An English Rock Institution

Judie Tzuke UK tour
Martletts Hall, Burgess Hill and elsewhere
October 8th 2010 (tour 1/10-18/10)

Judie Tzuke has just completed another UK tour. I’ve been following and writing about her gigs for nearly thirty years now  and this particularly journey around the British Isles may simply have been one of her best. Gone are the days when it was the Hammersmith Odeon with writers from Kerrang! in the wings — to be replaced by a string of performances that are all about craft, musicianship, songwriting and a minimum of hype and advertising.

Judie’s latest album has been “Moon on a Mirrorball”, a double cd set with 4 new tracks but which is meant to sum up her career so far – from “For You” and “Stay With Me Till Dawn” through to the collaborative songwriting ventures which have made up her independently -released “Songs 1” and “Songs 2” albums.

Each night a few of the pieces that make up the show are changed around but whatever the exact running order, the overall sense is to give you a flavour of her whole career.

Bailey Tzuke

The nights are opened by two young artists who Judie has mentored. First up is David Saw, gentle acoustic songs with humour but not much yet to set him apart from the crowd. He is joined on one song by another member of the Tzuke alumni, Lucie Silvas. More satisfying, is Judie’s daughter, Bailey Tzuke, who having had a hit single with the Freemasons of an Alanis Morrissette cover, is busy crafting her own songwriting style into a timeless light rock.

Judie, herself, chooses from all the light and shade of her career. Of course, there is “Stay With Me Till Dawn”, the lady’s one hit single but there is far more to Ms. Tzuke than that. “Sportscar”, the title track of the second album which made her such a darling of the heavy metal set back in the day is here. “For You” is transformed into a three-piece harmony for Judie and her two daughters, Bailey and Tallula. Also there is “Come Hell and Waters High” which was meant to be the hit ballad after “….Dawn” but never happened and “Bring the Rain” and Sukarita from the debut album.

But to be honest, it is the material from the more recent albums which makes the show such a triumph. The second half of Judie’s career probably began with the “Wonderland” album and that here is represented by “Vivien”, – all tense lyrics and charging guitar. “Under the Angels” and “Secret Agent” are title tracks which were culled from the first studio albums to appear on her own Big Moon label and here they are tour-de-force. Also from the “Under the Angels” album comes “Joan of Arc” whilst the “Queen Secret Keeper” set is represented by the beautiful and delicate, “One Minute”.

Judie Tzuke

Her desire to reach new peaks with her songwriting and performance is illustrated by “If”, “Submarine Boy” and “Faith”, some of the new songs from the compilation.

She is backed by a tight and sympathetic band of which lead guitarist, Graham Kearns is the standout musician but no-one is a slouch. At Burgess  Hill, we are hosted by a concert hall which shares its premises with a library but there is nothing hushed, quiet, stately or bookish about this full-blooded show.

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