... with Bob's gentle, tactful probing provoking the sort of wry, self-deprecating responses which charecterised Judee Sill.

So great, anyway, to hear her get some respect in her lifetime, and so sad to think that that just 7 years later Judee was dead, forgotten, discarded by her former record company and the victim of some dubious lifestyle choices.

If you are new to Judee you might be wondering what you'll get yourself into. Her voice has no tricks at all, it is simple, vibrato-less, a little dusky but never less than honest. It might be best to turn to the Asylum years compilation, as the first step if only to hear "the Donor" in its full glory.

This CD is much more intimate. But her talents as a songwriter and singer shine forth. What a pity that this particular candle burnt at both ends. What luck that someone was around the record her in full flight.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Michael LJ Feehan on 7 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So many recording artists, past and present, fail to capture live on stage what they manage to produce in the studio. Take away the box of tricks, the orchestra and a good engineer and what results is near disaster unless the fans are screaming so loud that they wouldn't notice anyway. Not so with Miss Sill her perfect vocals in a distinctive voice that lulls you into the spirituality of the lyrics, simply accampanied by her guitar or piano, never disappoints or fails to impress. It is such a shame that the world lost this lady to 20th Century demons, a car wreck, devestating back pain following myelograms then extensive surgery and a last resort to drugs to try to find some physical peace. The question will always be asked about whether or not that last drug overdose was intentional, I personally think not. At the time of her death Judee was intellectually far ahead of her contemporaries in her lyric writing, always managing to tell a story or create a vision through words that, at first, seemed to make no sense sometimes. Her orchestrations for her songs were note perfect always taking her music to new heights without overembellishments that would have made it difficult to reproduce the intent when reprised live without them. This album proves that point eloquently as she effortlessly produces live versions of her most successful numbers without fault, never losing a note or stumbling over a lyric. It was watching her live on television that drew a much younger version of myself towards her in the first place in the early 1970s it was a joy to hear her sans orchestra once again. If you buy this album and enjoy it you will also have to buy the only two recorded albums, "Judee Sill" and "Heartfood".Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Felicia Davis-burden VINE VOICE on 19 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a very welcome addition to the Sill collection: Recorded accompanying herself on piano or guitar, giving short introductions to songs and an interview to Whispering Bob Harris.

Without the complex layered arrangements on her two albums, these songs still stand up as masterpieces. We also hear how accomplished Judee had become, very quickly, on her instruments and how fine a singer she was. This is a no-frills, genuine delight.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Knj Yates on 20 April 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Judee Sill went off my radar in the late 70's I did not know of her addictions or the tragic path her life would take. I was reminded by my friends 'Crucial CD Collection' emails and I decided to look again for her music and found this live recording.
I think The Kiss originally appeared on Heart food and would floor me every time I heard the last lines of the verses, a perfect blend of California and Baroque. Produced at a time when double tracking and chorus effects were wildly applied to all sorts of music her vocals are a little processed. This live recording is just Judee and her piano recorded at the Old Grey Whistle Test studios in London and suffer for nothing at all. A heart wrenching performance worth the price of this CD. Of course there are the other tracks given this stripped down treatment and all yield a special experience.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD
I though the studio albums were good, but this is in a different league!

Treat yourself - you won't regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 July 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having discovered Judee's very impressive studio albums recently, I was attracted to her more stripped down recordings for the BBC, which rest wholly on her voice, & her guitar/piano for their effect. These recordings have a simple & intimate beauty, with some of her most affecting pieces, The Kiss & The Donor, having an even more powerful impact as a result. Her interview with Bob Harris, though a little clumsily handled by the interviewer, also gives a valuable insight into the creation & purpose behind the songs, and Judee's sensitivity & intelligence.

The production values of this set are also due praise, with a valuable & detailed booklet giving helpful background, and the artwork of the whole package is very sympathetic. My only reservation is the limited amount of material here, as some songs are repeated three times, and I feel only The Kiss is powerful enough to withstand this over-exposure. An achingly beautiful collection nevertheless.
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