Wednesday, October 31, 2007



Happy Halloween! They've already blocked off the streets around here so you ruffians can show up tonight and make a lot of racket. Damn kids.

Today's selection might be known to some of you old-timers. I felt a vague sense of recognition when I heard it last week. It's Jesus Was A Crossmaker by Judee Sill. Ms. Sill is an interesting case for sure. She was a troubled rich kid from Oakland. After her parents split she drifted into bad relationships, drug use, prostitution, and incarceration, but she still had enough about her to get plugged into the emerging Laurel Canyon scene, so much so that she was David Geffen's first signing to Asylum Records in 1971. But after two albums she hadn't caught her break, and she drifted back into serious drug use and fell off the map. When she died in 1979 she hadn't been heard of in years.

I picked up her debut album (on Corbett's urging) and the first song to really stand out was Jesus Was A Crossmaker. For one thing, it's the only track on the album produced by Graham Nash. And boy is it produced. Judee's voice is tracked so many times it's hard to place exactly when she starts or finishes a word, if you catch what I mean. Add that to her weird phrasing (most people soften their 'r's when they sing. But hers are hard as a rock), the unorthodox religious imagery, the choral structure, and you've got yourself a very different piece of music, even if it's superficially just a singer-songwriter new age folk piece.

This past weekend, we played this tune about six times tooling around the back roads of Woodstock (trying to find Zena Road, trying to find a grocery store, etc). It worked.


Photo: Woodstock (2).



Philip said...

Is the entire album mixed like this? That would be great.

Bill said...

Well, it fits with the rest of the album just fine, but if I played you all eleven songs and told you to pick which one had a different producer, I think you'd more likely than not pick this one.