What they're saying about Judy Dinning

One of the finest voices on the folk scene.

Mike Harding (BBC Radio 2)

She has a truly outstanding voice which can convey many shades of feeling. She should be up there among today's leading female singers.

Carole Baker (Living Tradition)

Judy has a strong clear voice, for once not a copy of any other female singer.

Linda Morrison (Music World)

Judy presents a wide and varied selection of material which is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. She has the ability to make every song sound as if it was written just for her. All of this coupled to a truly charming stage presence adds up to a great evening's entertainment.

Tony Wilson

Judy possesses the kind of voice most of us only dream of.

Geoff Heslop, Producer

Judy Dinning enchanted especially with her voice, which gave the old and new Scottish and English folk songs a special liveliness.

from the Schwarzwaelder Bote, 28 May 2003
Thanks to Johanna Braunschweiger for the translation

Judy Dinning (guitar, voice) brought with her own compositions a new quality into the band's repertoire, but mostly she impressed with her expressive, clear voice. She has many years in the music business and knows exceptionally well how to bring the songs close to the audience.

from Die Neckarquelle, 28 May 2003
Thanks to Johanna Braunschweiger for the translation

Reviews of "Fine Times" launch, Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, 16 January 2004

It's a Fine Time for Judy Dinning Fans

Judy Dinning gave a spellbinding performance of songs from her new CD "Fine Times" in the informal setting of the Live Theatre, Newcastle on Friday evening. Judy's innovative arrangements of traditional and new songs were given a lively, energetic treatment with shades of blues, jazz and rock from her accompanying musicians.

Pete Scott started the evening with a short solo spot giving a selection of his songs and endearing the audience with his wit and dry humour. Johnny Dickinson (he of Radio 2 folk award nomination) then gave us a taste of his excellent slide guitar. They then joined Judy, along with Tony Davis on keyboards, Finn McCardle an percussion and Neil Harland on double bass, for a lively version of Cullercoats Fish Lass, to begin the set. A beautiful haunting rendition of Water of Tyne followed, then the mood changed for a jazzy Gallowgate Lad.

A wistful traditional tune, Hexhamshire Lass, from her native area was followed by the cute Little Johnny Robinson, a Joe Wilson poem set to music by Pete Scott. The hectic humerous Miseries O' Shiftin' struck a chord with everyone. Then a beautiful rendition of Kathleen Ferrier's Blow the Wind Southerly held the audience enthralled before the title track Fine Times, written by Judy, evoking fond memories of her father and reminding us of the pleasures of working on the land.

After rapturous applause the band returned to perform Ne Werk, a rocky foot tapping rendition of a Joe Wilson poem. Judy and the musicians then chatted and mingled with the audience in thd very relaxed atmosphere of the theatre.

It was certainly a "Jumpin' Hot Club night" to remember.

David and Denise Hewitson - Hexham Courant - 23 January 2004

So, at last, it was Judy's turn to be 'up front' on stage rather than a backing singer or as part of a harmony group. This night would see her front a band of folk 'all stars' to do her voice justice.

This was Judy's night and she wasn't going to be denied. Slightly nervous at first, she soon got into her stride and relaxed and, after a couple of songs, actually looked as though she was beginning to enjoy herself. Neil Harland (double bass), John Dickinson (slide guitar), and Finn McCardle (percussion) were supplemented by Pete Scott with his guitar and Tony Davis on keyboards. The songs got better as the band jelled with Gallowgate Lad, Fine Times and Blow the Wind Southerly standing out from the crowd. They saved the best until last as Ne Wark found the band moving from folk to a more rock orientated sound.

Judy won't have this band to back her up on a regular basis but I do look forward to seeing her working with Pete and A.N. Other guitarist giving the songs a more personal feel.

Little Nemo - Get Rhythm 2 Magazine - Feb 2004

Reviews of "Fine Times"

Brilliant songs on it - lovely stuff, a great CD.

Mike Harding (BBC Radio 2)

Devised to form part of the Northumbria Anthology - a project partly funded by a Millenium Heritage Grant - this CD adds to a continuously expanding collection of songs, poetry and music celebrating the history and culture of the North-East of England. Free-standing too, it's a captivating addition to Judy Dinning's growing body of work that began over 20 years ago with Waiting for the Change, a duo LP with Dave Smith on Rubber Records. Since leaving Jez Lowe's Bad Pennies in 2002, and with her role in the all-woman group Lucky Bags somewhat curtailed right now, it's as a member of Real Time, along with Joe Wright and Kenny Speirs, that Dinning's flame has been burning stronger and brighter. Her time is surely now.

This debut solo album is packed with assured, thoughtful versions of traditional songs such as Water of Tyne (from 1812's Rhymes of the Northern Bards) and plenty of Joe Wilson's words set to tunes by Pete Scott, guitarist in the small subtle backing group of musicians assembled here. John Dickinson's uncoiling curls of slide guitar in particular, imparting a very delta bluesy feel to songs such as Gallowgate Lad. In fact throughout, the basic, sparse arrangements coupled with a subtle empathic approach showcase the songs themselves rather than being a 'listen to us' exercise by the sidemen. A heartfelt recording - it rocks, it exhilarates, it caresses by turns and Judy's voice has a warm strength that could melt an ice-cap!

The final track - the gripping Ne Wark, again one of Joe Wilson's poems - has a fuller band treatment and is a telling indictment of 19thC unemployment that fizzes along with energy and fire ("Aw wander to places, an' try to get wark where 'call back again' is the foreman's remark") - nothing new there then. The title track is a self-penned heartwarming paen to simpler though more arduous times written for her father, a Northumbrian farmer and in a folk world awash with emotion-by-numbers performances and perfomers, true feeling remains a blessed thing.

