Judee Sill – Reissues

Music Reviews Judee Sill
Judee Sill – Reissues

Judee Sill – 4 stars
Heart Food – 4 stars

Ill-fated songstress leaves behind rich musical legacy

Despite a troubled life that included the early deaths of her father and brother and a stint in prison, California folk songstress Judee Sill produced some of the most beautiful songs this side of Pet Sounds and Pink Moon. As an early signing to David Geffen’s Asylum Records, she was marketed as the next Carole King when in fact she was closer to Brian Wilson: intricate vocal harmonies, Bach-in?uenced melodies and a quasi-mystical bent radiated from songs like “Kiss” and “Donor,” both from 1973’s Heart Flood. Judee Sill (1971) featured the indescribably warm “Jesus Was A Cross Maker,” which was, ironically, a perceptive, mature breakup song. Produced by Graham Nash (whose Hollies later covered the song), its gospel-tinged arrangement suited Sill’s clear, unpretentious voice to a tee, and somehow turned a bitter goodbye into an optimistic, if slightly purple, hello. Tragically, Sill died of a heroin overdose in 1979, but her music lives on.

[You can hear Rachael Yamagata’s cover of Judee Sill’s “Jesus Was a Cross Maker” on Paste Sampler #20]

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