Fairport’s First Lady

Judy Dyble, the original singer with Fairport Convention, talks to Richie Unterberger

Imagine being the original woman singer in the most esteemed British folk rock group of all, only to be replaced, after just one album, by someone who turned out to be the most esteemed British folk rock singer of all. Looking back several decades later, many musicians would have been bitter about the situation. But Judy Dyble doesn’t see it that way at all.

“You might think that my musical career has been fairly meandering and directionless,” she admits. “Well, you’d be right. I have been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with the most talented of people, but I have never knowingly decided to follow any particular path. Which was good, because it has allowed me to play a lot of different music in a lot of different styles.”

Certainly, Dyble’s career path has been anything but predictable. After singing on Fairport Convention’s debut LP and single in the late 1960s, she was replaced by Sandy Denny, but somehow quickly wound up as a vocalist with the embryo of King Crimson. That association would prove even more short-lived than her stint with Fairport, but before the decade was out, she was in a folk rock duo with ex-Them organist Jackie McAuley. As Trader Horne, they made, again, just one LP – now highly rated by UK folk rock collectors – before Dyble …

by Richie Unterberger
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