Album review: JUDIE TZUKE – Song Club

Judie Tzuke - Song Club

Judie Tzuke is more prolific than ever these days, and always on the lookout to collaborate with up and coming talent.  And one opportunity she’s offered fans – via her website – is access to a monthly brand-new and original track, plus other bonuses including previously unreleased live tracks.

All for the very modest outlay of £12 per annum the tracks are downloadable in MP3 @ 320kbps and FLAC format.  And for a modicum more you can opt to receive the tracks in CD format at the end of the year as well.

Those who opted for the latter package will now be in possession of their hard copies of Song Club 2013, and while never intended as an ‘album’ release the 13 tracks are now available to buy from Judie’s website store.

Despite not being recorded as a singular project, the songs fit well together, finding Judie in a relaxed, some might say almost a ‘music for pleasure’ mood.  Those of us who mocked our parents in the 1970′s when Budgie and the like were de rigueur might do well to reflect on their choice of Herb Albert and his Tijuana brass or Henry Mancini as the artists to best show off their state of the art stereograms (with a highball glass of iced Cinzano Bianco, naturally).

But actually, they might have had a point, because Song Club is the perfect antidote to a hard day’s graft.   OK, a chilled beer may be the preferred beverage of choice, but from the soft cha cha/tango shuffle of ‘Cha Chango’, to the Sixties/Carpenters-ish ‘Chasing Sweet Dreams’, Song Club is a chill-out collection guaranteed to sooth the most ingrained of wrinkles that the day can throw at you.

From the soft Spanish guitar of ‘Angel’, through the wistful ‘So Emotional’ (one of three numbers co-written with Alex Parks whose versions featured on her 2005 album Honesty) and the heartbreak of the achingly beautiful ‘Ugly’, there’s a cohesion to the material here that was never consciously planned.  And the subtle use of brass and strings arrangements gives many of the numbers a retro hint – ‘Spotlight’ for example would be a perfect song for Lana Del Ray.

So for those concerned that Song Club might be little more than lightweight ‘fillers’, fear not, it’s an excellent release in its own right.  It may be at the more easy listening end of Judie’s spectrum, but it’s one that more than holds its own compared to her ‘official’ releases.

Now, should I have one lump of ice or two in that Cinzano?  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Gig review (7 June 2014)

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