27/11/15 – Judee Sill – The Kiss – 1973

Song Of The Day

Judee Sill with guitarAs a terrible heroin addict Judee Sill had been forced to rob liquor stores and gas stations, she went to reform school as a kid, went to prison as an adult, and found herself forced into prostitution and eventually died as a result of her drug abuse at the age of 35 in 1979.

She was the first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum records and her first single and most popular song, Jesus Was A Cross Maker was produced by Graham Nash with whom she toured. She managed to release two albums in her short musical career, Judee Sill in 1971 and Heart Food in 1973 – The Kiss is from this second album.

Sill remained off the radar for years but in 2005 Rhino Handmade re-released her first two albums and a double CD called Dreams Come True, a collection of demos for a prospective new album that also featured some live material. In 2007 her BBC sessions Live In London – 1972-1973 was also released as a double CD set. It features lots of interesting detailed song introductions and includes an interview with Bob Harris giving an insight into Judee Sill the person – fast talking, complaining about opening for Rock groups in America and stating that she thought that the British public liked her more than they did in her home country.

Still, Mama Cass (as Cass Elliot) covered Jesus Was A Cross Maker on her fourth solo album released in 1972. It was also recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, The Hollies and Judi Tzuke. The Turtles recorded Lady-O around the time of their fifth and final album Turtle Soup and released it as a single in 1969. As she has been resurrected in the 21st century, contemporary hipsters like Fleet Foxes and Bonnie Prince Billy have performed or recorded her songs.

Sill was adept on the guitar and the piano and had a tone in her voice that took you from dark to light, she explored Christian mystical imagery, redemption and ecstasy. Her lyrics were struggles, questions, pleas and with a colourful history to draw upon, highs and lows, hopes and fears and the search to find a way through the tangled thorny bushes of life itself, she left us with some thought provoking compositions and personal reflections that only magnify her personal tragedy and death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judee_Sill

Love, risin’ from the mists
Promise me this and only this
Holy breath touchin’ me
Like a wind song
Sweet communion of a kiss

Sun, siftin’ thru the grey
Enter in, reach me with a ray
Silently swoopin’ down
Just to show me
How to give my heart away

And once a crystal choir
Appeared while I was sleepin’ and called my name
And when they came down nearer
Sayin’, “Dyin’ is done”
Then a new song was sung
Until somewhere we breathed as one

Stars, burstin’ in the sky
Hear the sad nova’s dyin’ cry
Shimmerin’ memory
Come and hold me
While you show me how to fly

Sun, siftin’ thru the grey
Enter in, reach me with a ray
Silently swoopin’ down
Just to show me
How to give my heart away

And lately sparklin’ hosts
Come fill my dreams descendin’ on fiery beams
I’ve seen ’em come clear down

Where our poor bodies lay
Soothe us gently and say
“Gonna wipe all your tears away”

Love risin’ from the mists
Promise me this and only this
Holy breath touchin’ me
Like a wind song
Sweet communion of a kiss

 

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