Judee Sill the Flight of an Angel - Part One

Judee and I met when Lynn Blessing and I were sharing an old Victorian house in Hollywood.  The date would be 1971. It was up on Berendo St. right below Barnsdall Park. 

Lynn had his entire rare Metaphysical library in the house. As this place was to become the new “First Temple of Freedom,” we decided to do it up right for a house warming party.  I drove to Echo Park and bought a pound of grass for about $75.00.  Lynn and I decided to roll up around 100 joints and just leave them spread around the house for anyone who cared to enjoy them.  It’s incredible that with the noise and the smoke that we weren’t busted.  And of course, people just walking down the street saw the party and invited themselves in, they’d see the joints all over the place and start to stash some in their pockets.  Lynn and I would just hand them a fistful with a big smile! 

Judee came to our party late in the evening (she had been Lynn’s friend for a few years at the time).  I took out my classical guitar, (I had been studying furiously at the time with Phil Boroff) and played a Courante by J.S. Bach. Judee sat there as if she were in a trance.  When I finished she looked softly into my eyes and said with her great and sarcastic wit, 

‘You know too much for your own good!’  

I knew exactly what she meant. Later that night she crept into my room and slept with me, and I mean slept only!  We held each other and she said, “I love your Bach”.  I replied, “Your tunes remind me of him!”  Soon we were asleep. This began a friendship that lasted through smooth and rough terrain until she died.”

“We were this group of gypsies deeply bonded through shared experience.  We meant a lot to each other.  It was a period in time unlike any that has preceded it or come since.  We were all full of the spirit of the times but were deadly serious musicians trying to capture the joy and pain of our existence and never thought of tomorrow and its consequences.  Life was to be lived and music was its central theme:  jazz, classical, folk, rock, you name it, it all counted!”  

“Judee was one of the most unique individuals I ever had the privilege of knowing.  I remember the day she signed with Asylum records, she asked me to go with her to her meeting with David Geffen.  We ran into Joni Mitchell at the Sunset Blvd. office.  Watching the two of them in the same room was an experience.  Joni knew who Judi was.  Let’s just say their cautious conversation was memorable.”

I had a huge participation in Judee’s posthumously released CD recording “Dreams Come True” by Runt Records in 2005, which were done at Mike Nesmith’s, of Monkees fame, “Country Studio” in Van Nuys in 1974.  I helped Judee arrange the music and paid particular attention to my electric guitar parts and sound, so that my playing would often double the right hand of her piano licks and blend as well with her acoustic guitar work.  

It is very odd for me to have such a vague memory about such a “memorable” piece of Hollywood pop music history.  After all, it was her last efforts in the studio before her untimely passing.  For some reason all my memory has truly retained is the great dinner afterwards at her favorite Russian restaurant in Burbank, a “Sill” tradition.  I think she would be happy about this. 

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