Judie Tzuke Queen Secret Tour 2002

Programme Text



The 2002 tour programme has been put together by a group of fans. This web site shows the images of the final product, provides background information and explains how and why we did it.

Click on each of the pages of the programme shown to the left to view each page and related details. The images on the right are from an early draft from December 2001 and indicates the progress made between then and the first week of February when the final programme went to the press.

Previous Tour Programmes

This has been the third Judie Tzuke Tour programme produced by the fans. The first two were for the "Secret Agent Tour" of January/February 1999 and the "Phoenix 2000 Tour" of April 2000. The contributors for those two programmes overlapped with that of the QSK programme and with Adrian Melia doing most of the production. Each programme was 16 A5 pages with four in colour. They were printed by the Sunderland branch of Prontaprint.

Getting Started

When Big Moon Records announced the QSK tour towards the end of October 2001 Adrian was unable to make the time commitment that production required and so I volunteered to make the programme happen. Big Moon were of course consulted but they were very happy for us to proceed.

The most important initial suggestion from Big Moon was for the programme to be A4. Their experience selling the previous programmes was that an A4 programme would cost only slightly more but would both sell better and deliver better satisfaction to the purchasers.

I posted a request for ideas for content and for volunteers to help to the Judie Tzuke mail group (this is the "Secret Agent" mail group although it goes under the nom-de-plume of "Tzukestock"). 

A dozen volunteers quickly stepped up and between us we quickly came up with enough ideas to fill a programme and a half. After consultation with Big Moon we progressed many of the ideas hoping that enough would turn into end material to fill the 16 side programme.

Making Progress

The need to print A4 meant that we had to explore printing options. Prontoprint were tried again but on this occasion another printer, the Basingstoke Press, turned out to have a more attractive package. Their production process made it attractive to stretch the programme to twenty A4 pages (the outer sheet being of thicker paper printed as A3 and folded; and two A2 sheets folded and cut for the inner pages). The plan also went from four colour sides up to twelve and eventually to all twenty since the total cost would still fall within our nominal budget.

Tools Used

The images have been put together using Photoshop version 6. Version 6 is significant since it allows much more control over the placement and characteristics of text. Although a proper desk top publishing package would have dealt with the text better (having an inbuilt spell checker for instance !) Photoshop was available, was up to the job and was ideal for the graphics. For printing the files were converted within Photoshop into CYMK images and given to the printer on a CD as whole images simply needing scaling and sequencing before printing. The supply of complete images saved much of the work and risk of the printing. Proof prints still served a useful purpose since they revealed issues of colours and resolutions that could not be determined on screen.

A key part of the design process was this website. As the programme was drafted I put the latest images and text onto the website enabling all of the other contributors to see how things were progressing and to proof read the content. Most communication has been carried out through e-mail and at the end of the project most of the contributors had still never met each other.

Why did we do it ?

From our point of view this was a risky venture. It would prove very time consuming, it could not provide any financial reward for us and our efforts might be wasted. Specific pages of work could have been rejected at the last minute and also the entire programme could of been cancelled if the planned tour encountered turbulence.

1. All of us have gained considerable enjoyment over the years from Judie Tzuke and her music. The programme therefore provides one way of repaying some of that debt.

2. Because the mountain is there - and we can feel proud of ourselves for having successfully conquered it.

3. Some of us are, or would like the option of being, professional writers, artists, photographers and so on. The programme thus enables us to build up our portfolios.

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Introduction by Tony Hawkes

The introduction to be written by Tony Hawks was arranged by Big Moon from the start. However it did take a long time to actually appear. It did, and before the final deadline, so all were happy.

Tony wote;

"I first met Jude way back in 1986 when I was humiliating myself as one of the in-flight entertainers on Virgin's inaugural flight to Miami. I knew she was a good sort when she laughed in all the right places and sometimes in the wrong ones. Over the years we have kept in touch and have shared in the joys of show business. On one memorable occasion I provided the support for her at a London gig, collaborating with her then six year old daughter Bailey who I brought on stage to assist me with one of the best gags currently known to man:

Bailey; What's red and sits in the corner?

Tony; I don't know, what is red and sits in the corner?

Bailey; A naughty strawberry.

The audience laughed obediently but interestingly Bailey failed to leave the stage and just hung around basking in the lights. Perhaps there's a bit of her mother in her.

Years later Jude was present at the event which marked the winning of my bet with Arthur Smith when I'd just beaten the entire Moldovan National Football team at tennis. Once again I noted that she laughed in all the right places as Arthur performed the required forfeit of removing all his clothes and singing the Moldovan national anthem on Balham High Road. Perhaps you will notice a slight loss of innocence in her eyes as she sings for you tonight. That's my fault. Or was it Arthur's? Either way, sorry.

