Woman To Woman, the touring show featuring Judie Tzuke, Beverley Craven and Julia Fordham, stopped off at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh to a well -attended venue. Although each of these singers had her major hits more than a few years ago, these were great songs, and tonight was proof that their music has stayed in the hearts of their fans.
The format to this show is simple. Judie, Julia and Beverley each perform their own best known songs with the other two often on backing duties, and as there is a new album out (Woman to Woman) some “girl group” performances too. Of course, the important thing to remember here is that, although the major hits that so many people in the audience obviously knew so well were from earlier days, none of these women has ever stopped making music, and there are some finely crafted songs in their back catalogues as well as some interesting new ones with the current “Woman to Woman” project. Each one is a talented songwriter in her own right, and a show like this gives you the opportunity to look back on some songs and recognise that collectively Judie, Julia and Beverley wrote some of the best songs of any British singer-songwriters and perhaps that fact has been a little bit overlooked over the years. Voices of course change over the years too, and the vocals from everyone are still very good here, but it is always I think unfair to expect any singer to still sound the way they did on a recording maybe 30 years or more ago, and sometimes that change to a voice can actually add more power to a song.
Opening our show was Beverley Craven who, as well as some finely crafted songs, also has a finely honed sense of humour that is as sharp as any of her lyrics can be. Songs like “Woman To Woman”, “Love Scenes”, “Mollie’s Song” and the performed later “Promise Me” show clearly what a fine songwriter Beverley Craven is.
Julia Fordham is a clever writer of words, and songs from her catalogue including “Girlfriend” and of course “Where Does The time Go” are fine examples of that ability, but it was a song from one of Julia’s Jazz influenced albums, China Blue – “I Want to Stay Home With You” that interested me a lot in her set. Julia Fordham is a very good Jazz singer with a gift for vocal jazz phrasing, and it would have been nice if time had allowed for some more “Jazz Julia” tonight. From the new “Woman to Woman” album, “A Photo Every Christmas” is just a great piece of writing and Julia’s story behind the song added so much extra depth to it.
Stay With Me Till Dawn, is of course one song that Judie Tzuke had to have in her set list here, but there are so many other strong songs available to her too with older material including “Come Hell or Waters High” and “Bring The Rain” getting equal appreciation from the audience with newer Woman to Woman songs such as “Safe” and “If” (based on the famous poem).
Despite a good mixture of men to women in the audience tonight, it is fair I think to say that this was very much an evening for the ladies. There are often very subtle differences in the way writers of different sexes approach a song, and so many of these songs are, to me, certainly written from a woman’s point of view. Also, time as it rolls on by leaves its marks (good and bad) on all of us, and there was tonight a clear empathy between many of the women in the audience and the women on stage. Beverley Craven is dealing with some major issues in her life at the moment and it was good to see and hear her so positive on stage tonight. Anyone needing any further information on this subject should visit the Woman to Woman website at https://www.wtwlive.com for a statement from Beverley. Clearly both Beverley Craven and her audience are drawing strength from each other at the moment. Here is to hoping that 2019 is a positive year for a lady showing great personal strength and courage in the face of personal adversity.
Review by Tom King