Judie Tzuke’s Songs & Stories tour, billed as ‘an intimate evening of old favourites, new songs and tales from her life and career’ is something of a revelation. If for no other reason than the apparent exorcism of her well documented on-stage nerves. It would appear that the side effect of a recent illness – one that saw her lose her voice completely – proved an unlikely cure.
For some time now, I’ve been saying that her material would benefit from an ‘unplugged’ delivery and, supported only by Tim Deal (piano), Chaz Thorogood (acoustic guitar) and daughters Bailey and Tallula, so it proved.
Whilst many of her contemporaries rely increasingly on their back catalogues and backing vocalists, Judie Tzuke remains remarkably creative – her songwriting getting stronger with the passing years and her vocals having gained a warm timbre that merely adds to, rather than detracts from her charms.
A setlist that was old, new, borrowed but far from blue, opened with a stunning stripped back cover of ‘Welcome To The Cruise’, with a new number – ‘All At Sea’ – from the forthcoming Woman Overboard album, seeing her brave just acoustic guitar accompaniment. It was magical.
What made the ‘show’ different to almost any other I’ve seen was the ‘an audience with’ format, with Jude telling stories and taking questions from the floor. And it was how she told those tales and anecdotes – as if she was just having a ‘natter’ over a cup of tea – that won the audience over. It was so ‘natural’ that you really felt like she was your new best friend.
The highlights in a set that saw Bailey and Tullula take lead vocals on one track each were too many to mention in their entirety – but her cover of ‘Woodstock’ – (a song she won a talent contest with in her youth) was marvellous, her vocal delivery on ‘Ladies Night’ as good as I’ve heard from her in recent years, and ‘Soldiers’ and ‘Woman Overboard’ confirmed her next release will be well worth the extended wait.
Oh for an unplugged set, with nothing but a grand piano in tow.
Pete Whalley, Get Ready to ROCK! (April 2012)
She (rightly) had few positive words to say about The X Factor and the like, and after asserting that music should be ‘special’ she demonstrated just that with a beautiful piano/ vocal version of a personal favourite – ‘Bring The Rain’ – a song Carole King would have been proud to write.
And if proof were ever needed, the closing trilogy of ‘If’, ‘Stay With Me Till Dawn’ and ‘For You’, underlined that great songs just need a stage and a great singer. The standing ovation confirmed we’d witnessed both.
Songs & Stories was a good humoured evening that left everyone present with a warm glow. Judie Tzuke had bravely opened the window to her world and you just wanted to give her a hug and say ‘well done Jude, you were brilliant’. What a thoroughly nice woman and a wonderful artist.
Set list: Welcome To The Cruise / All At Sea / Enjoy The Ride / So Emotional / Woodstock / Ladies Night / May You Never / Heartbeat / Uninvited / Venus / Liam / Soldiers / Woman Overboard / Bring The Rain / If / Stay With Me Till Dawn / For You.
Review by Pete Whalley
Photos by David Randall
Judie Tzuke’s music is featured regularly in the singer songwriter sequence on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio (Mon-Fri, 14:00-16:00 GMT) The radio station can be accessed using the icons at the top of the page.
Sat 16th Worcester Huntingdon Hall www.worcesterlive.co.uk 01905 611 427
Sun 24th Wavendon Stables www.stables.org 01908 280800
Sun 31st Sheffield Memorial Hall www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk 0114 2 789 789
Thu 4th Andover, The Lights www.thelights.org.uk 01264 368 368
Fri 5th Maidstone, Pizza Express www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk 08457 6027 017 SOLD OUT
Sat 6th Swindon Arts Centre swindontheatres.co.uk 01793 524 481
Fri 12th Birmingham, MAC macbirmingham.co.uk 0121 446 3232
Sat 13th Shoreham by Sea, Ropetackle Arts Centre ropetacklecentre.co.uk 01273 464 440
Thu 18th Haverhill Arts Centre haverhillartscentre.co.uk 01440 714140
Fri 19th East Grinstead, Chequer Mead www.chequermead.org.uk 01342 302 000
Sat 20th Havant, The Spring www.thespring.co.uk 023 9247 2700 SOLD OUT
Fri 26th Knaresborough, Frazer Theatre www.wegottickets.com thelittleboxoffice.com
Sat 27th Banbury, The Mill www.themillartscentre.co.uk 01295 279 002
Fri/Sat/Sun 10th/11th/12th The Pheasantry, 152 Kings Road, Chelsea, London pizzaexpresslive.co.uk 0845 602 701740
Sat 12th St Donats Arts Centre, Cardiff stdonats.com 01446 799 100
Fri 18th Brewery Arts Centre, Kendall breweryarts.co.uk 01539 725 133
Sat 19th The Citadel, St Helens citadel.org.uk 01744 735 436
Sun 20th Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury henrytudorhouse.com
01743 361 666 SOLD OUT
Thu 24th Town Hall, Airdrie culturenl.co.uk 01698 403 120
Fri 25th Tolbooth, Stirling tolbooth.stirling.gov.uk 01786 274 000
Sat 26th Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine harbourartscentre.com 01294 274 059
Sun 27th The Caves, Edinburgh www.wegottickets.com 0131 220 3234
Wed 14th Stowe School stowe.co.uk 0845 680 1926
Fri 16th Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton buxtonoperahouse.org.uk 0845 127 2190
Thu 29th Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne tivoliwimborne.co.uk 01202 885 566
Fri 30th South Devon Arts Centre, Totnes southdevonarts.co.uk 0844 888 0435
Sat 31st Plough Arts Centre, Torrington theploughartscentre.co.uk theploughartscentre.co.uk
01805 624 624
Sun 1st Arts Centre, St Austell crbo.co.uk 01726 879 500
Thu 12th Bury, The MET themet.biz 0161 761 2216
Fri 13th Lowdham, Village Hall www.wegottickets.com 0115 966 3596
Thu 19th The Courthouse, Otley otleycourthouse.org.uk 01943 467 466
Fri 20th Town Hall, Selby selbytownhall.co.uk 01757 708 449
Sat 21st The Ropewalk ,Barton the-ropewalk.co.uk 01652 660 380
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 July.. In the first hour David pays tribute to the blues/rock guitarist Peter Green.
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THE JAILBIRDS Dull My Brain (Golden Robot Records)
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