I greatly admire Jude's voice and was privileged enough to be an audience member at the launch of her latest album, which in my almost totally worthless opinion, is top-notch stuff. Long may she sing, tour and spread joy."

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Judie Tzuke Interview by Huw Knight

I caught up with Judie just before Christmas. This is what she had to say…..

I started off by asking Judie whether she was looking forward to the tour:

“I am actually, strangely enough. It’s one of the first tours I’ve actually looked forward to – I’m usually terrified by now! I think I’ve got a really great bunch of people playing with me, and we’re going to have a really good time and enjoy ourselves.”

“Jerry Meehan, the bass player, is really the only 'new' face, as Graham Kearn has been around for ages. He was due to have been in the band when I did the two dates at the Jazz Café, about five years ago, but events sort of conspired against us…he did play on the Under The Angels album though.”

I suggested, that with two guitarists on stage now, things may sound a bit different to what people have come to expect from a Judie Tzuke gig:

“Yeah, it will be a slightly different set up this time, two guitarists and only one keyboard player, Brandon {Fownes}, who’s really great on stage. He’s a funny guy and we take the Mickey out of each other, which helps me to relax a bit – he likes to chat to the audience too…he’s got a great singing voice, and he’s just great to have in the band. Jerry Meehan is somebody who’s been aware of us too, and was really happy to play with us – Brandon thinks he’s perfect for the band, can’t get a better recommendation than that!”

Moving on to talk about Queen Secret Keeper, I suggested that this album is more laid back than Secret Agent, the previous studio album:

“Well I’ve always tried to make my music interesting to listen to and different, and I really like experimenting. I think if you listen to all my albums, they do all sound different to each other – I didn’t consciously set out to make this album more laid back, I just wanted to make an album that I would enjoy listening to! I love this album, and listen to it all the time; I don't listen to many of my albums these days. I’m not embarrassed by it, and everything on it interests me. I don’t actually think that I'm doing anything that different on this album to any other, apart from treating the instruments and sounds a bit differently.”

Five of the tracks on the album were co-written with Pete Cox (ex Go West), and I wondered how that had come about?

“Originally we were writing the songs FOR Pete, for a project that he was going to work on, but I’m not sure what happened really but he decided to reform Go West and went on the ‘80’s revival tour, and, to be honest, I don’t think that there was room to play them alongside the old stuff he did. I liked the songs so much that I decided to record them myself! Pete’s heard what we’ve done, and says he likes it, which is great. He’s still speaking to us anyway!”

I asked Judie what were her favourite tracks on the new album?

“Don’t Look Behind You, is my favourite track and I like Do You a lot, because it’s just a quirky song, and I really love One Minute, particularly the way we’ve done it on the album, as well as how we did it live in 2000. I wanted it to sound less like a ballad than it does on the live album {Six Days Before The Flood}. I like Drive too, although I was unsure whether it was really for me at first, as it was written to suit the style of Pete Cox, although it turned out great! The One That Got Away is another that was written for Pete, and I much prefer the way it sounds on the album to when we did it live. Oh, and Indian Giver too, which is about someone who gives to receive rather than giving because they want to give. I like Little Diva too, which is about Lucie Silvas. It was actually written when I saw her perform one night, a long time ago and I thought how similar she seemed to me, and I knew she had a lot of experiences to go through, some good and some bad, I felt very protective of her that moment and that inspired me to write it.”

So, does Judie still use her personal experiences as her inspirations then?

“Definitely. Don’t Look Behind You is one of the most personal things I’ve ever written. I think the difference now though is that I don’t go into things as deeply as I might have done in the past - I can now say what I want to say without revealing all the personal details!"

Judie went on to reveal why the album was called 'Queen Secret Keeper'.

“It was because my friend Kirsty and I were talking one day, and there was a period when everyone was telling me all their secrets, and it’s been going on for quite a while. I always enjoyed it, and in fact touched on it in the lyrics of Wonderland ('the phone keeps ringing, and I’m always here, giving my opinions to whoever’s there'). I got to the point where my head was just full of other people’s secrets, and Kirsty just said to me 'You’re Queen Secret Keeper, aren’t you Jude?', and I thought that was great, and I used it for the album title.”

I wondered whether the CD artwork reflected that theme too?

“Absolutely. It was done by an artist, Graham Foster, who’s really well known in Bermuda. He is also Jamie's uncle. He sent us a picture very similar to the album cover, with the head and the water, and when we asked whether he’d be interested in doing the cover he said yes. It’s really good too, I like it, and it captures for me the essence of the album. I’ve never liked having my picture on the cover anyway! If the album goes into the shops though, the label that are doing it want to put a picture of me on the cover!”

