Spindle ***, The Whorl **** - Reviewed by Steve Caseman

Although forever connected to folk-rock via her tenancy as the original vocalist of Fairport Convention, Judy Dyble was equally at home within the more spaced out environs of psych/acid rock and these two recent releases see her fully embracing the genre via a multitude of talented friends and acquaintances. With Marc Swordfish – of underground dance pioneers Astralasia – and acid rock veterans Magic Mushroom Band as co-writers, the two albums straddle folk, acid rock and dance particularly well.

Spindle (I think the reviewer really means ‘The Whorl’ JD.) is resplendent in wistful and blissful chilled out ambience, most notably on ‘The Teller’ and ‘The Last Kiss’ whilst she revisits folk-rock territory on the semi-autobiographical ‘Road To Somewhere’, encompasses eastern dance influences on ‘Seventh Whorl’ and adopts an ethereal mood for the dreamlike ‘Forever Shining’.

The Whorl (I think the reviewer really means Spindle. JD) is an altogether more upbeat affair, opening with a full-blown acid rock outing for Syd Barrett’s ‘See Emily Play’, while the banjo refrain of Dave Russell and violin of Simon House contribute effectively to the pastoral folk-rock of ‘Fingest’. Russell’s banjo makes a return alongside Stevie B’s sax, on the inventive psych-folk fusion of ‘Darkness To Light’ and it all ends on a high note with the closer ‘Thank You my Dear’, a hypnotic amalgam of acid, folk-rock and country influences.

With the supporting cast over the two releases including James Asher (dulcimer), Peter Pracownic (guitars), Robert Fripp (guitar, soundscapes), Paul Chousmer (organ), Phoebe Thomasson (flute) and Martin Walker (bells and chimes) plus the afore-mentioned Russell, House, B and Swordfish, Dyble has assembled a formidable cast who, with her at the helm, create an often entrancing and always engaging sound.

Steve Caseman