So, look, just go buy her records - 'Judee Sill' and 'Heart Food'.
They’re readily available, and far easier to come by now than at any time since their initial release -- and subsequent plunge into obscurity and out-of-print status -- in the early 1970s. (Incidentally, her debut album was the very first release from David Geffen's Asylum imprint -- before Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Joni's 'For The Roses', Tom Waits... before Jo Jo Gunne even.)
Gee whiz, if you really can't be torn away from your PC, they’re even downloadable from the iTunes Music Store -- right in there alongside the newest can't-live-without-'em episodes of 'Lost' and 'Desperate Hausfraus' and 'The Daily Show', fer pete's sake.
It’s just two albums, no box sets or bloated anthologies to wade through -- er, well sure, there’s the recent demos and rarities collection 'Dreams Come True', which is undoubtedly worth having -- but only after you’ve experienced the two aforementioned titles. That is, the albums released in her lifetime.
Not that this is a call to lurid Nick Drakeian hindsight -- far from it. No need to fall for any of the customary death cult lost hero claptrap, or the usual overwrought fannish-boy dorkpie dithering. To be fair, her life story just happens to be brimming over with details which would slot her firmly in such a sad pantheon - but plenty of ink’s been spilled already on those aspects of her story, and a simple Google search will yield more informative reading and biographical tidbits than you’re getting here. Michael Crumsho and XTC’s Andy Partridge also do a fine job in their heartfelt liner notes for the recent CD reissues of both records (on Water Records), which you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy once you’ve forked over a few bucks and picked ‘em up. And listened.
Just listen. Listen, and then listen again and again – believe me, you’ll wanna -- to songs so stunningly crafted and effortlessly played and unbelievably rich and suffused with melodic largesse and brilliance that you’ll wonder why you haven’t had this music with you all your life long. Bob Claster, a valued and impassioned advocate of Sill's music, helms a terrific website which features plenty of unreleased live recordings and radio sessions which, in their better moments, are nothing short of revelatory. Check out his treasure trove of MP3's here:
Kind regards and many thanks to my long-time occasional spiritual advisor, the eminent *Swami Almond Roca for his contributory entry to Crenellation.
*The “Swami” currently lives and works in NYC as a theatre sound designer and has enlightened me in all-things-musical for at least 10-years running. XO forever.