Finally I asked Judie for clues as to what would be on the set list for the tour.

“We’ve actually been looking at the message board on the website {www.tzuke.com}, and have taken note of what people want to hear. We may well do some old songs that we haven’t done as much before, we may even do stuff we’ve never done before. It’s difficult though as I’ve got so many albums to choose from. I’ve got a set list of 25 so far, but until we start rehearsing we won't know how they’re going to work out. So I can’t be really clear until then – I know what I want to do though, we’ll just have to see how it works out. We will be doing two sets with a break in the middle though, as it’s easier for me vocally. I think it’s worked well before too, and people seem to like it.”

So there you have it, an insight into the band, the album and the thoughts of the lady herself. So sit back and enjoy the show as much as Judie and the band intend to enjoy it!

Huw Knight

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Queen Secret Keeper Impressions

Written by Adrian Melia, originally as an off-the-cuff posting on the Judie Tzuke billboard ...

While I have always loved Judie's early work it has never ceased to amaze me how each new album has been different, and usually better, than the previous ones. I never thought she could better Secret Agent... and then she brought us Queen Secret Keeper !

Of course I recognise that it has been engineered to appeal to a wider audience, and that's a good thing. For years we have all been saying "if only she could get the airplay..., if only she was in the shops..., look at what everyone is missing, etc" - if ever she is going to get more mainstream attention, it will be through this work. Why?

On the surface, it is "pop" - the sounds, the beats, the use of technology are all in vogue right now. What elevates QSK above the rest is that it (still) contains that unique quality that has kept her audience on board, for 23 years in some cases.

In any era, a large chunk of pop music is designed specifically to appeal to rebellious teenagers and to annoy their parents. Forget about all that. There is another load of pop which appeals because it is simply good, and pays attention to fashion.

So what "pop" might QSK be compared with? Other recent pop releases in my collection include David Gray's White Ladder, and Groove Aramada's Vertigo. I enjoy them in their own right, but what is missing is the incredibly moving lyrics (they moved me, anyway) that fill QSK from end to end. These are wrapped in highly appealing, impeccably produced music that puts it in a wholly different league. Well done Mr. Muggleton & friends.

There is a lot of "technology" used in the production. Some think that's a bad thing, but I love technology in music. While it can be used as a substitute for good musicians, (check out the Karaoke bands that kids love so much) but we know that Judie and Big Moon only use the very best musicians, so the technology has been used to make the best even better.

One tiny thing I love about this album is the way all the tracks link together - there are no gaps between them. It really works. Well done whoever thought of doing it that way.

Lyrics? I wondered if Judie had got inside my head, worked out what I wanted to say, and then gone away and written these songs. Obviously they aren't all so personal, but a few of them are staggeringly meaningful to me. This can only be because she is (still) brave enough to touch those subjects that most of us shut out of our minds. She owns up to having imperfections. Writing them down takes me along 'the road less travelled' and enlightens me about myself in a way that few other artistes ever did, even if they could have done.

QSK is an essential component of my music system. I'm hooked, and I cannot wait to hear that everyone, beyond our enlightened group, is hooked too.

Judie, Paul, everyone who worked on this, thank you for trying so hard and succeeding.

Adrian Melia

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Queen Secret Keeper Track by Track

Complimentary to Adrian's impressions review this is a track by track review of Queen Secret Keeper by Ian Barnett...

The constant challenge for any artiste is to be always fresh, topical, vibrant, while staying close and keeping true to the original gift that made them special in the first place. Queen Secret Keeper meets this challenge head-on, and wins hands down - it’s an eclectic collection, simultaneously classic and contemporary Judie Tzuke as we know and love her but right here, right now, showcasing everything that makes Judie a unique and original musician.

Don’t Look Behind You, the album’s opener, purrs into earshot, with soft spacey keyboard and a serene, breathy vocal. David P. Goodes, Judie’s long-standing guitarist collaborator, adds deft acoustic picking and electric volume-pedal throbs. It’s a tender encouragement to moving on, leaving the past behind.

The One That Got Away is a piano-led ballad of lost love - but whether the singer is sad or happy to be the one that got away is unresolved. Judie weaves her trademark harmonies over gentle and sympathetic backing.

Do You may be the sexiest thing Judie has ever committed to tape - it has a light jazzy swing, punctuated by artful bass and beat box percussion, and she sings it soft and low. A song of desire, sensual yet romantic.

The tempo's then raised for 1-2-3, which cruises along with an insistent drumbeat and a lyric of hope, of optimism, of soaring love. Synthesiser layers waft the number way into the stratosphere as Judie’s voice draws us into the music.

