Judie Tzuke – The Chrysalis Recordings review (Shoot The Moon, Road Noise and Ritmo)

21 03 2020

This new Cherry Red 3 CD collection brings together all of Judie Tzuke’s recording output whilst signed to Chrysalis Records, spanning 1982 to 1983. In this period Judie released two studio albums, Shoot The Moon and Ritmo plus a live album Road Noise: The Official Bootleg.

Whilst this is not a collection of new remasters, The Chrysalis Recordings set sounds amazing and it’s a great way to add these albums to your collection at a reasonable price.

Whilst I love the first three albums (1979’s Welcome to the Cruise, Sports Car from 1980 and 1981’s I Am the Phoenix), the first album in this collection, Shoot The Moon from 1982 is my favourite (and most played) Judie Tzuke studio album.

Album opener Heaven Can Wait is driven by a wonderful rhythm section (Charlie Morgan on drums and John “Rhino” Edwards on bass) and the warm guitar and smooth keyboards add a sense of tension to this emotional song.

“I’m the ghost in your headlights”

Single Love On The Border was more in the style of the previous albums, and is a good pop/rock song that should have had more of an impact in the singles charts.

Beacon Hill brings a jazzy vibe, with it’s rhodes piano and fretless bass.

“We get in trouble when we look too far”

The trusty rhodes makes another welcome appearance, accompanied by a Roland CR-78 drum machine for the touching ballad Don’t Let Me Sleep, that highlights the emotional range of Judie’s vocals.

I’m Not A Loser was also a single, and perfectly captures the sound of late 70s, early 80s classic / FM rock.

Liggers At Your Funeral did not really resonate with me on release, but listening to this song in later years, it is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The heavily processed guitar from Mike Paxman along with the twists and turns in the arrangement turn this song into an album highlight that I never tire of hearing.

The originally sequenced album ends with the upbeat carousel of Water In Motion and the short acapella title track.

There are four bonus tracks on this version of Shoot The Moon – the b-sides Sold A Rose and Run On Luck plus demos of I’m Not A Loser and How Do I Feel. Whilst these are interesting, for me the album will always end with the title track.

I saw the band live in May of 1982 at Fairfield Halls, Croydon and bought the vinyl version of Road Noise (The Official Bootleg) on release. Do not be put off by the “official bootleg” in the title, this is a professionally recorded live album, with material taken from Tzuke’s 1982 performances at Hammersmith Odeon and the Glastonbury Festival.

Road Noise contains tracks from Tzuke’s first four albums, and features the same core musicians as on Shoot The Moon, apart from Jeff Rich who replaces Charlie Morgan on drums.

Road Noise open with a stunning version of Heaven Can Wait, which segues (why does no-one do that anymore) into Chinatown from Tzuke’s second album, Sports Car. This is the sound of collection of musicians at the top of their game.

The Shoot The Moon album is well represented on Road Noise, as are tracks from the previous three studio albums. You Are The Phoenix from the previous years I Am the Phoenix features a fabulous Mike Paxman guitar solo.

The title track of Sports Car is one of only two songs from that album on Road Noise, whilst debut album Welcome To The Cruise is represented by 6 tracks. Highlights from this album include the sung to backing track, mostly acapella For You and the big hit, the instantly recognisable Stay With Me Till Dawn, which sounds as good today as it did when first released in 1979.

Come Hell or Waters High is a fine FM ballad, at its most powerful with a simple mix of piano and voice, and a restrained live arrangement as the song progresses. City of Swimming Pools, in hindsight, is a mix of FM rock and prog. The vocal arrangement works well as the song takes us on an increasingly progressive journey.

“City of swimming pools
Where you can buy anything”

The album ends with a rare (at the time) Tzuke cover version, of The Hunter which was first recorded in 1967 by Albert King. As well as being a very good live album, Road Noise serves as a fine introduction to the first four albums.

The final album in this collection is Ritmo from 1983. This album is a much more synth-heavy collection of songs, and sadly, that’s the albums downfall.

The China Crisis sounding first single from the album, Jeannie No, opens the album, and is a strong pop song. She Don’t Live Here Anymore, despite the more synthetic than usual sounding drums, has haunting qualities and so has stood the test of time fairly well.

Shoot from the Heart works well with an electronic backing that builds as layers of guitar and synths plus backing vocals are added. Face To Face has more of the feel of earlier Tzuke material, but the drum sounds let it down.

Another Country is a bit of mis-step, and a track I skip pretty quickly. The chorus of Nighthawks lifts the album but the following two tracks, Walk Don’t Walk and Push Push, Pull Pull (with it’s Mick Karn alike basslines) have really not stood the test of time.

The album’s final track, How Do I Feel works a little better. The interesting vocal arrangement on the chorus is a strength, but by the end of the album I am left feeling that I wish the Simmons SDS series of drums had never been invented (even though I once owned one myself).

An extended and a 7″ version of Jeannie No ends this version of the album, which overall is a bit of a mixed bag for me, but the inclusion of Shoot The Moon and Road Noise make this a must-buy collection for anyone interested in the work on one of the UK’s finest singer-songwriters.

Shoot The Moon (1982)

  1. Heaven Can Wait
  2. Love On The Border
  3. Information
  4. Beacon Hill
  5. Don’t Let Me Sleep
  6. I’m Not A Loser
  7. Now There Is No Love At All
  8. Late Again
  9. Liggers At Your Funeral
  10. Water In Motion
  11. Shoot The Moon
  12. Sold A Rose (Bonus Track)
  13. Run On Luck (Bonus Track)
  14. I’m Not A Loser (Demo) (Bonus Track)
  15. How Do I Feel (Demo) (Bonus Track)

Road Noise (The Official Bootleg) (1982)

  1. Heaven Can Wait
  2. Chinatown
  3. I’m Not A Loser
  4. Information
  5. You Are The Phoenix
  6. The Flesh Is Weak
  7. Sportscar
  8. For You
  9. Come Hell Or Waters High
  10. Southern Smiles
  11. Katiera Island
  12. Love On The Border
  13. Black Furs
  14. City Of Swimming Pools
  15. Bring The Rain
  16. Sukarita
  17. Stay With Me Till Dawn
  18. The Hunter

Ritmo (1983)

  1. Jeannie No
  2. She Don’t Live Here Anymore
  3. Shoot From The Heart
  4. Face To Face
  5. Another Country
  6. Nighthawks
  7. Walk Don’t Walk
  8. Push Push, Pull Pull
  9. How Do I Feel
  10. Jeannie No (Extended Version) (Bonus Track)
  11. Jeannie No (7” Version) (Bonus Track)

Buy Judie Tzuke – The Chrysalis Recordings on Amazon

Buy Welcome To The Cruise

Buy Sports Car & I Am The Phoenix








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