Search - Judee Sill :: Judee Sill

Judee Sill
Judee Sill
Judee Sill
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1

Judee Sill was a true original. A singer-songwriter with a wealth of influences and a fascination with religion, she referred to her work as "country-cult-baroque." She was the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum ...  more »


Larger Image

CD Details

All Artists: Judee Sill
Title: Judee Sill
Members Wishing: 10
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino Handmade
Release Date: 1/1/2004
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 603497783625


Album Description
Judee Sill was a true original. A singer-songwriter with a wealth of influences and a fascination with religion, she referred to her work as "country-cult-baroque." She was the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum label, and, along with Joni Mitchell and Carole King, exemplified the breezy "Laurel Canyon Sound" of the early '70s. Sill scored moderate hits with "Lady-O" (originally written for the Turtles) and "Jesus Was A Cross Maker" and released two albums--1971's Judee Sill and 1973's Heart Food--before suffering chronic pain and eventually dying of a drug overdose at age 35.Sill grew up in Oakland, California, and began playing piano at age three. A troubled family life and brushes with the law landed her in reform school, where, as church organist, she developed the gospel style that would characterize her future recordings. After a stint in college and three down-and-out years of addiction, she cleaned up and began work on her dream of becoming a songwriter. She spent a short time penning songs for the Turtles' production company before signing her own deal with Asylum.For her self-titled debut, Sill gathered a production team that included Jim Pons and John Beck of the Leaves, as well as engineer/producer Henry Lewy, known for his work with Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Leonard Cohen. Her guitar playing provides the foundation for most of the songs, joined by various combinations of pedal steel, strings, and brass. "Jesus Was a Cross Maker," built on a bed of Sill's gospel-flavored piano, was produced by Graham Nash and crafted as a single. Rich with cosmic imagery and ambiguously spiritual lyrics, the songs on Judee Sill often blur the line between the earthly and the divine.This Rhino Handmade release of Judee Sill has been remastered from original source materials and expanded with ten bonus tracks. "The Pearl" and "The Phoenix," which appear in more produced versions on Sill's second album, Heart Food, are included here in their original form. Also included are a home demo of "Jesus Was a Cross Maker" and a complete October 1971 performance at the Boston Music Hall.