Pausing only to catch breath with three clicks we’re straight into Drive, a paean to motoring as catharsis, a soothing remedy for modern life. When you expect it to end, this mid-paced number stands still for a few moments of shimmering tremolo guitar from Dave Goodes, then shifts gear for an extended coda with spoken vocal from none other than Whispering Bob Harris.

Indian Giver, a thoughtful work, opens with acoustic guitar and an Eastern-flavoured single-string drone, then the mantra unfolds; “You know/I feel/She’s not/For real”. The song’s object, a mysterious dream weaver, is revealed as it progresses. There's a tasteful solo from Goodes, who also seasons the number with tiny electric touches.

Sounds of the natural world introduce Days Like These, a wistful song of regret for feelings changed. A shuffling percussion beat underpins some delicate piano and Judie’s emotional vocal.

All Of Me changes the mood with a flavour of funk, a tight rhythm section and muted wah-wah guitar snarls. Judie wants commitment this time, but as an individual on equal terms, and her voice has bite and drive.

In wonderful contrast, One Minute is a touching, aching love ballad, Judie’s voice gliding high over electric piano and strings, assisted ably by some fine backing vocals from daughter Bailey.

Little Diva swoops, sweeps and dives, opening with moody keyboard and bass riff, and effective sparse percussion. Judie sings sad and downbeat in the verse and then her voice flies to heights in the chorus, her range on full display. A lyric for a child approaching adulthood?

Jazz chords open Breathless, a mid-paced love ballad. Multi-textures of guitar and keyboard glisten behind Judie's harmonies and the rhythm sways softly - classic Tzuke.

At the summit of QSK is Lion, a rock number with a granite drumbeat and a chord rundown reminiscent of some white album. A stalking cat of a track, this six-minute finale builds and builds to a widescreen climax with all the volume knobs on eleven, and a chanted coda which suddenly snaps into silence catching you unawares. A magnificent end to a magnificent work.

Ian Barnett

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Judie Tzuke Histography by Jon Sandys

During the past twenty-five years, Judie Tzuke has recorded and performed with a host of top musicians, some household names, others relatively unknown, but all have lent their undoubted talent to help create the music that we have enjoyed over this period.

Judie's first collaboration was with guitarist Mike Paxman, whom she met in 1975. Under the name of "Tzuke and Paxo" they released a single, "These are the Laws", produced by Tony Visconti for his Good Earth label. At the same time Visconti was playing bass guitar in the band Omaha Sheriff, who were recording an album entitled "Come Hell or Waters High" - two members of this band would go on to play hugely significant roles in Judie's life.

In late 1977, with a portfolio of songs that included "Stay With Me Till Dawn", Judie was signed to Elton John's Rocket label. Together with Mike Paxman, a selection of the UK's up and coming session musicians were assembled to create the first Judie Tzuke band, and during a six-month period at London's Air Studios, Judie's debut album "Welcome To The Cruise" was recorded.

Welcome To The Cruise was produced by John Punter, whose previous credits included Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music and Sad Cafe. The album also features the orchestral arrangements of cellist Paul Buckmaster who had made his name in the early 70's working with artistes such as David Bowie, The Stones and Elton John. The band themselves had all worked together in various combinations before; Russel, Parren and Van Hooke came fresh from recording the Rock Follies TV soundtrack and together with Foster, they had recently appeared with saxophonist Andy McKay, who himself would feature on future Judie Tzuke albums. Mo Foster went on to become one of the most in demand bass players of the 80's, playing on albums by Phil Collins, Jeff Beck, Meatloaf and Gerry Rafferty to name a few. Peter Van Hooke has most recently been drummer with Mike & The Mechanics.

With the success of both the album and "Stay With Me Till Dawn", Judie and Mike recruited members for the first touring band and to satisfy the demand for TV appearances such as Top of the Pops. Returning to the Good Earth label, they brought in Bob Noble and Paul Muggleton from Omaha Sheriff to join with John 'Rhino' Edwards and Jeff Rich.

With the financial support of a major label behind them, Judie and Mike were able to retain the services of a band on a fulltime basis as they undertook tours to promote "Cruise" and 1980's "Sports Car". As well as extensive dates in the UK and Europe, this band supported Elton John on his US tour that culminated with a show in New York's Central Park in front of 450,000 people. "Sports Car" also saw Judie, Paul and Mike take responsibility for the production of the album, a role Paul has continued to perform to the present day. By the time "I Am The Phoenix" was being recorded in '81, Jeff Rich was already making appearances with The Climax Blues Band, and although he returned for the "Shoot The Moon" live shows, the drummer's seat was filled by Charlie Morgan during much of this time. Morgan went on to enjoy many years with Elton John, including appearing with him at Live Aid.

