Don't be deterred by the rather dreary black and white photo of Sandy Denny on the cover - this album is full of top quality, often quite beautiful, music from one of Britain's most distinctive and memorable female singers. Though the album is described as 'an introduction to Sandy Denny', this seems too modest; 'very best of' would not be an inappropriate title. It features around four tracks from each of her four solo albums, which were recorded between 1971 and 1977, in the years after leaving the influential folk-rock group Fairport Convention. Every track is of high quality, with crystal clear remastered sound, and the collection succeeds in picking much of the best material from these solo albums.
Although on some tracks the music is typical of the well-loved Island Records early 70s folk-rock sound (featuring such musicians as Richard Thompson, Pat Donaldson, Trevor Lucas, Jerry Donahue and Gerry Conway), many others are slow piano ballads with lavish orchestrations, and have no discernible 'folk' elements. Throughout them all Sandy's haunting and ethereal voice, together with her frequent lyrical references to nature and the changing seasons, give a touching wistfulness, as though presaging her tragic death at the age of only 31.
Excellent though it is, this collection does not include any material from Denny's various albums with Fairport Convention and Fotheringay, or her other musical ventures, and for the most comprehensive coverage of all her recordings from 1968 to 1978 the double CD 'No more sad refrains' is highly recommended. Sandy's four solo albums are also now available in excellent remastered sound, with bonus tracks. An essential companion collection to 'Listen listen' is also from the Island Records 'introduction to' series - 'The end of the rainbow' by Richard and Linda Thompson, which comprises some of the best material from the early albums of another significant former Fairport member.