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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judee Sill's abandoned third album plus bonuses - a welcome addition to her canon, 14 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Dreams Come True (Audio CD)
After two well-received but poor-selling albums, Judee Sill was justifiably downhearted. While Joni Mitchell was scaling the heights of the pop charts, Sill was recovering from a series of botched back surgeries after a car accident.

During her convalescence, she wrote some new songs and in late 1974 went into the studio with a band of musicians to record these. The sessions were relaxed and carefree, but the album was soon abandoned and sessions were aborted. Sill slid into obscurity and poverty, battling drug addictions, and she died five years later from a cocaine overdose at the age of 35.

The tapes for these sessions were found again in 2004 and Jim O'Rourke has done a fantastic job of producing them in a way to reflect both the nature of the sessions and the hallmarks of Judee Sill's sound.

The eight new songs here (it sounds skimpy, but there were only nine for 1973's Heart Food) are all very strong and also quite different to her previous material. The melancholy quality is gone and she seems in fine spirits here. The music is melodic and driving, and there aren't many slow, sad songs. Instead, it's actually quite a rocking album.

Opener "That's the Spirit" sets the scene with Sill's trademark piano playing with an unusual rhythm pattern and a vocal delivery that seems more free than before. Sill lets go vocally on this album, using her vibrato more as well as her higher range. "That's the Spirit" is an immediately memorable, joyous opener, and joins the ranks of Sill's finest songs. Her vocal is strong, if not as polished as on the first two records, which lends the song a certain charm in itself.

The countrified-gospel-classical sound of Heart Food is present on songs like "I'm Over" and "The Good Ship Omega," but for the most part this is new territory for Sill. "The Living End" boasts a sassy rhythm and "Things Are Lookin' Up" is genuinely jaunty and fast-paced, while "'Til Dreams Come True" is the only real slow song, a ballad of hymnal intensity.

Happy and carefree though the songs may be, Sill never compromises her immense melodic, harmonic, and poetic abilities and she still astounds here. The songs do not possess the fragile beauty of those on Judee Sill and Heart Food, and somehow seem more straightforwardly pop-inspired. That is an interesting new direction for Sill and it would be intriguing to hear how the album would have turned out had it been completed. The demos are of great quality too.

A disc of "lost songs" is also included, and despite low sound quality the power of Sill's performance is captured on her own songs such as "Dead Time Bummer Blues," "Waterfall," and "Emerald River Dance," the former being an eerie, off-kilter, deadpan song about Sill's time in jail, and the latter two, particularly "Emerald River Dance," incredibly beautiful - it would have been worthy of a place on her debut. There is also a 1968 set of folk covers, and video footage of a 1973 mini-set.

The packaging is exquisite, with a keepsake slipcase, the two discs packaged in envelopes and a 72-page colour booklet featuring interviews with family members and biographical details, as well as photos and lyrics. It's all extremely well-done, and reflects the high quality of the music.

Intricate, professional, fun, and melodic, the music on Dreams Come True may not match the bewitching beauty of Sill's first two records but it never tries to, instead going for a fuller band sound. If Sill recorded more albums, the quality would no doubt have remained incredibly high.

