Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Judie Tzuke Edinburgh 1980

24th April 1980

Edinburgh Odeon

Judie Tzuke made me late for work one day, she did. 

Back in the Summer of 1979, I was still staying at home, and a Bus-stop Cowboy to boot.  I required to be out the door no later than 8:25AM, in order to scurry down the road to catch my bus into work.  Just as I was preparing to leave the house one morning, onto the Radio 1 Breakfast Show came this utterly entrancing piece of music.  A haunting see-saw keyboard, over which sang the voice of an angel.  I stood transfixed, simply unable to leave the house until I discovered the name of the singer.  But as the track faded, in came the news, and it was well past my deadline before DLT announced the song as Stay With Me ‘Till Dawn by Judy Zook (or so it sounded).

As mesmeric as the music undoubtedly was, it was actually the lyric which stopped me in my tracks.  Although an emotionally immature half-wit back in those days (I would remain so, until my early thirties), I nevertheless had sufficient nous to realise the song title was about shagging, and that the line “I’ll show you a sunset” may have referred to surrendering virginity (maybe).  But, what had hit me were the lines:

"Is this a game you’re playin’?
I don’t understand what’s goin’ on.
I can’t see through your frown,
First you’re up then you’re down
You’re keeping me from someone I want to know."

This notion that by hiding one’s feelings from those around you, specifically from one’s partner, could represent a barrier to them getting to know you, appeared so alien, and yet apt.  And I recognised myself, with my reliance on walls and masks to cope with and hide my comprehensive set of hang-ups and inadequacies.  Particularly so, as I was only just gradually beginning to realise that my previous relationship had foundered primarily on my inability/unwillingness/refusal to come out from behind these same walls and masks.

I appreciate much of this sounds like, at best, so much amateur psychiatrist psychobabble – probably because it is – but this song did at the time sort of make me evaluate how much of me (the little that there was), I was sharing with my then partner (Wife-to-Be).  Having said that, whether it ultimately made any difference, I cannot say - probably not, as she still regards me as a reticent old Cunt.

Anyway – enough of such nonsense.  After hearing the song a few more times, I swiftly bought the Welcome to The Cruise album, and what a delight it was (indeed, still is).  With perhaps only two fillers (New Friends Again and These Are The Laws), it was a collection full of exotic names and locations – where the hell was Katiera Island?  And who or what was Sukarita?  Whilst Ladies Night, For You and Bring The Rain were all poignantly evocative masterpieces.

WTB and I saw Judie and her band support Gallagher & Lyle a few months later, but had to wait until the following April (for the tour supporting the Sportscar album) to witness a full concert.  And although it certainly was a special evening, what became swiftly clear was how disappointingly inferior the new songs were.  Don’t get me wrong, they were all polished, professional, smooth AOR, but they just lacked the sparkle of the compositions on the debut. 

The one exception was the title track, a jaunty riffing piece: the lyrics of which were barbed enough to make Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain sound like a eulogy.  Judie’s vocal was a real tour de force, even if perhaps she strained for too high a register at times, and I loved her brushed Home Counties accent asserting

“I don’t care who you are,
You’re not putting your car in my garage”     

This song apart, there was no getting away from the fact the Sportscar album was a bit of a let down.  And at this point, I am slightly ashamed to say, I just dumped Judie.  I was musically extremely promiscuous around this period of my life, as I was on the cusp of dropping many of my 1970’s heroes (at least temporarily), and taking up with a number of the emerging 1980s bands.  There just appeared too much choice:  So much music….so little time.  And, well Judie was one of the ones who had to go, I’m afraid. 

We may yet rekindle things, someday, though.  You can never tell.

Set list – this is taken from an earlier (18th April) gig on the same tour

Welcome to the Cruise
Stay With Me Till Dawn
Living on the Coast
Rise of Heart
Rain on The Hills
Katiera Island

For You

PS – The support were a band called Graduate, (who later morphed into Tears For Fears), of whom I remember zip.

1 comment:

  1. Ian, if you'd like to rekindle your love of Judie, she's at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on Monday 12th March!

    Best wishes
    A Judie fan!