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Prog Magazine August 2017
The original Fairport Convention singer’s return to psychedelia, 21st century style
Judy Dyble is most closely associated with folk music, but she was also the product of the psychedelic era, playing at clubs like UFO and Middle Earth. Summer Dancing, with guitarist and soundscaper Andy Lewis, is anything but a throwback. As Dyble sagely says about psychedelia, “It’s more than just swirly gubbins over everything.”
With its phased guitars, the breezy pop of He Said, I Said does nod back towards the 60s, but although the duo aim to expand your mind they also want to warp it through time and space, so along with fuzz guitars, eastern drones and Mellotrons, Lewis constructs a kaleidoscopic mix of modern and vintage samples. His father was an amateur audio tape enthusiast and his collection, which ranges from field recordings to stereo demonstration records, yields some of the musical material here. Musically this collaboration has few obvious peers, although Grasscut’s evocation of different historical eras and geographical zones on Everyone Was A Bird comes to mind. Lewis’ arrangements are inspired and although the songs are full of shifting textural detail they never become overloaded.
All these elements come together brilliantly on Night Of A 1000 Hours, which is set to the steady rhythm of a clock mechanism. On it Dyble rues her insomnia, while a drowsy organ theme meanders along in the background punctuated by jazz piano, together with glissandi on piano strings and disembodied voices mirroring the protagonist’s unwanted mental activity.
With its church bells, cello and birdsong, the acoustic Up The Hill is a hazy piece of pastoralia. This mix of bittersweet nostalgia for a rural idyll carries an element of disquiet, which is quite deliberate as Lewis views it pessimistically as “the last chance of an English-sounding pastoral psychedelic record before the fallout from Brexit blows it all to Kingdom Come.”
Treasure starts off with Lewis’ acoustic strum and echoed electric slide guitar that sounds like it’s drifted in from an early Floyd tune. The song speeds up, inadvertently hijacks some organ lines from the Spencer Davis Group’s I’m A Man, and ends up with heavily reverbed vocal chorales.
Dyble’s light, airy voice and precise enunciation epitomised a certain 60s approach to singing, and on the lengthy London she evokes the sense of freewheeling grooviness associated with the city back then, while also describing the joy of escaping from its pull. The song is built on some lovely chord changes, with urban sounds including a traffic news bulletin and some blurry brass samples that seem to be struggling to play Downtown, Tony Hatch’s paean to the big city- .Mike Barnes
Ian Burgess Friends of Fairport/Meet On The Ledge CD Rom August 2017
Judy Dyble & Andy Lewis
Judy Dyble had 35 years away from making music, re-starting her recording career about twelve years ago. That initial slow drip of new material is now becoming quite a flow. Sessions with groups including Big Big Train, a new solo album in the works, a new (Very limited edition) solo ep available, and now this album with Andy Lewis. Musician, producer, songwriter, and sometime bass player of choice for Paul Weller.
Andy’s roots are in R&B, psychedelia and jazz, Judy ‘s the music of Early Jefferson Airplane and the Byrds. Not folk. The mix is rather wonderful, a sort of proggish psychedelia with little jazzy pieces as they create their own world for forty five minutes of music.
From the sound effects introduction through “He Said She Said” this is an album that hooks the listener from the start. Through regular recordings, and live work Judy’s voice is getting stronger with each release. Most of the album is quite gentle, dreamy, and on any listen your favourite track can be the one you are listening to. I am on my seventh listen now, and certain bits of songs warrant mentions here. The title track starts with a gentle, slow Bo Diddleyish beat, which then continues behind all sorts of swirling instruments and dreamy vocals. “Night of 1000 Hours” has a clock ticking loudly through it. I’m sure we’ve all been there lying awake, waiting for the morning. This sums up those sleepless hours perfectly. The piano introduces the jazz, gently, beautifully. This is followed by “London” the roots for both Judy and Andy, once again Judy’s lyrics paint a picture, from memories, as you walk through the streets with her. “My Electric Chauffeur” has a very strict beat to it, with once again sounds surrounding you as you listen. The album is stereo, I venture that a surround sound mix would be even more magical.
Throughout the album there is not a wasted moment, every instrument is used to it’s optimum, and not beyond. Judy is in fine voice throughout, and every lyric is the soundtrack to a short film. It’s an album to put on and hit the “repeat” button. Sit back and enjoy.