I am never too far away from a Bridget St. John album so I am happy to report that Cherry Red records have just released a box set of her first three albums together with BBC Sessions from between 1968-1972 giving everyone the opportunity to be near her. Without explanation, after making her first three albums for John Peel’s Dandelion label between 1969 and 1972 and one for Chrysalis in 1974, she simply disappeared from the music scene.
Her first album, Ask Me No Questions was released in 1969, followed by Songs For The Gentle Man in 1971 and Thank You For in 1972. Dandelion Records ceased to be in 1973 and St John’s next album, Jumblequeen was released by Chrysalis 1n 1974. In 1996 a label called Road Goes On Forever released a collection of unreleased tracks recorded between 1975 and 1982.
In 1976 St. John emigrated to the US but it remains a mystery as to why she stopped making records. With John Martyn and Michael Chapman as major influences, John Peel was quoted as saying that she was “the best lady songwriter in the country”. She had a deep, dark voice that was perhaps most similar to Nico, creating a moody mystery around her. There were evocative words, shadowy melodies and a memorable finger picking guitar style, and she was even voted fifth most popular singer in the Melody Maker readers poll of 1974. She recorded with Mike Oldfield in the seventies (Ommadawn 1975) and Kevin Ayers on his last album The Unfairground in 2007.
I can only imagine that she found another interest when she moved to the States and simply didn’t find the time to record again or couldn’t gather the funds or perhaps the inspiration. She has appeared here and there in the last 20 years, touring with Micahel Chapman, appearing at The Strawbs 25th anniversary concert, playing at a Nick Drake tribute in the nineties and she can also be seen on Cherry Red TV on You Tube.
If you haven’t discovered her, this new release is your chance to find out about a singer-songwriter you simply won’t believe you missed – take the chance before she disappears behind the curtains of history – again.
Three Songs From French TV 1970:
1. Downderry Daze
2. Like Never Before: 4:31
3. Ask Me No Questions: 9:1