Sunday 26 March 2023

Judee Sill - The Donor

Judee Sill - The Donor (1973)
If I recall correctly Judee Sill had been a teenage delinquent who was sent to a Christian reform school where she ended up playing the church organ. Later she became enamoured by hymns and channelled all things mystical into her music. At some point though I think she was even in some kind of new age cult. Sill was a fascinating woman, an erratic genius and a rock'n'roll outlaw. How has she not been on the cover of Mojo magazine ten times by now? However her infamous notoriety and ultimate tragedy usually overshadows her artistic achievements which is a shame because THE real story is her exalted music. This stuff is just elevated higher than the rest.

Judee Sill is a musical messiah offering up her divine gifts to we who are not worthy. The Donor outdoes the peak sublime moments of Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Linda Perhacs, David Crosby, Gene Clark, Dennis Wilson et al. and foreshadows the delights of His Name Is Alive, Liz Phair, Panda Bear, Grouper etc.

The consensus in the youtube comments is that The Donor is "heavenly" and "a masterpiece" One thing I love about comments sections under great ye olde songs is that you usually get some oldies who heard the music back in the day and still can't believe how good it is. Then you have the young folk, who heard it for the first time the day they left a comment and they also can't believe how good it is. Anyway it seems everyone who hears this track is totally moved by it. Sill was aware of the effect of her music stating "my music is really magnified four part choral style. It gets to people's emotional centres quickly"

This is just one song, sure it's her most divine and epic effort but she has two LPs worth of enchanting folk pop with cosmic, classical and ecclesiastical overtones. Judee Sill came up with a term for her deceptively simple yet complex music "country-cult-baroque" which is perfectly succinct.

Speaking of perfection. It does not get better than this.

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