Saturday, November 6, 2021

Judd - Judd (1970 uk / france, excellent country blues classic rock, 2015 remaster)

Judd was essentially a front for British singer/songwriter Kris Ife, the co-writer for much of (and vocalist for all of) the act's sole album, 1970's Snarling Mumma Lion. Prior to Judd, Ife had been part of the British Invasion group the Quiet Five, who had a couple of small U.K. hits in the mid-'60s. Ife had also done some solo singles, most notably a 1967 cover of Joe South's "Hush," which inspired Deep Purple to record their big hit version of the same tune. South's influence is also obvious on Judd's LP, which contains some swamp pop-flavored originals and covers. Judd's brand of swamp pop was poppier and less distinguished than South's, however, and the album also included more middle-of-the-road-oriented tunes with a Righteous Brothers and Tom Jones flavor.

The Judd album arose in part because of Ife's association with producer Mark Wirtz, most famous for his work on Keith West's 1967 U.K. hit "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera." Ife put together a band, the Matchmakers, that recorded for Wirtz, and then recorded some tracks from musicians from the Matchmakers (including Ife's old Quiet Five bandmate/guitarist Roger McKew), most of which were Ife-Wirtz compositions. The released LP was actually a compilation of demos and finished tracks, and sold little, though Judd did put out a 1971 non-LP single, "I'll Be Gone"/"Louisiana Woman." Ife went on to record a couple of singles as part of Jackson & Jones before entering the publishing side of the music business. All of the material from Judd's Snarling Mumma Lion LP is included on the Kris Ife CD compilation Definitive Collection 1967-1973, which also includes the "I'll Be Gone"/"Louisiana Woman" single and an outtake from the LP, as well as the Jackson & Jones singles and some Ife solo tracks.
by Richie Unterberger

Alsatian wunderkind Mark Wirtz led many successful pop music projects during the 1960s and 70s, especially during his long tenure at Abbey Road.

A gifted painter, musician and actor, Wirtz's college band was signed to EMI as Mark Rogers and the Marksmen, while Wirtz was still attending the RADA in London; by 1965 he was producing music independently and became an in-house producer at Abbey Road in 1967, working with Keith West & Tomorrow and fronting the Mark Wirtz Orchestra, AKA The Mood Mosaic.

The blues and soul-tinged Judd album, issued in 1970 on Larry Page's Penny Farthing label, featured Wirtz on keyboards and rhythm guitar, fronting a studio band with bassist Roger Flavell, guitarist Roger McKew and drummer

Tat Meager (who had played on Siren's eponymous, John Peel-produced debut LP); backing vocalists such as Madeleine Bell, Doris Troy and sisters Yvonne and Heather Wheatman, AKA Sonny and Sue, gave a more rounded sound. Much of the material was co-written by Kris Ife, who had worked with McKew in The Quiet Five, though there is also an individual cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Down On The Corner,' made livelier by Wirtz's piano chords.
1. All Right - A Little Bit Of Soul (J. Vincent Edwards, Kris Ife, Michael Derrick) - 2:35
2. Merrilee Thompson (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 2:54
3. Do I Still Figure In Your Life (Pete Dello) - 2:14
4. Oddjob (Kris Ife, Mike Anthony) - 2:21
5. Let's Work Together (Wilbert Harrison) - 3:29
6. Daylight (Kris Ife, Mike Anthony) - 2:52
7. The Days Of Flesh And Blood (Are Over) (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 3:19
8. Down On The Corner (John Fogerty) - 2:46
9. Stronger Than A Man (Can Only Be A Woman) (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 4:10
10.Until Tomorrow (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 3:10
11.Lousiana Sunday (Kris Ife, Mike Anthony) - 3:05
12.Thee (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 4:36
13.Snarlin' Mumma Lion (Kris Ife, Mark Wirtz) - 3:55

*Kris Ife - Vocals 
*Roger Flavell - Bass 
*Tat Meager - Drums 
*Roger McKew - Guitar, Keyboards 
*Mark Wirtz - Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar
*Davey Clague - Bass
*Doris Troy - Vocals 
*Madeleine Bell - Vocals 
*Sue And Sonny - Vocals