Similar CDs


CD Reviews

Lopin' along thru the Cosmos. . .
greenworlder | Boston, MA | 09/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like "The Phoenix" (a great Judee Sill song), this Judee Sill fan has been resurrected and reborn. I was going through a closet at home recently and came across Judee's self-titled record album from 1971. I had forgotten all about it but remembered as a kid being mesmerized by her voice and the magical aura of these songs. ("Crayon Angels," "The Archetypal Man," "Lady-O," and "Lopin' Along Thru the Cosmos," in particular.) I spun the vinyl and then searched on line and discovered that she died, relatively forgotten, of a drug overdose in 1979. It saddened me, but learning some of the facts of her life made me hear these songs with a new and deeper meaning. Anyway, I was happy to find on Amazon that both her albums were recently reissued on CDs with the bonus of additional, previously unreleased studio and live performances. I purchased both albums, and I've been listening to them with great pleasure. I especially like the live Boston performance added on this CD (which is still my favorite). I have found myself feeling the same way that I did thirty years ago about this wonderful singer-songwriter. This album is a gem. Henry Lewy was the producer (of Joni Mitchell fame) and Graham Nash produced the single, "Jesus Was A Cross Maker," which, I remember, got some good radio play in the early '70s. Judee Sill is an intriguing lady. I would describe these songs as spaced out folk-spirituals. They are magical in their own special way; they are original and melodious, too. I can't get them out of my head! Her voice is clear, natural, and warm. On this first album, the production and arrangements are simpler than on her second album, which I prefer, but both are works that should be better known by those who like '60s and early'70s folk singers. Judee may be gone, but these songs will live on. ("Lopin'along thru the Cosmos, And sideways I slide thro the square, I'm hopin' so hard for a kiss from God, I missed the sweet love of the air . . ." -Judee Sill)
Lost and Found: Greatness
Robert Cossaboon | The happy land of Walworth, NY | 03/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One small word for Judee Sill, who came, made two gorgeous albums and then passed on with hardly a memory of her left almost thirty years later. One small word for a lady who chased after fame like the fabled questing beast of old only to have it forever just beyond her reach. Rhino records cannot be thanked enough for these reissues. They are expensive, but be assured the Sill CDs are completely worth the investment. Judee's voice you could have easily heard in a cereal commercial-it was that wholesome and earthy. The music, however, was not so simple. Like another contemporary, Gram Parsons, she sought a synthesis of musical styles: although many of her songs wear a country-western sheen, beneath that surface flow deeper currents of classical, religious, gospel, blues and pop. An accomplished pianist and guitarist, these instruments are both central in her songs. There are string accompaniments, and she double tracks her vocals, but there is an underlying simplicity that anchors most of the music and prevents it being too overblown and pompous. Lyrically, many of her songs seem to be about ascension; one minute she'll have her head in the clouds looking for god, and then the next thing you know, she's exploring the cosmos. Most of her song characters are rascally men, some good, some bad and some in-between. Stand-out tracks (for this listener, at least) on the album proper were "Crayon Angels" for its simplicity, "Lady-O" shows off Sill's talent for crafting wonderful pop songs, "Ridge Rider" for its wonderful prairie-like theme, "Enchanted Sky Machines" for the way it builds up to its bluesy-jazzy climax. The bonus tracks are excellent; they show all sides of Sill-live and demo. There are some outtakes, "The Pearl" and "The Phoenix" that would later find their way on her second album, Heart Food. Featuring only herself either on guitar or piano, the live tracks would not have been out of place in this day and age of the `unplugged' approach. They say you can't bury the truth no matter how hard you try-so it is therefore good and appropriate that the story of this woman's talent finally be told on these reissues."
Silver Wings
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 05/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Judee Sill's debut album in 1972 was the first released on the new Asylum records. Her unusual sense of melody and harmony that would bloom on her second release "Heart Food" were in full evidence on this first set. Here we are over 30 years later taking another look at this woman's special talent; the music is simply too good to fade. Sill touched people lyrically by using spiritual imagery to evoke mood & contemplation. As her personal history reveals, there is very much a sense of triumph over tribulation; so she remains a beacon for those experiencing the difficulties of life.

"Crayon Angels" is a lovely lighthearted melody with her lyrical mysticism, "So I sit here waitin' for God & a train to the Astral plane." "The Phantom Cowboy" at under 2 minutes breezes by, "Though I'm sittin' in the grit & grime, the spark of hope is in me strong." "The Archetypal Man" sounds like country music performed by a chamber choir with its soaring harmonies and pedal steel, "Fleeter even than Mercury, he flies inside the walls he calls his own." Probably my favorite track is the lighthearted "The Lamb Ran Away With the Crown," its carefree melody sounds positively joyful. The Turtles recorded the pretty folk tune "Lady-O," "So on my heels I'll grow wings, gunna ride silver strings, but I'll see you in my holiest dreams, Lady-O." The Hollies recorded "Jesus Was A Cross Maker" that has a churning tensive energy, "Sweet silver angels over the sea, please come down flyin' low for me." Sill the vocalist excels on "My Man On Love" that shows her great sense of harmonics. When her airy background vocals support her simple guitar melody, one wonders if angels would sound sweeter, "If I cried out loud, could you hear these words, resurrection waits within." "Lopin' Along Thru the Cosmos" & "Enchanted Sky Machines" are both lyrically cosmic, joyfully melodic songs. The original album concluded with "Abracadabra," essentially a 2-minute coda to the set, "Here's the key to the kingdom, See thru the eyes that be behind yours."

One wonders at the exquisite spirituality of this amazing album that it would come from a bank robber who died of a drug overdose, but such is the complexity of Judee Sill. The bonus tracks are interesting for hard core fans, demos & live takes. This self-titled re-release from Rhino Handmade was run with only 2,500 copies. It is well worth the price! Enjoy!"