Judie Tzuke - The Chrysalis Recordings

Judie Tzuke – The Chrysalis Recordings

As its name suggests, these albums are the combined output from Tzuke’s time with Chrysalis, and are made up of two from the studio, Shoot the Moon and Ritmo, and a third a live album composite of concerts at Hammersmith and Glastonbury. As a long time fan of Judie’s music (late ’70s onward) I was eagerly looking forward to reviewing these albums, so let’s get straight into it, beginning with Shoot the Moon.

Okay, stats first: there are eleven original tracks with three bonus tracks. There is a heavy reliance on the very ’80s drums and keys that also feature across a very broad swathe of pop and AOR from that era. In many respects, this somewhat overshadows the meanings of the songs, with Heaven Can Wait, Information, Beacon Hill and Don’t Let Me Sleep all being dominated by this soundscape. The redeeming tracks for this reviewer are Love on the Border, I’m Not A Loser, Now There Is No Love At All (one I don’t recall from earlier), Late Again, Liggers at Your Funeral, Water in Motion and the extremely short title track Shoot the Moon.

These are a good balance of Judie’s great ballad voice, and the more band driven ‘stompers’. Some influences come across in these tracks: Dean Friedman in Water in Motion and Elton John on one of the bonus tracks Run on Luck, unsurprising given that she started out with Rocket Records just a few years previously.

The background for the recordings is discussed in the set’s notes: “Shoot the Moon was recorded mainly at Rockfield Studios in Wales and was released in 1982. During the spring tour two sell-out shows at the Hammersmith Odeon (now The Carling Apollo) were recorded and later that year the acclaimed live album Roadnoise was released. Judie, Mike [Paxman] and Paul [Muggleton] wrote new songs and went to Mayfair Studios in London to record her fifth album, augmenting her stage band with a number of other musicians. The following year saw the release of the Ritmo album. Again she toured extensively but realising that she was not a priority act for Chrysalis and that they were not going to release the album in the States, she left Chrysalis for pastures new.”

Moving on to Ritmo, the next album from the studio. Good solid start with Jeannie No, where this time there is great clarity on the vocals, the ’80s staccato beat ticking along nicely with some nice keys and laid back bass, followed by She Don’t Live Here Any More, vocals once more to the fore, a pleasant guitar break interspersed with the ubiquitous drumbeat, and a few melodic percussive moments thrown in.

From here on in, the next four tracks are all a bit predictable, ‘shouty and stompy’ my notes reveal, with the drums getting in the way (for me anyway). Walk Don’t Walk then brings back some light and shade with Judie’s falsetto dominating, accompanied by flute, and a nod to Japan’s Tin Drum with some ethereal moments weaved in and around the bass and keyboards. Skipping quickly over Push Push, Pull Pull, another weak song dominated by a throwaway chorus, we reach the last of the original tracks, How Do I Feel?, which has a superb build from a quiet intro, the lyrics are repeated over and over, but this works well, one of the highlights of an average album.

Finally, Road Noise (The Official Bootleg) was set to play, and I sat back, looking forward to this live recording. From the off I was singularly disappointed with the overall sound; yes it was a ‘live bootleg’, yes it was 1982, yes the crowd were enjoying it, so perhaps the experience at the time was far stronger than the 38 year ‘lag’ suggests. For me there were very few highlight moments to pick out, probably I’m Not A Loser, and For You passing muster, as for the rest, it was a struggle to listen through some of the songs, and I would see this album being for completists only.

I feel guilty in putting this down in writing, but I feel that this release is not truly reflective of Judie Tzuke, the singer and artist who I have admired, seen several times and met over the last forty-plus years. There are many other albums that capture this magnificent talent, vocal range and purity far better, but hey, it’s all about ‘The choices you made’, and at £17.99 for a triple album set, it’s not going to make too much of a dent in the ‘home entertainment’ budget for most.

Finally, for those out there who only really know Stay With Me Till Dawn, in the same way that many folk see Kayleigh as Marillion’s finest hour, please, please take a listen to this superb lady and make your own judgement, the more you dig, the more gems you will unearth.


CD 1: Shoot the Moon
01. Heaven Can Wait
02. Love On The Border
03. Information
04. Beacon Hill
05. Don’t Let Me Sleep
06. I’m Not A Loser
07. Now There Is No Love At All
08. Late Again
09. Liggers At Your Funeral
10. Water In Motion
11. Shoot The Moon
~ Bonus tracks:
12. Sold A Rose
13. Run On Luck
14. I’m Not A Loser
15. How Do I Feel

Judie Tzuke – Vocals, Backing Vocals
Mike Paxman – Guitars
John “Rhino” Edwards – Bass
Bob Noble – Keyboards
Charlie Morgan – Drums, Percussion
Jeff Rich – Drums (track 14)
Paul Muggleton – Guitar
Andy Clark – Additional Keyboards
Don Snow – Additional Keyboards
The Dribble Brothers – Backing Vocals

CD 2: Road Noise (The Official Bootleg)
01. Heaven Can Wait
02. Chinatown
03. I’m Not A Loser
04. Information
05. You Are The Phoenix
06. The Flesh Is Weak
07. Sportscar
08. For You
09. Come Hell Or Waters High
10. Southern Smiles
11. Katiera Island
12. Love On The Border
13. Black Furs
14. City Of Swimming Pools
15. Bring The Rain
16. Sukarita
17. Stay With Me till Dawn
18. The Hunter

Judie Tzuke – Vocals, Backing Vocals
Mike Paxman – Guitars, Vocal
John “Rhino” Edwards – Bass
Bob Noble – Keyboards
Jeff Rich – Drums
Paul Muggleton – Guitar, Vocals, Percussion

CD 3: Ritmo
01. Jeannie No
02. She Don’t Live Here Any More
03. Shoot From The Heart
04. Face To Face
05. Another Country
06. Nighthawks
07. Walk Don’t Walk
08. Push Push, Pull Pull
09. How Do I Feel?
~ Bonus tracks
10. Jeannie No (7” version)
11. Jeannie No (12” version)

Judie Tzuke – Vocals, Backing Vocals
Mike Paxman – Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Percussion
Ray Russell – Guitars
John “Rhino” Edwards – Bass
John Giblin – Bass
Don Snow – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Bob Noble – Keyboards
Andy Clark – Keyboards
Paul Muggleton – Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion
Graham Jarvis – Drums
Andy Duncan – Drums
Morris Pert – Percussion
Roy White – Backing Vocals
Jaqi Robinson – Backing Vocals

Record Label: Cherry Red Records
Catalogue#: CDTRED807
Date of Release: 1st May 2020

Judie Tzuke – Website | Facebook | Twitter