The fifth studio album, "Ritmo", was recorded in early '83. Despite a successful tour later that year, this was to be the last recording for Chrysalis. In an effort to take more control of her career, Judie signed to independent label Legacy and made "The Cat Is Out" at her home studio. This would be the last release for four years.

During this period although the core of Paxman, Muggleton and Noble remained, the rhythm section was a little less stable. Rhino was already linking up with Jeff Rich in The Climax Blues Band, so former Brand X member John Giblin supplemented on the album, with Gary Twigg filling in for the Ritmo tour. Much of the drum work was provided by Graham Jarvis, who went on to play with acts as diverse as Camel and Tina Turner. "Ritmo" saw the first of many appearances by the highly acclaimed young saxophonist Andy Shepperd. The live band was augmented by Matthew Letley on drums and Squeeze keyboard player Don Snow, who is a regular contributor on Judie's albums to the present day, albeit under his new name of John Savannah. In '86 Jeff Rich joined Status Quo and shortly after, recruited Rhino, making "The Cat Is Out" tour the last time he would work with Judie for 15 years. Mike Paxman has also leant his talents to Status Quo although he has continued to work with Judie to the present day. "Cat" also saw the first appearances of drummer Andy Newmark (Bowie, Pink Floyd, and many more) and sax player Andy Hamilton, both of whom have linked up again on some of Judie's most recent albums.

During 1987, Judie and Paul took time out to have their first daughter, and future backing vocalist, Bailey. '87 also saw Judie sign a new deal with Polydor, the result of which was "Turning Stones". The ensuing tour was cancelled at the last minute and Judie moved to Sony for 1990's "Left Hand Talking".

This period saw the production team using extensive programmed electronic percussion, although Charlie Morgan was brought in for parts of "Left Hand Talking". "Turning Stones" was recorded by a very reduced cast with guest appearances by Andy Shepperd and violinist Nigel Kennedy. With the disappointment of the Polydor signing behind them, Paul, Mike and Bob regrouped at Judie's home in Surrey to record "Left Hand Talking" in their brand new venture, "Big Ocean Studios". Once again, Don Snow was recruited to fill in on keyboards and backing vocals, and Andy Shepperd continued to provide the occasional sax solo. "Left Hand Talking" is the only album for which Judie is credited with anything other than vocals - keyboards in this case. The "Left Hand Talking" tour, saw the first major line-up changes since 1979, with brothers Richard and Laurie Cottle (Alan Parsons) on keyboards and bass, Ian Thomas on drums, Pete Clarke on guitar, and Andy Hamilton returning on saxophone and digital horn.

In 1990, Judie and Paul made an appearance on the Rock Against Repatriation charity record "Sailing" put together by former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, and featuring a cast including Brian May, Mike Rutherford, Justin Hayward and bassist Pino Palladino. Meanwhile, the Muggleton/Paxman/Noble triumvirate returned to the studio to record "Wonderland".

A decision by Sony to concentrate on singles artistes saw Judie once again move on and return to the independent scene to record "Wonderland", the first album to demonstrate the jazzier influences that still exist in the latest offerings. Computer sequencing technology gave Mike and Bob the chance to record many of the instruments themselves - very convenient since Bob had moved to Florida. Once again Nigel Kennedy lent his violin skills to the album, and as a result of some string pulling by their mutual hairdresser, Queen's Brian May provided guitar on one track. "Wonderland" was to be the last output for four years, as Paul and Judie had their second daughter, Tallula, and the Big Ocean studio played host to a number of other bands and artistes.

By 1996, Judie and Paul had set up the Big Moon record label. Mike Paxman turned his attentions to web design and soon the word was out that Judie was back. The release of "Under The Angels" and the return to live performance at London's Jazz Cafe, marked the start of the new era that continues to this day.

Whilst Paul and Mike continued to produce Judie's material, along with Bob Noble their contributions to the playing side were vastly diminished from this point forward. Instead a fresh, contemporary sound was produced using some of the bright young musicians of the day. Pete Gordeno, has worked closely with Judie in the last five years. Pino Palladino, one of the most in demand session bassists, who Judie first worked with on the "Sailing" single, is a regular player on all her studio work. For the "Under The Angels" tour, Judie was joined by David P Goodes, formerly of Babylon Zoo, on guitar, Richard Cardwell on keyboards, John Robert Wood on bass, and Lucie Silverman (now Lucie Silvas) and Annie Muggleton on backing vocals. Goodes has cemented his role since then and became co-producer of "Queen Secret Keeper". Paul Beavis has been virtually the permanent drummer since 1998's "Secret Agent", which also saw the debut of family members Jamie Muggleton and Bailey Tzuke, together with Lucie's sister Mia on backing vocals. Meanwhile, Pete Cox of Go West fame has collaborated both in the writing and vocal departments over the same period. With Palladino's hectic studio schedule, live bass work has been provided by Dale Davis, and the whole sound augmented by Ali Kane's live keyboard and backing vocals. The band tonight sees Graham Kearn return, having recently featured on Randy Crawford's album with Pete Gordeno, and Jerry Meehan, a bassist who has worked extensively with Midge Ure.

