We know that Judy Dyble can present a serious record if she was ever to be asked. She has been active for some time, this we find on her website, but the diehard musiclover will also recall that she had her own band 'Judy and the Folkman in 1964, and that she initially started as singer for Fairport Convention a few years later, soon to be replaced by Sandy Denny. With her third band, Giles, Giles, Fripp, McDonald and Dyble never turned out so well, but we know her best from Trader Horne, a duo consisting of Judy and keyboardwizz Jackie McAuley (ex-Them). These are all good memories of a great past. The question is therefore whether Judy is already finished singing? No, because with 'Talking To Strangers' proves that she still is the angel from the old days. Actually this recording dates from 2009 but has gotten a new pressing in 2013. And because Judy couldn't do this album on her own, some colleagues decided to contribute.
Simon Nicol (guitar - Fairport Convention), Ian McDonald (flute - King Crimson, Keith Tippett), Robert Fripp (guitar - King Crimson), Celia Humphris (Trees), Jacqui McShee (Pentangle), Tim Bowness (No Man - guitar, vocals) and a few other names from a not so distant time including multi-instrumentalist Alistair Murphy.
Only seven songs and two extra tracks but they are all gems in the tradition of The Civil Wars. Almost all these tracks are played by a remarkable cast of musicians. We get soft acoustic lines from Simon Nicol in the opener 'Never Knowing' while the flute sounds by McDonald give "Jazz Birds" such a magical overall sound. Robert Fripp gets the biggest job assigned to him in the almost 20-min. epic "Harp Song". Handsome imaginary soundscapes and of course the guitar perils of Fripp, just the way we like to hear him, fill this song. But we were also looking forward to her version of Greg Lake / Peter Sinfield's classic "C'est La Vie", still a song that is convincing at any time. With her angelic voice, richer than before, more rounded and more English than ever, we get a beautiful ballad guided by Tim Bowness' backing vocals.
Wheter she will end up in the hitparade with this album, we can say no, for the album is too beautiful, too sublime and too perfect. But for whoever planning picnic in the English Coswolds, you better just take this CD along. Let yourself be carried away through a dreamy landscape, become one with nature and the rest is pure synergy. Magical sounds will cloud your mind ... Fans of Fairport Convention, but also other folk enthusiasts, hurry yourselves to the record store because we strongly recommend this album.