There is a real passion in this sweetly drifting album.

Quietly spectacular.

Clive Pownceby - Living Tradition - July 2004

Ms Dinning has been in the background of the traditional music scene for far too long. How long since her last album? Incredible as it may seem, she has never released a solo album! There is a 20-year-old album with guitarist Dave Smith, albums with Lucky Bags, Jez Lowe and Real Time, but not a solo effort. Strange that someone with such a beautiful voice has never been pushed to the front of the stage.

"Fine Times" is the first official album to come off the back of the 20-CD Northumbrian Anthology and some album it is. Opening with Water of Tyne, a song that is well known in folk circles - it has never really been exploited but I don't think anyone will ever record a better version than this. Joe Wilson's Gallowgate Lad is another outstanding track, sounding like a cross between 'St James Infirmary' and 'House of the Rising Sun'. Dinning can move from blues to folk with ease as she does on another song that has been in the doldrums for far too long and here it is given the emotional treatment the song deserves. Not surprisingly there are more Joe Wilson songs (Drunken Dolly, Miseries O' Shiftin', Ne Wark) brought to the table by Pete Scott who oversaw this album. Pete has been researching the work of Wilson over the past couple of years, writing new melodies etc. The most contemporary song included is the title track Fine Times, written by Judy herself about her father; she should write more.

All the songs are beautifully put together under the direction of Pete Scott and feature the stark production that gives the songs the depth required. Musicians featured are Pete Scott himself on guitar, John Dickinson playing some haunting slide guitar, Tony Davis on piano and percussion (the album was recorded at his Cluny Studio), and bass stalwart Neil Harland.

cj - Get Rhythm 2 Magazine - Feb 2004

Talented North East folk singer Judy Dinning makes a welcome return with this stunning collection of traditional, Geordie and self-penned songs. Ably supported by fine regional musicians Pete Scott, Johnny Dickinson, Neil Harland and Tony Davis, Dinning even manages to breathe new life into standards such as Water of Tyne and Blow the Wind Southerly, while also rocking out on a US West Coast-styled version of Ne Wark. Highly recommended.

Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette - 12 February 2004

Reviews of "Waiting for the Change"

Judy Dinning makes another appearance on a gem of a collection released 21 years ago. Stand-out tracks include beautiful versions of Eric Kaz's Love Has No Pride, Kate Bush's The Man With the Child in His Eyes, and Lal Waterson's Fine Horseman.

Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette - 12 February 2004

Reviews of "Real Time"

Since their formation only at the start of 2002, this trio has been gaining a grand reputation for its live appearances on the folk scene, at both festivals and clubs. Of course they had a head start - a line-up two of whose members are already well-loved musicians and singers (Kenny Speirs, ex-John Wright Band, singer and guitarist; and Judy Dinning, formerly with Jez Lowe's Bad Pennies and Lucky Bags). But, with the third member (for many, the unknown quantity) being an amazingly talented young fiddle/mandolin player, Joe Wright, it's clear this band could do no wrong - and so this album proves. With a repertoire that moves effortlessly between songs (mostly contemporary, a handful of traditional) and tunes played with an easy-going instrumental virtuosity, it sure is a winning combination.

The buoyant effervescence and total involvement of the trio's live performances translates pretty strongly to CD on this, their first recorded offering, so the decision to issue a live set rather than a studio-recorded CD has evidently paid off in that respect, although I admit I tend to find the incidentals of live recordings (applause, intros etc) less satisfying for repeated listening. Opening with a Judy Dinning composition (Maybe, one of seven examples on the CD - and I hadn't realised Judy was such a prolific, and fine songwriter) proves a good gambit, setting the scene admirably, with its vibrant, driving guitar and fiddle and soaring vocal line and providing a sensible contrast with the next track Best Kept Secret, another of Judy's.

Kenny then takes lead vocal for a cover of Richard Thompson's When I Get to the Border (which had also graced his first solo album Bordersong) before Joe steps into the spotlight for a pair of traditional tunes (Snow on the Hills and The Swallowtail Reel) which demonstrate the poetic fluidity, natural verve and unassuming maturity (already!) of his playing - whether at slow or fast tempo. And so the album proceeds, as does the band's live set, every selection a highlight in its own way. I've already said that Judy's own songs are particularly impressive, songs about relationships, the acquiring and the parting, that are deceptively simple but embody a uniquely wistful passion - and I'm sure we're destined to hear more.

Finally I must mention Real Time's sensitive cover of Lal Waterson's Fine Horseman - not an easy song to bring off, but Judy does a great job. OK, so I'd like to hear more of Kenny's singing, but that's probably the only perceivable imbalance in Real Time's act as represented by this CD.

David Kidman (NetRhythms and Folk Roundabout Feb 2003)

What is such a pleasant surprise is the excellent songwriting skills of Judy, previously regarded as a fine singer but not known for her own material. She is responsible for half the songs on the album.

Many of her songs are about relationships and her stunning voice captures the feelings and mood of the lyrics. The self-penned songs that appealed to me were Best Kept Secret and The Leaving, a poignant tale of parting.

Dave Dewar (Living Tradition)

Reviews of "Delight in Disorder"

Her singing stands out and her songs Maybe and No Goodbyes are two of the highlights.

Ian Wilson (Shreds and Patches)

Judy Dinning's No Goodbyes should be offered to the omnipresent Corrs forthwith.

Nic Beale (Folk Roots)

With Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies

She has added an extra dimension to the Bad Pennies and to Jez Lowe's brilliant songs.

Chris Rockcliffe (uk.music.folk newsgroup)