With Big Moon established and the internet providing the marketing channels, Judie has gone on to produce two further studio and live albums, toured extensively, and enjoyed an increasing amount of radio airplay. Once again, a collection of musicians is available to Judie that she can draw upon for studio and live work, resulting in the consistent quality we now enjoy.

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Bob Harris Interview by Catherine Young

Warmly loved and respected by discerning music fans everywhere, DJ Bob Harris has always been a great champion of Judie's work. Bob's Radio 2 show provides a wealth of quality music, constantly influencing the record collections of his loyal and responsive audience. It is Bob's rich and mesmerising tones that deliver the voiceover to Judie's delicious "Drive". Bob was interviewed by Catherine Young:

CATHERINE: Bob, the past year has been a busy one for you, with the Whistle Test DVD and TV retrospective, your autobiography and a new CD compilation. Which of these projects did you find most enjoyable?

BOB: 2001 was definitely the year of the book! It meant a great deal to me to be asked by the BBC to do it. The writing and promotion took up most of the year and having my family, my friends (including Jude) and close working colleagues at the launch with me was a thrilling and wonderful experience.

You've been a strong supporter of Judie's career since the very beginning. How did your paths first cross, and what makes her music special to you?

BOB: Jude and I first met in the 70's. I began to get to know her through our mutual friend (the late) June Bolan. I loved Judie's music from day 1. She is blessed with a most marvellous, touching and vulnerable voice, able (seemingly effortlessly) to hit every note dead centre. She writes deeply caring, sometimes melancholy songs and has great sensitivity. She is a gem of an artist.

On your website, you refer to "some of the amazing artists operating just under the surface". Your show has been instrumental in bringing many of those acts to a wider audience. Which artistes (apart from Judie, of course!) would you most like to see gaining recognition in 2002?

BOB: Er...where do I start?! OK. In no particular order... Ryan Adams, Jim Bryson, Vigilantes of Love, Stewboss, Dan Bern, Chelle Rose, Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson, Buddy Miller...how long have you got?

How did you get involved in the Drive voiceover? Was it fun to do? (...And will you be appearing in the video if the single goes to number 1?)

BOB: Jude and Paul called me up and asked if I'd like to do it. It was really good fun...but me in the video?! Are you mad??!! I should imagine Judie will actually want to sell a few copies!!

After the Whistle Test repeats, many fans were left clamouring for more. Can we hope to see you on TV again soon?

BOB: If I were controller at BBC 2...

Thanks to shows like yours, and the rise of independent labels such as Big Moon, the "music-for-grown-ups" market is currently going from strength to strength. How do you see the future for quality non-mainstream artistes, who might perhaps have struggled to find a platform a few years ago?

BOB: I honestly think things are getting better all the time. The internet has been a great help. But nothing comes on a plate. The artistes are having to be increasingly resourceful, imaginative and determined to find ways of getting their music across to people, outside of the normal corporate/mainstream marketing structures.

Finally...let's go all High Fidelity for a moment...I can't resist asking: Your top 5 Judie Tzuke tracks of all time?

BOB: Oh blimey...this is difficult. I never produce top 5 lists...even for my own shows. I find my favourites change all the time. But I've always loved 'For You', enjoy the whole of 'Secret Agent' and put 'Tonight' on my first 'Bob Harris Presents' compilation. Need I say more!

Many thanks for speaking to us, Bob.

Catherine Young

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Behind the Scenes at Bigmoon Records by Philip Kellingley and Alexandra Almond

It’s not every family business in the country that boasts a toilet with gold records on the wall but the Big Ocean recording studio does just that. Big Ocean? That’s the name of the production and recording company that does all the work in getting Judie Tzuke’s music onto the Big Moon record label. Why Big Ocean? As Paul Muggleton, Judie’s other half, explains, “It’s not big and it’s not near the ocean so it seemed like a really good name!” In fact the recording studio part of the business is situated in a purpose built studio at the end of Judie and Paul’s garden. Originally they had a studio that took up two rooms of their house but in 1985 they built the new studio. It was a project that didn’t run particularly smoothly. Misunderstandings by the builder meant that they got the foundations for a 12-storey building although it’s only a single storey and they had 3 roofs before it was done properly. With all the confusion it took 16 weeks to build.

