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The young american Laurette Stivers landed in the multicoloured late 60s London and, through an advert in the press, joined Keith Trowsdale y John McBurnie, two musicians who were looking for a feminine voice for their project. The trio made a demo which soon had them a recording contract and in 1969 they released their first single with the name of Justine. This record was the first issue of the english branch of the american label Dot and was already produced by a man who would be very important for Laurie in the coming years: Hugh Murphy.

Justine expanded their line-up and recorded an album which is moving betweeen british folk rock and american west coast sounds. Anyaway, Laurie Styvers didn't have a capital role in the band, being just one of several voices and co-writing only one song. Again produced by Hugh Murphy, the LP was released in January 1970, this time by UNI, another american label operating in U.K. Though Laurie kept on doing some occasional gigs with the band, she left Justine before the album was released and with Hugh, by then her boyfriend, prepared her own songs for a solo career.

A career that, nevertheless, would be too short. Her first LP, "Spilt Milk", was released in 1972 and her second and last one, "Colorado Kid", saw the light of day the following year. That's all. Both records have a certain continuity in style and intention, and could even form a double album, even though the second one may be a bit more complex and serious. Hugh Murphy was producing both LPs and even co-writing with Laurie some of the songs. Also the two of them have the sober and elegant orchestral arrangements of Tom Parker and, specially "Colorado Kid", also the instrumental contribution of some well respected session players of the moment like Gary Taylor and Andrew Steele (The Herd), Adrian Legg (his guitars), Henry Spinetti (drummer for half of the world), Chris Stewart and Mick Cox (Eire Apparent), Jerry Donahue (Fotheringay and Fairport Convention), or Mal Luker (The Smoke).

They are two very personal LPs and probably too melancholic and introspective for openly belonging to some tipical 70s american singer-songwriter. They have a great sense of melody and some sort of slow passion. Also, Tom Parker's orchestrations give them a special warmth. In "Spilt Milk" we can find de immediate feeling of "Beat The Reaper", the amplitude of "Five Leaves Left" (not the one of Nick Drake), the vaudeville of the charming "Pigeons", or the colour of "Inside You". In "Colorado Kid" we find "You Are My Inspiration", the song Carole King never wrote, and dwelling also there there's the magnitude of "Heavenly Band", the intimacy of "You Can Fly Me To The Moon" (echoes of Laura Nyro on that chorus…), or the greatness of "You Be The Tide, I'll Be The Bay" (with the floating psychedelic sitar of Mal Luker, ex - The Smoke).

And then, same old story. These two albums received very good reviews… but very poor sales. For some time both LPs, specially the first one, could be seen on the bargain bins of many shops. Until they vanished. Laurie also vanished. Seen her results in the record world, and also in the sentimental world after splitting from Mr. Murphy, she went back to USA and little or nothing has been heard from her ever since. Only that she died about ten years ago. Her two albums have never been reissued and no music magazine seems to have ever had any feature about her. Our humble homage to Laurie.

Hugh Murphy, a Shel Talmy pupil, had a better fate. After producing some more or less underground bands like Unicorn, Diabolus, String Driven Thing o Gracious, he had some bingo with Gerry Rafferty ("Baker Street") and worked with, among others, Linda Thompson, Mike Heron, Kursaal Flyers, Kilburn & The High Roads and The Proclaimers, besides co-writing some songs with Van Morrison.

Tom Parker has kept on making arrangements and playing for a lot of artists like Gerry Rafferty, Tim Rose, Chris White and a hundred more. Life is a lottery.

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