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JUDIE TZUKE Moon On A Mirrorball Wrasse Records (2010)

Judie Tzuke

Having found a new lease of life with recent releases, it seems a strange time for Judie Tzuke to be releasing a career retrospective.

But on the other hand it may be the most appropriate. Because there's no doubt that while Judie retains a hard core of fans who have effectively financed her ploughing her own furrow, for those that have fallen by the wayside - those originally swept along by the heady late seventies / early eighties hits like Stay With Me Till Dawn and Sportscar - there is mutual benefit to be had in re-acquaintance.

And for those people, Moon On A Mirrorball is an excellent way of rediscovering some re-mastered golden oldies, and also finding out what they've been missing out on over the intervening years.

Because Ms Tzuke has aged like a fine vintage wine, and since acquiring her own vineyard in the form of Big Moon Records in 1996, the lady has gone from strength to strength.

Secret Agent and Queen Secret Keeper - released in 1998 and 2001 were as good as anything in her career, while The End Of The Beginning (2004) was perhaps her finest hour.

And recent years have seen her busier that ever, 2007 saw the release of Songs, a collection of quieter songs written for or with other artists, 2008 a quite wonderful contribution as lead vocalist and co-writer on 2 tracks on the Morcheeba Dive Deep album (including the superb single Enjoy The Ride), and a return to the more 'band' orientated and familiar ground of her more mainstream moments with Songs 2.

Moon On A Mirrorball provides a very fine 'taster' of every vintage of this unique artist's career, with just about every studio album represented (the exceptions being The Cat Is Out, Left Hand Talking and her covers album The Beauty Of Hindsight). And that amounts to 2 CDs packed with 33 tracks spanning Stay With Me Till Dawn to four new tracks and two re-recordings of tracks off Shoot The Moon and Ritmo (Late Again and How Do I Feel respectively).

Of course the inclusion of new material is always a mixed blessing. To my mind, the new tracks should be made available to fans - who have supported Judie's career though thick and thin - as an EP. Hardcore followers are going to want those tracks, but it's a kick in the ribs to have to buy Moon On A Mirrorball just to get them. Download is an option, but purists will want something more tangible.

And they will want them because Judie Tzuke is simply getting better and better. If (When You Go) is a beautiful, heart tugging piano and strings ballad, Submarine Boy a lovely swirling number with Judie's tender vocals caressed by James Wiltshire's keys and bass, while Leaning and Love Me No More are a pair of excellent rhythmic numbers of the ilk of some of her more recent output (Bully, for example). They all stand alongside the other material on Mirrorball on merit.

So in summary, at around 12, there's no way you're going to get better value for money in 2010 than buying Moon On A Mirrorball. Do yourself a favour, invest and raise a glass to a quite unique and treasured British talent.

*****

Review by Pete Whalley

 


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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