The studio houses an acoustic room in which the artistes and musicians perform, an engineering room, a kitchenette for the preparations of necessary refreshments and that toilet! The engineering room houses the equipment for recording and mixing the songs. The usual procedure, according to Paul, is for an initial “rough cut” of the song to be made and then individual musicians record their contributions, one by one, building up the track in musical layers. Finally, the vocal may be re-recorded again over the top of the mixed music. For those of you who are interested in the technical details the mixing desk is an analogue 88 channel Allen and Heath Sigma 24L with 8 auxiliary outputs and Neve Eq mods. It also has Solid State Vu’s and an Al Smart stereo compressor as overall compression. On the digital recording side there’s a Mackie HDR24 and an Apple Mac running Logic Platinum. A Roland A90 keyboard is included for midi control. There are also stacks of valve eq. (equalisation) racks and compressors to take the digital edge off the final mixes.

The first of Judie’s albums to use this studio was Turning Stones and all subsequent studio albums have been recorded here. It wasn’t until 1996 that Judie, Paul and Pax (Mike Paxman) had the idea of forming a record company. This came to fruition with the birth of the Big Moon label. From the ashes of the Judie Tzuke fan club they had a mailing list of 400 fans and the company has grown from there. As Paul says, “The Internet has made Big Moon possible. We can sell and publicise through the website (www.tzuke.com) in a way that we couldn’t do with conventional advertising and distribution channels.” The web-site is designed and run by Pax’s company SecondWave and the office is largely run by Paul’s son Jamie, who also supplies backing vocals on some of Judie’s songs on record and on stage.

Because the studio is so convenient for the house it’s almost always available when inspiration strikes. Of course, it’s sometimes used for other musicians. However, on the day that we visited there was just Judie laying down a vocal for the upcoming “Covers” album. We’d tell you what it was but we’re sworn to secrecy. However, we suspect that if Big Moon’s CD sales continue to match the quality of the recordings they are going to need more wall space in the toilet!

Philip Kellingley and Alexandra Almond

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Bigmoon's Judie CDs Mini-reviews

BM004 Welcome to the Cruise (Colin Emery)

This album is as revered now as it was when first released on Elton John’s Rocket Records label in 1979. Every track has found it’s own special place in the hearts and minds of everyone who bought it way back when we were younger and the world seemed less complicated. Judie’s voice soars into the title track with the fresh, wild abandon of a confident new artiste with the world at her feet. With Mike Paxman’s distinctive guitars enriching every track, Judie's wonderfully unique voice drifts you through Sukarita, the beautifully haunting, For You, visits the mythical (?) Katiera Island, and experiences the hurt and sadness of a failed love in Ladies Night; written when she was only 14, until it fades out to the last notes of Judie’s massive worldwide hit, Stay With Me Till Dawn, this is surely the finest debut album from any artiste…ever!

BM005 Sportscar (Colin Emery)

With a successful tour completed and with her band now firmly established Judie’s second album storms in with rocky title track Sportscar, before slowing things down to a more familiar pace with Nightline. Judie has the rare ability to write lyrics that seem to touch a nerve and does so again in the heart-rending ballad Understanding which remains a live favourite to this day. This was an excellent first attempt at producing her own music together with Paul Muggleton and Mike Paxman. With the strong beat of Jeff Rich and John Edwards rhythm section forming a solid backbone to each track, the album bounces on through The Choices You’ve Made and Living On The Coast. It slows down again to tell the tale of a young girl’s experience of being forsaken in love by an older man, with the wistful, almost whimsical Molly. A superb follow-up to Welcome To The Cruise.

BM006 I am the Phoenix (Colin Emery)

With her third album, Judie dips her elegant toe into heavy rock waters with the rousing opener Black Furs, the harder edge to this album established Judie as a firm live favourite with the hard rock fraternity of the early-eighties. It returns to more familiar territory with Higher And Higher and the wonderful lament, Come Hell Or Waters High, written by Paul Muggleton during his Omaha Sheriff days. The sixth track is a strange, mysterious song that swirls along with lyrics, "City Of Swimming Pools, Where you can buy anything and take it for your own"; a warning to the dangers of a “Rock Star” lifestyle maybe? It then kicks into gear again to the funky rock beat of You Are The Phoenix before fading with the sad, lonely song I Never Know Where My Heart Is, complemented by the gentle keyboards of Bob Noble, wonderfully produced, I Am The Phoenix displays a growing maturity in Judie’s song writing.

