Judy Roderick

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Bio

One of the finest white folk/blues singers of the early to mid-'60s, Judy Roderick developed a loyal following, fostered by her concert and club appearances at the best-known venues on the East Coast — the Second Fret (Philly), Club 47 (Cambridge), and Cafe Au Go Go (New York City). Her album releases on Columbia and Vanguard Records were critically acclaimed. By 1966, Roderick had begun to write music in collaboration with lyricist Bill Ashford and signed with Atlantic/Atco records in 1970, for whom she recorded one album of original material, Nevada Jukebox, with her band, 60,000,000 Buffalo.

Roderick attended the University of Colorado, and worked at the available music rooms in Boulder and Denver, including the Attic, where she crossed paths with fellow working musicians Judy Collins and David Crosby, among others. She moved to New York City and signed with Columbia Records in 1963, recording two albums, only one of which was released. Ain't Nothin' But the Blues was an eclectic mix of traditional acoustic folk tunes and large arrangements of blues tunes. This album includes early contributions on harmonica by John Hammond. The second album was considered by Roderick to be an artistic debacle, and led to her leaving the label. It remains unreleased.

Roderick was quickly signed by Vanguard Records, were she recorded the stunning Woman Blue in 1965. She was featured on one volume of the Newport Folk Festival recordings released by the label. She spent the next several years sharing venues with Eric Anderson, Vince Martin, Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, the Youngbloods, and others. In 1969, she returned to Colorado, signed with Atlantic, formed 60,000,000 Buffalo, and in 1971 recorded the seminal rock album Nevada Jukebox with producer Bill Szymczyk. The band broke up the next year.

Roderick spent her last years in Montana. "Floods of South Dakota," co-written with Bill Ashford, was recorded by Tim and Mollie O'Brien on their album Remember Me. Their performance of the song received a Grammy nomination. Roderick's last recordings were on a privately released cassette and featured Mac Rebennack on several tracks. Judy Roderick died of diabetic complications in 1992.

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