The Judee Sill Revival: Mike Nessing Reviews Some Tracks Off Crayon Angel

 

The Ron Sexsmith version of “Crayon Angel” has great acoustic guitar and nice incidental percussion. When the harmonies come in, it shows how “big” these little songs were. Multiple distinctive melodies juxtaposed against each other. Then the piano comes in and completes the whole picture. I didn’t want it to end.

The tune sung by Beth Orton, “Reach For The Sky”. Orton does an admirable job of channeling Judee here. More proof that Judee learned music playing the church organ in a Catholic reform school. Gospel leanings on the chorus combined with very complex structure on the verse. Magnificent. The world needed her music so much while she was alive. We need it more than ever now. Spirituality without religion.

The Daniel Rossen track, “Waterfall” –that vocal melody gives me at least more proof of Judee’s influence on Andy Partridge of XTC- This is like Partridge’s whole career in one song. Glorious choral intro that conversely, demonstrates Brian Wilson’s influence on Sill. Tribute albums usually fall a little flat for me but this one is real good so far.


“Down Where The Valleys are Low” Hey, that’s Judee herself at the very top introducing this one. Her voice is so haunting. Interesting take on one of my favorite tunes by her.

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