This isn't the best place for first-time listeners music wise perhaps, as it's not the finished product - nobody knows how Sill wanted it to turn out (although Dreams Come True was always her intended title.) However, this is worth the money even for the book alone, which gives major insight into Sill's life. A worthy addition to the Judee Sill collection, and the closing part of a beautiful, extraordinary trilogy.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For all Judee fans everywhere, 30 April 2005
This review is from: Dreams Come True: +Book (Audio CD)
Although I have only given this 4 stars, this has been put together with tender loving care, with packaging which is very well done and quite unique.
I have been a Judee Sill fan since her first album came out in the very early 70's. I knew of Heart Food but not until it was unavailable. Then both became available on CD last year (or the year before)
I never knew of any other material. So this is a treat. The songs are typical of the type she wrote and the album sub-title (Hi I love you right heartily here) oozes Judee Sill-speak. I think the songs mask the troubled life she must have left. You only have to read the extraordinarily informative booklet to get an idea of the life she led a tortured soul, perhaps. However, the songs fly away on the breeze but always make a soft landing.
The film footage from 1973 on disc 2 is not great quality, but is the first I have seen of her and is very enlightening and enchanting.
So if you liked her first two albums, then you need to have this little gem - but I think you need the two studio albums first to appreciate her at her very best before embarking on this package.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fan's Dream, 5 April 2005
J. MOORE (Tokyo, Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dreams Come True: +Book (Audio CD)
This is a wonderfully package set which is a dream for anyone who has the slighest interest in Judee Sill.Packed with goodies galore - lost songs, rare tracks and unreleased recordings which until now where never confirmed actually existed. The whole package has been beautifully and without doubt lovingly restored by Jim O' Rourke. The greatest joy was the 12 min film enchanced in the second CD which was a real thrill especially having another version of "The Kiss". I hope that OGWT release the other track that is still in their vaults.
Last year saw the wonderful releases by Rhino Handmade of her first two albums and with this package it completes the discography of a very tortured but truly, truly gifted singer. I do believe she ranks alongside Nick Drake for being one of the most underated singers ever and also like Nick many of us are now only realizing how special she really was. So without any reservations click on the buy button and wait for one of this year's best releases and superbly packaged discs for 2005. Thank-you Jim and the record company for making this possible!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 20 July 2009
This review is from: Dreams Come True (Audio CD)
"Your spark shall be honoured" sings Judee Sill on the stand-out track of this collection "Til Dreams come True", and these are words that have in fact come true for Judee Sill. This CD is testament to the support and admiration she has found 30 years after her death and it contains a surprisingly sprightly lost album, some home recordings and a precious snippet of video.

The good news is that disc one is well mixed and produced and reveals a jaunty, upbeat Judee which is a little unexpected considering her circumstances, and the fact that her limited commercial appeal had already simply drained away.

Then, when you focus on what she's singing about, you realise there is something a little odd going on... these are not the standard long-haired-chick-with-an-acoustic fare. No musings on relationships but simply more despatches from the intriguing storm front that was Judee Sill.

This means a mix of metaphysics, LA-soft rock, and good old fashioned gospel piano - and it is really on the piano she shines the most.

The actual song "Til Dreams come True" is almost as beautiful as her masterpiece song "the Donor", beautifully sung and phrased. Disc 2 should not be ignored either... especially the eiree "Emerald River Dance". So these recordings are certainly not dregs, but - true to her contrarian form - certainly not the kind of music you'd expect from someone recovering from serious back surgery with an addiction problem that would kill her a few years later. "Things are looking up" is poignantly cheerful. Only Ms Sill could have written a song like "The Good ship Omega" with its Sill-like obsessions of some kind of mass metaphysical rescue of the blessed.

One gets a sense that she would have been a difficult character to know or even like and she must have made a lot of enemies with her sharp tongue and wild behaviour -- but her art is nevertheless unique in its subject matter and nuances. Just how she would have evolved (a Judee word) we will never know. She needed a benefactor and supporter after David Geffen dumped her, but, alas, she never found one.

Go for "Heart Food" if you are new to her music, and then return to this. Fantastic that all this music exists in such a relatively finished form.

Oh, and check out the final track on disc two, a piano instrumental called "oh Boy the Magician". Goes on just a little bit too long, but if ever a bit of music called to be included in a movie soundtrack, it is this affecting little snippet...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complete your Judee Sill collection now!, 10 Sept. 2014
Pal Joey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dreams Come True: +Book (Audio CD)
This is Judee Sill's unfinished third album, finally released with a disc of extras that also includes a short video of a live solo performance.

I'm giving it 4 stars only because the first two albums were so good and this, while a wonderful collection of songs, is not quite at that level. Had she been able to complete the album with her imaginative arrangements and we had the polished product that was intended, then what a piece of work this would have been!

The familiar elements are all present; spirituality, wry humour, that flexible and assured voice, the piano playing. No clichéd .'female singer-songwriter' introverted strumming here - this is someone with confidence in and mastery of her creativity.

The second disc is a mixed bag, but an insight to her songwriting. Being demos, the sound quality is variable and the performances are often a bit rough 'round the edges. The video is not of great quality either, but there's a charm to seeing her sitting on her own and performing songs that are more familiar with elaborate instrumental arrangements.

The worst thing about this is that if, like me, you bought this because you loved 'Judee Sill' and 'Heart Food', now you have this collection, there are no more new songs and never will be (barring some miraculous discovery). In a better world, she'd still be alive and captivating music lovers with more intimate and intricate marvels.
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Dreams Come True
Dreams Come True by Judee Sill (Audio CD - 2008)
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