Born in Corbridge, Northumberland on 13 December 1953, Judy Dinning was a singer/songwriter who performed her own compositions as well as those of contemporary writers from the USA and UK. She played guitar, keyboards, dulcimer and percussion. Her own style was predominantly English, with her main influences being Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior and Jacqui McShee, but American singer/songwriters Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez have also been a great influence in her musical career.
Judy began singing early; almost as soon as she could walk – and talk. Although Judy has a classical training and a London College of Music Diploma in Voice, her first love was always traditional music and her first forays onto the folk music scene were at the local folk club in Hexham, Northumberland, both solo and with Passport, a band made up of other local musicians.
In 1983, with Dave Smith on guitar, Judy released an album ‘Waiting for the Change’ on Rubber Records, Mawson and Wareham Music in Newcastle. Produced by Geoff Heslop, the album achieved No. 3 in the Melody Maker Folk Chart that year. The album featured a cover version of The Man With The Child In His Eyes. The success of the album and extensive touring brought radio, TV, and many festival and folk club performances. Collaborations with Tom McConville amd Stu Luckley followed.
Lucky Bags were formed in 1995 after a meeting of like-minded friends. They were, alongside Judy, Julie Ann Kay (celtic harp, vocals), Liz Law (Appalachian and hammer dulcimer), and Zena Tubmen (guitar, flute, percussion, vocals), with Emma Welton (violin, vocals) joining in 1999. Their material encompasses traditional music from the United Kingdom, with original compositions by the band, and work by contemporary writers from the UK and the USA. They released two albums, ‘Food for Thought’ and ‘Delight in Disorder’ on the Fellside Recordings label.
In 1997 Jez Lowe recruited Judy into his Bad Pennies. They toured all over the world, including some of the major festivals. Judy appeared on the album ‘The Parish Notices’ (1998)
In 2002 Judy left the Bad Pennies to concentrate on the new band Real Time. They released two albums, ‘Real Time’ and ‘Hell & High Water’.
During 2002 Judy worked with Mawson and Wareham Music in Newcastle as part of an extensive project of traditional song ‘The Northumbrian Anthology’ – a 20 CD box set of recordings produced by Jed Grimes, a celebration of the music and culture of the North East of England. Judy features on the compilation album ‘From Tyne to Tweed’, which includes an extensive cast of Geordie luminaries such as Sting, Jimmy Nail, Kevin Whately, Tim Healey and Denise Welch. This has led to the solo album ‘Fine Times’ (2004).
Judy Dinning passed away on 2 October 2013.