CMRCD193 The Cat is Out (Roderick Hoffman)

This was released in 1984 and has now been re-released with three bonus edits. It’s always been one of my favourites and amongst its ten tracks I’ll highlight four. The CD bursts into life with How Sweet It Is in which Judie demonstrates that she has her finger on the button. I’ll Be The One has 'single' written all over it and the chorus will hook you and haul you in; “You just have to call on me; I’m the one to set you free”. Harbour Lights is a different Judie altogether describing a women whose only love won’t be coming home tonight, nor any night. Finally, You, a cover of a Marvin Gaye song, is for me the highlight of the album and when Judie exclaims “You !” I challenge you not to give her your full attention. The Cat Is Out and is out to stay.

CMRCD 192 Wonderland (Colin Emery)

This is an album full of extreme emotions, you can almost feel the passion on, I Can Read Books, enhanced by the contribution of Brian May’s distinctive rock guitar and Man And A Gun. The cut On A Ship (featuring Nigel Kennedy's violin) invokes a peaceful, dreamlike state that transports you to the deck of a square-rigger sailing a far-off tropical ocean. The resigned frustration at humanities inability to live peacefully cries from the title track, "Why do we make it such a hell?” The true highlight of this album though is, Vivien (inspired by the turbulent life of actress Vivien Leigh). On this Judie’s voice displays a real toughness and purity from the lower to high ends of her amazing vocal range. The Big Moon reissue now features a bonus track In The Morning originally on the single Wonderland.

BM001 Under the Angels (Colin Emery)

This first release under the Big Moon banner in 1996 was a stunning return to form after a four-year break from the music industry. It breezes into the laid-back Two Mountains, which calls out for you to just kick back and relax. This sets the tone for an album that seems to sway along to an easy going pace and rhythm with the occasional burst of energy in cuts like Without Love and Parallel Lives - with it’s enchanting Spanish style guitar. Judie has always had the ability to pen powerfully thought provoking lyrics about emotive subjects, and has succeeded again with great sensitivity with the song Life In A Bottle - a self-explanatory title. Production and musicianship is again flawless and rounding off with one of the purest love songs that Judie has ever written in Joan Of Arc is a real triumph.

BM002 Over the Moon (Colin Emery) 

Back on the road following a four-year break with a new band, new material and a fresh determination, the culmination was this live album Over The Moon. Tracks are predominantly from the albums Under The Angels and Wonderland but some old favourites, including Stay With Me Till Dawn with it’s timeless lyrics, appear and are played with respect from a line-up that included, for the first time, Dave P. Goodes on guitar. Some less well known songs that stand out are, One Day I Will Live In France, from 1991’s Left Hand Talking and Higher And Higher a song that reveals the fragile power that is uniquely Judie Tzuke. The real gem is Let Me Be The Pearl, which brings to the fore the control Judie has delivering quality vocals. Backed by singers Lucie Silverman and Annie Muggleton, Over The Moon is a fine live album produced with genuine love and care by a very professional team.

BM003 Secret Agent (Ian Barnett)

Judie's 1998 release, Secret Agent, is one of her very best in a musical canon spanning two decades plus. From the delicate live-in-your-living-room Both Alone to the here-and-now pop of That's Where My Heart Used To Be, to the big-ballad title track, the breadth of its vision and musical craftsmanship is remarkable. Written jointly with group members, (contributions also from the longstanding Mike Paxman and Bob Noble), Agent's material is a multi-faceted jewel, with depth and fizz, sorrow and joy, love sweet and love gone sour, always remaining trademark Tzuke. Judie's voice, low and sultry or soaring high, is clear and pure as ever; daughter Bailey contributes a haunting backing coda to the cathartic Dancing On Charcoal, and for many the album's highlight is Bully, its tough-rock sound a perfect foil for the venomous lyric. The production, by Paul Muggleton and the band, is punchy, rich and colourful. A must-have.

BM007 Six Days Before The Flood (Ian Barnett)

Recorded live on her October 2000 tour, Six Days Before The Flood showcases Tzuke past, present and future, topped and tailed with the title track from her 1979 debut album Welcome To The Cruise and a brand new ballad One Minute. In between is a pleasure trip through highlights from an outstanding body of work; the jazz flavour of Living On The Coast and the all-out rock assault of Sportscar, the thoughtful melodic ballad Understanding and a unique cover of Colin Blunstone's I Don't Believe In Miracles. The musicianship, from cohorts old and new, is tight and finely honed, and the production is a revelation, the sound crystal-clear and glittering. Six Days Before the Flood is Judie live and kicking, from a whisper to a roar, doing what only she can do, and doing it best.

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