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Understanding Judie

There are very few female vocalists/songwriters that I rate. I struggle to find any who have enough spirit, substance and colour in their voices. There’s Ella, Aretha and Joni, of course, and fortunately there is also Judie Tzuke. You know, “blonde, big teeth, stay with me ’til dawn” as one friend said yesterday when I mentioned we were going to see her play live. Yes, the very same. I always thought she was so beautiful. And she still is.

She’s grown older and put on a couple of pounds – haven’t we all? – but she’s still sexy, natural and beautiful.

Way back in 1979 when I first heard her sing her song “For you” on the radio, followed by her big hit “Stay with me ’til dawn” something about her voice, her high register, the fact you can hear every word of the lyrics and her unique vocal delivery all appealled to me. Add to that the range of styles in her songs – from folksy, jazzy pop to huge rock accompaniments and her apparent love of electric guitar – and there’s plenty for me to enjoy. I hadn’t realised she was really a rock chick until Moth pointed it out. But then I didn’t realise I was much of a rock chick either until Moth mentioned it. I thought I just loved music of all kinds. And so it is with Judie – she is very eclectic, and therein lies the appeal.

After 28 years of songwriting and recording by Judie, I’m ashamed to say I only really know her first three albums. She only sang anything from these in her encores. All the rest was stuff I hadn’t heard before, but this didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the gig. Her incredible vocals – strong and clear as a bell – carried her through. Jude’s 20-year-old daughter Bailey Tzuke provided backing vocals. Their voices worked beautifully together, though Bailey’s was not as distinctive or clear.

Her final encore was her 1980 hit ‘Understanding’ – a very difficult song to sing. She was note-perfect.

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