Reviews: Gathering The Threads- (Fifty Years of Stuff)

Gavin Martin - Daily Mirror 07-03-2015 


13-03-2015 Dmitry Epstein gave it 5stars!

JUDY DYBLE – Gathering The Threads

Judy Dyble 2015

JUDY DYBLE - Gathering The Threads

JUDY DYBLE – Gathering The Threads

Subtitled “Fifty Years Of Stuff,” a marvelous overview of lost gem’s of English folk rock first decades on the stage and behind the scenes.

She may be praised as a national treasure now, but only core followers were interested in what Judy Dyble‘s been doing in the time when her name didn’t grace the music press pages. And here’s a reward for the aficionados’ loyalty: compiled and issued by the singer herself, this 3CD-box offers a genuine continuity with a fantastic selection of Dyble’s album fare, rarities previously scattered across limited editions and collaborative efforts, and recordings that haven’t seen the light of the day before. More so, it reveals Judy as an intrepid experimentalist as well as traditionalist.

Although ordered chronologically, the collection ends with a recentconcert take on “If I Had A Ribbon Bow” which the chanteuse entered a public eye with, when she fronted FAIRPORT CONVENTION, and their fans will be happy to hear a couple demos from 1967. One of these is the deeply emotional “One Sure Thing” that Dyble would revisit in a crunchier, almost punk setting with THE CONSPIRATORS in 2008, on a single housed on CD2, yet there are earlier tracks – two home recordings from 1964, “Come All Ye Fair And Tender Ladies” showing the 15-year-old artist not afraid to infuse an Appalachian tune with her own, English personality. Yet in 1966, in the company of Richard Thompson, she went much further, for a riveting folk-tinged improvisation, present on the first disc in a much abridged form than is on the source tape and throwing a bridge to Judy’s later sonic adventures like solo “Seventh Whorl” or “Noh Kro Poh” that she notched for JOXFIELD PROJECT.

In such a context, the singer’s work with GILES GILES & FRIPP in 1968 feels only logical, tracks like “Make It Today” demonstrating Dyble’s talent at handling jazzier material, which is also manifested on 2014’s outtake “RadioWaves” – the duet with Jackie McAuley could have been a reunion of TRADER HORNE whose tapes are absent from “Threads” due to contractual reasons – and it was Judy who first recorded “I Talk To The Wind” that she updated on 2006’s solo album “The Whorl” to add magic and maturity to it. There’s a woman’s touch to this ballad, too, but the singer was enchanted enough with Greg Lake‘s approach to appropriate his “C’est La Vie” for her "Talking With Strangers" in 2009 and take it to crystalline heights. Judy’s ability to adapt and transform comes forth on a backing vocals job be it in the 2012 on “Weather Changes” for DODSON AND FOGG or back in 1970 on G.F. Fitzgerald’s “May Four.”

The ’70s saw Dyble disappear into family life, yet it didn’t deter her from singing, and Mike Batt was smitten with Judy voice, so one may only wonder why the richly orchestrated “Better Side Of Me” stopped in 1972 at a demo stage, as did the slide-adorned merry vocalizing on “I Hear A Song” from the following year. Still, there’s a gap between those and her psychedelic version of “See Emily Play” from 1982, when Dyle worked with Adrian Wagner, and then to 2004, when Judy returned to action to stay on. The comeback is reflected on “Going Home” from “Enchanted Garden” where the erstwhile folk sensibility gets married to a cosmic buzz of a soundscape before unwinding into an almost orchestral “Lost In Fingest” – and it was at this point that she opened up for epic compositions.

The artist breathes transparent fire into “Shining” whose “I am lost for words” refrain lingers in one’s mind long after its rays dissolve in vibrant silence, although her longest suites – LP side-long “Harpsong” and “The Sisterhood Of Ruralists” – aren’t part of the box. Scope aside, it’s nigh on impossible to imagine gentle Judy in a metal mode, yet here she is, grafting a second voice to “Every Sentimental Moment” on a KINGS CROSS single in 2009, but the title piece on “Talking With Strangers” finds Dyble in her very element – piano-backed and soaring, while freezing her flight down to a faux-fairy tale of “Wintersong” off 2013’s "Flow And Change".

High or low, though, Judy Dyble is so natural – an integral part of the nature – that she’s mesmerizing throughout. With threads gathered into a fine tapestry, this collection opens the doors to her second spring: she’s a treasure, indeed.


UNCUT May 2015



Kaleidoscope Magazine (Shindig!) May 2015


Classic Rock June 2015







Self-compiled, vault-raiding, three-CD comp from original Fairport Convention singer.

North London-raised Dyble has often appeared a figure out of time and place in her under-appreciated yet quietly remarkable career. The sleevenotes accompanying this handsomely packaged collection recall former librarian JD sat on the stage edge knitting at scenester hangout The Speakeasy while fellow Fairporter and boyfriend Richard Thompson jammed onstage, with Jimi Hendrix.


It is certainly Dyble’s singular character and unaffected, sure and steady purpose that runs through these tracks. The home recordings age 15, early Fairport demos, hook ups with pre-King Crimson Robert Fripp and post-Them Jackie McAuley are all of a piece with last year’s ravishing Take Me Dancing, the latter a product of her rewarding creative partnership with writer/producer Alistair Murphy.

