After staying up into the wee hours, dreaming of San Francisco..

.. A special episode of The Old Grey Whistle Test, centering around singers & songwriters from California in the height of the hippie revolution, slunk onto my screen around 2am the other night & presented me with a new discovery: Judee Sill.

Blighted by a fearsome opiate addiction for much of her life, Judee passed away at the all-too-early age of just 35. She never really made it “big”, & the recent rediscovery of her work has prompted questions & confusion as to why Judee never experienced the attention & admiration that the likes of Janis Joplin & Joni Mitchell enjoyed throughout much of the sixties & seventies.

Part of the California-based hippie-folk-rock scene at that time, Judee grew into music alongside the likes of Graham Nash & David Crosby. Her voice is effortlessly beautiful & her lyrics are alive with an almost (almost) innocent poetry & a refreshing lack of self-indulgence, despite the open secret that she was kind-of a bitch. You can let this stuff wash over you & be little more than a collection of pleasant background melodies, or you can sit down, relax & let it flow through you. Either prospect is an enticing one for me.

But the thing I like most about Judee is that somehow her voice & her songs are pure San Francisco, although she spent most of her life in & around L.A. Something about listening to her sing takes me straight back to that bright, white skyline, those sun-kissed, golden hills & a bluest-blue sky above the Bay; & anything that can transport me there - even for a moment - is fine by me.

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  1. thegentlemandrifter posted this