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|1. 3.10 to Yuma|
|2. She Moves Through the Fair (home recording) (Previously Unreleased)|
|3. Boxful of Treasure (home recording) (Previously Unreleased)|
|4. They Don't Seem to Know You (home recording) (Previously Unreleased)|
See all 19 tracks on this disc
|1. Fairport Convention - Si Tu Dois Partir|
|2. Fairport Convention - Cajun Woman|
|3. Fairport Convention - The Ballad of Easy Rider|
|4. Fairport Convention - A Sailor's Life|
See all 16 tracks on this disc
|1. The North Star Grassman and the Ravens|
|2. Next Time Around (alternate take without strings) (Previously Unreleased)|
|4. The Sea Captain|
See all 18 tracks on this disc
|1. Whispering Grass (radio session)|
|3. At the End of the Day (alternate take without strings) (Previously Unreleased)|
|4. Like an Old Fashioned Waltz|
See all 18 tracks on this disc
|1. One Way Donkey Ride (demo) (Previously Unreleased)|
|2. I'm a Dreamer (demo) (Previously Unreleased)|
|3. Take Me Away (demo) (Previously Unreleased)|
|4. Rising For the Moon (demo) (Previously Unreleased)|
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Whatever the vagaries of the nostalgia industry, it's hard to argue with Thompson's contention that Denny is one of the greatest female talents that this country has known, particularly when you've sat and listened to this beautifully compiled set. In chronological order, 4 CDs cover Denny's earliest home recordings, her work with Alex Campbell, the Strawbs, Fairport Convention, the much underrated Fotheringay and selections from her solo albums. Like the (long deleted) Island set Who Knows Where The Time Goes, it chucks in a few rarities, live recordings and session tracks, too, some previously unreleased and others making their debut on CD.
Though Sandy suffered from self-doubt throughout her career, the earliest recordings here suggest that her vocal ability was there from day one, even if it was sometimes hard to find the right settings for it. Compare the Strawbs reading of "Who Knows..." with the Fairport version (not included here, incidentally) for the evidence. Compilers Tim Chacksfield and David Suff have done a fine job, unearthing some hidden gems (for instance, a radio session recording of Fairport's "Sir Patrick Spens" with a Denny vocal) and cherry picking from Sandy's solo records. These were a variable bunch, and though there are some brilliant moments on all of them, consistency wasn't their strong point. Careful selection and the inclusion of some live and unreleased material from this period tends to give a far more positive account, and does leave you wondering what she might have achieved had she not died so young.
A fifth disc of home recordings makes this an essential purchase for the completist. The home recordings are intimate, relaxed and for me number among her best vocal performances (not that she seemed to give bad ones very often). Shorn of the sometimes fussy, overbearing arrangements that were loaded on them in the studio versions, songs like "No More Sad Refrains" and "The Music Weaver" sound fresh once more. There's even what sounds suspiciously like a Joni Mitchell pastiche ("Still Waters Run Deep"). There's also a few live tracks from Rising For the Moon era Fairport, but the band sound flabby and at the mercy of poor onstage sound (or maybe too much pre-show refreshment).
The accompanying book is stuffed with enough stories, photos and anecdotes to keep you busy for a good while (who'd have guessed she had a fling with Frank Zappa?). Sandy's early death wasn't self-inflicted, glamorous or poetic. It was just tragic, but an ordinary tragedy, the kind that could happen to you or I. Perhaps that's what makes it unappealing to the nostalgia industry, who knows. Regardless, the title tells you all you need to know about this beautiful set. --Peter Marsh
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I just hope this will be successful enough to encourage someone to finally remaster and re-release Sandy's last 2 solo albums (Like An Old Fashioned Waltz & Rendezvous). Most of the folk-roots fans don't seem so keen on her later work, but I think there's a fascinating meeting going on there between her musical background and an eagerness to experiment in other genres (30s crooning; pastoral-classical; confessional songwriting; rock ballads;... ) - examples of all of which can be found in this excellent collection.
Whilst much of the source material will already be familiar to those that love her music, there is still enough new and previously unreleased material to make this a valuable addition to any Collection. This 5 CD set is well laid out mixing the familiar with the home demos and studio outtakes.
The 56 page booklet is sympathetically written with a good selection of photographs, however, the author has not been afraid to pull any punches and tells Sandy's story as it was. She was headstrong, often drunk and could manipulate a situation, a Gem with a flaw, often she would press the self destruct button. But she was also an accomplished song writer and possesed a beautiful, powerful and haunting voice that deserved to be heard by more people.
This is not just for the Folkies, this is a must for all of the hopeless romantics out there.