Westwind was an English folk trio that released the album Love Is… on the Penny Farthing label in 1970.

Members: Chris Stowell, Nick Storey, Sarah Dyson

The Band

Westwind consisted of singer-songwriters Chris Stowell, Nick Storey, and Sarah Dyson. Their light harmonies and arrangements drew from soft ’60s folk-pop à la Gale Garnett, The Seekers, and Peter Paul & Mary.

They signed with Penny Farthing, a recently established label by producer Larry Page with a broad array of post-psych acts (Shocking Blue, Killing Floor, Octopus, Dulcimer).

Love Is…

Westwind’s singular album, Love Is…, appeared in 1970 on Penny Farthing (UK, Oceania). The album sports an azure-tinged monochrome waterside shot of the trio. The back features liner notes by journalist Peter Robinson of Music Business Weekly.

Love Is… contains six songs per side in the 2–4-minute range, including one about the Victorian penny dreadful villain Sweeney Todd. The songs concern seafaring woes, wildlife-romance metaphors, vintage travel vignettes, and natural disasters.

  • “Goodbye Butterfly” — Tree-side ditty with standup bass and light rhythmic brushstrokes. The Rhopalocera butterfly, which lives seasonally, is used as a metaphor for a parting summer romance.
  • “Robin Hill” — Angular chords woven with classical guitar. Lithe vocals by Dyson. An annual sentiment marked by blooming daffodils.
  • “Love Is a Funny Sort of Thing” — Dyson laments a lost love while passing familiar corners with her current partner, knowing the cycle of misgiving will repeat with a future suitor.
  • “Fisherman Song” — Intro: cross-sticking over plucked acoustics. Four-chord progression (1-3-7-5, rooted in A minor) colored with flugelhorn. Concerns a man who must cope with crazy hours offshore to support his family. A vaguely martial quality emerges as things tense up at the “pay up and away” line.
  • “Rosemary” — Four-note flute theme over soft acoustic plucking (F–B♭). The subject is out for an innocent stroll in the park when, suddenly, her surroundings crumble in an earthquake.
  • “Harbour Light” — Devastation ensues when a lovelorn lady learns that her long sea-bound suitor has drowned on his return-sail home.
  • “Home Is Where My Heart Is” — Intro: droning fifth-note (B) over E minor. Brisk, plucked chords and brush-stroked drums approximate a locomotive as home-bound passengers sing with joy.

Later Activity

Nothing more was heard from Westwind. Stowell resurfaced in a duo with folkie Julie Mairs.  They issued one album, Soft Sea Blue, in 1977 on Cottage Records, a Daventry-based folk label that also issued albums by Brandywine Bridge and Magenta.

Love Is… was first reissued on CD in 2001 on Elegy, a short-lived UK archivist label that also excavated titles by Aubrey Small, C.O.B., Frogmorton, Justine, Synanthesia, and Wooden Horse. On this release, one Johnny Watson and one Michael Moores (no further credits according to Discogs) are identified as the album’s arranger and arranger/director, respectively.

In 2003, Love Is… appeared in Japan on Air Mail Archive as part of that label’s Larry Page Collection series, which also included Killing Floor’s Out of Uranus album, plus 1968–72 titles by Apple, Colin Hare, Plastic Penny, Robin Lent, Pete Dello, Zior, and Steel Mill.


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