Judee Sill, Live In London – The BBC Recordings 1972 – 1973

Barney Hoskyns

By Barney Hoskyns

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A talent on par with Nick Drake, finally rediscovered.

The (re)discovery of the disturbed genius born Judy Lynn Sill has not come before its time. The reissue of her two early-'70s Asylum albums and the posthumous further revelation of 2005's Dreams Come True have at last resurrected a talent that's surely on a par with Nick Drake's. In 1972 and 1973 Sill made two visits to Britain that occasioned these recordings for the BBC, consisting of versions of songs from Judee Sill and Heart Food. Less assured and polished than their studio counterparts, they nonetheless do great justice to the baroque precision and seraphic mysticism of Sill's songs. "Lady-O" and "The Phoenix" (two versions), guitar songs both, are diaphanously beautiful. Set to rolling piano, "Enchanted Sky Machines" (two versions) and "Down Where the Valleys Are Low" (three versions) are robustly churchy. Also included is a revealing, candid chat with terminally laid-back Old Grey Whistle Test presenter "Whispering" Bob Harris.