So we set off from Earls Court loaded down with instruments, cameras, stands and cables and headed up to Shepherds Bush and west along the M40. Destination: rural Oxfordshire for a date with the legendary Judy Dyble. A hot, muggy day, perfect for a trip out of town and a chance to breathe some country air.
Judy was the original vocalist and a founder member of Fairport Convention along with Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol, and shared London stages with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and early Pink Floyd. She would later become one half of the duo Trader Horne with Jackie McAuley of ‘Them’ fame, recording the album ‘Morning Way’, an album listed as one of the ‘500 Lost Gems Of The 60’s’.
An hour or so down the road we turn off into Judy’s village and pull up outside her beautiful home and step into her delightful cottage garden to a warm welcome from Judy and her beautiful rescue greyhound Betty. Freshly mown grass, honeysuckle and a stunning ‘crystal’ tree set the mood for a magical afternoon.
Inside is cool and wonderfully higgledy piggledy. A converted stable filled with artefacts, paintings, books and records, the curios and relics of an artist’s life.
Greetings and introductions done, we wander into the kitchen. The kettle is on, tea poured and then its down to work in the sitting room while Betty watches all from the comfort of her armchair. Simon sets up the microphones and cameras while Judy and I talk music. She reminisces about her early life in ’60’s London, the exploding folk scene, Dylan and Baez, the arrival of the great American blues artists, including Big Bill Broonzy.
Judy plays autoharp and piano but leaves the musical accompaniment to Simon and I as we run through a couple of songs: a beautiful new song of Judy’s called ‘See What Your Words Did To Me’ and our ‘Sacred River’. We share lead vocals and harmonies, run the songs a few times, record a few takes, then its time for ham rolls and more tea.
Just before we leave Judy takes us down the winding path, past the crystal tree, to the end of the garden. It’s an inspiring place, this garden of dreams.
Thank you Judy and Betty for a wonderful afternoon. Hope to catch you again soon.
Look out for Judy and her band at the Half Moon Putney on Sunday, August 21st!