Despite a prolonged hiatus (child raising and running a cassette duplication business) Judy’s genre-hopping facility across folk, prog, jazz, orch pop and, even, rebel rock is a tribute to her path-less-travelled daring and resilience. Standouts include Better Side Of Me the only surviving gem from her 1971 sessions with Mike Batt and Shining, the classical-enhanced pastoral mystery and loveliness from post-comeback 2006 release Spindle.

Off-piste and experimental gems abound, but the strongest and most compelling material is the most recently recorded (CD3: Onwards). Much of this work has been created away from the spotlight, but through it all Judy’s voice and vision has attained an evanescent lightness of touch and richly layered maturity.

For those yet to make the lady’s acquaintance, discovery is advised and there’s no better place to start.




Prog Magazine June2015

Must-have retrospective from quietly pivotal folk/prog figure.

Through her stints in the formative line-ups of Fairport and King Crimson, the shy, reclusive, self-effacing Judy Dyble is part of the history of progressive music.


Thankfully, she’s been more active of late, and now we have this wonderfully intimate three-disc treasure trove. Dyble’s clearly been digging through the crates to find the touchstones of her past, and has unearthed some real curate’s eggs here. Disc one, The Early Years (1964-1982), has home recordings, demos and ‘cassingles’. Taped with her Folkmen in Christmas ’64,Spanish Is A Lovin’ TongueCome All Ye Fair and Improvisation (with then-boyfriend Richard Thompson) are woolly in quality, but the style pours through the speakers as if from a world long gone.

Fairport’s upbeat demo of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now and brilliant One Sure Thing are glossier, while the four tracks from The Brondesbury Tapes with Giles, Giles And Fripp really are a cut above – the singer in now-exalted company and elevating Make It Today, a Fripp-heavy Under The Sky.

Among the unearthed demos,See Emily Play sees Dyble wrestle nobly with Adrian Wagner’s synth-centric 1982 rendition of the Floyd classic. And then, for 30 years, nothing. Dyble ditched music and came back in 2004, as charted on disc two, 

The Return 2004-2009. On comeback album Enchanted Garden, then Spindle and The Whorl (both ’06), the voice is burnished by age, the tone concentrated into a truly vintage sip on Going HomeI Talk To The Wind (yes that one). More notable curios here too: unreleased demo the gentle In The Moment and odd world/ambient collaboration with the Joxfield Project (Noh Kro Poh).

Disc three, Onwards (2010-2014), brings us up to speed with tunes from Talking With Strangers and Flow And Change, and work with everyone from Tim Bowness to Sleepyard. Judy’s own  typically warm, informative and self-effacing sleevenotes only add to this package’s must-have quality. 


Grant Moon

Classic Rock Society Magazine- 207 May 2015

Steve Pilkington

and now from Mojo August 2015

And fRoots fR386 June 2015 


(N.B.the booklet was actually written by the very splendid Dave Thompson )

Gathering The Threads Starcrazy SC001-003
Proud possessor of one of the most genuinely
unmistakable voices in folk-rock, Judy was
Fairport Convention’s first lead singer back in
the late-’60s, before moving on to Giles, Giles
& Fripp and Trader Horne, and barely two
years after the breakup of the latter took what
became nearly a quarter-century’s sabbatical
from musical pursuits until one of those ‘right
place, right time’ occasions (1997’s Cropredy)
persuaded her that she could still sing! Judy’s
increased confidence thenceforth has ensured
that the past decade or so has been filled with
numerous, often surprising musical collaborations,
and a series of solo albums of remarkable
quality and imagination.
Here, then, is a life-spanning three-disc
retrospective that also cannily looks forward.
Unprepossessingly subtitled Fifty Years Of
Stuff, it’s been lovingly and fastidiously compiled
(and released) by Judy herself. It’s
arranged strictly chronologically: Disc One
(The Early Years) takes in the (long pre-Fairport)
Judy & The Folkmen; a sequence of
weird teenage improvisational noodling that
will surely embarrass fellow-collaborator (and
then boyfriend) Richard Thompson; a pair of
hitherto unreleased Fairport demos; obscure
GG&F tapes; an appearance on Gerry Fitzgerald’s
Mouseproof LP; some unreleased ’70s
demos; and two early-’80s curiosities made
with Adrian Wagner (a cover of See Emily
Play and a somewhat optimistic advert for an
“amazing” brand of tape!). Disc Two charts
Judy’s trio of ‘comeback’ albums from the
noughties involving Marc Swordfish
(Enchanted Garden, Spindle and The Whorl),
then sundry unreleased gems from collaborative
projects with an impressive range of
musicians; rarity-status single and vinyl cuts;
and the punk-supercharged 2008 hit revisit of
One Sure Thing with The Conspirators. Disc
Three, subtitled Onwards, covers the past five
fruitful years: 2009’s Talking With Strangers
album and its bonus tracks, 2013’s Flow And
Change, further intriguing experimental collaborations
with the likes of Füxa, Sleepyard
and Sand Snowman; three recent – and seriously
charming – new recordings with Alistair
Murphy at the helm, including the gorgeous
Take Me Dancing and a swinging duet featuring
ex-Trader Horne partner Jackie McAuley;
and finally, bringing Judy’s career almost full
circle, sparkling 2014 live recordings of Jenny
May and the number that for many fans
started it all, If I Had A Ribbon Bow.
Gathering The Threads is an object lesson
in packaging too: its supremely attractive de -
sign, and informative (and frank) booklet notes
(penned by Judy herself), precisely complement
the vital music within. Truly magnificent.
David Kidman

R2 Issue 52 July/August 2015

 Review in Caught In The Act by Ian Maun- March 2016