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Sandy Denny: Reflections on Her Music Paperback – Illustrated, 7 Dec 2011

15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (7 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780880200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780880204
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Ward is a writer, translator and parliamentary researcher. His publications include Hofmannsthal and Greek Myth (2002), Sandy Denny: Reflections on Her Music (2011), and two translations of Frank Wedekind, Franziska (1998) and Mine-Haha (2010). A contributor to a number of arts journals, he has written features on Kirsty MacColl, Marianne Faithfull, June Tabor and others. He took part in the Continental Britons events at the Wigmore Hall in 2002, where he spoke on the composer Egon Wellesz, and in 2008 co-organised an anniversary tribute to singer-songwriter Sandy Denny at the Troubadour Club, London. He has also created English performing versions of several opera libretti. Educated at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Munich, he now lives in Cambridge, where he is a Senior Member of Wolfson College.

Product Description

Review

Philip Ward's analyses of Sandy's songs are original, thorough and insightful. I learned a lot from reading them. --Joe Boyd

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. J. Iredale on 21 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
For many years now, the only book we had to read on Sandy Denny was Clinton Heylin's No more sad refrains - The life of Sandy Denny, which was re-published recently. This book scores again and again of Heylin's conceited work by not being nauseously opinionated, and reads in a much more academic way. But, in a good way. It considers different areas of Sandy Denny as a subject, such as her life, her writing, recordings made by her, her contemporaries etc. It reads well and Philip Ward doesn't have this arrogance that Heylin's book unfortunately slips into again and again.

Sandy Denny, as a subject to analyse and discuss, is one that has not caught on in the same way that say, Nick Drake has; this is a shame as her work at it's best is certainly an equal, and her life story, sad though it was, also is interesting and draws us in. This book is to my mind the best (so far), and if you like her music, you will find this a light and balanced read. It also has some wonderful photos, many of which I have not seen before. It has some stills from the 1975 London Weekend performance with Fairport of which only 30 seconds is currently on YouTube; the stills here suggests there is more out there.

I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in Sandy Denny.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. H. on 26 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
At long last Philip Ward's book of his excellent website blogs. The book reflects that style and, I think, makes it a book to dip into rather than read cover to cover. The articles range from the thought provoking personal reminiscences e.g. "Sites of memory..." to the rather more academic "Digression into Theory". I really like the variety of approaches. I think you already need to know a bit about Sandy's story to really appreciate Philip's reflections and original research he has done over years. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith Jahans on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Sandy Denny is one of my all time favourite female singers. I said is rather than was even though she died in 1978 as I own many of her recordings and listen to them often so that her voice is an ever present background in my life. I spotted this book amongst the catalogue of the publishing company, Matador, decided to buy and read it with a view to discover more about the personality that lay behind her music. I was not disappointed.

In the early 1970s as a member of the band Fairport Convention Denny established folk rock as a new genre in popular music. Ward's book recounts her biography and sets it in its time. Her early life on the 1960s folk club circuit to solo career in the late 70s, through a troubled personal life to an almost slapstick but tragic death from a fall down the stairs at her parents' home, is well narrated along with attempts to explain the reasons behind the events which marked her life.

Denny has a golden voice and Ward describes it well. He tells how she attempted to take her music in a new direction in an effort to establish herself as one of Briton's leading singer song writers. She showed early promise with the song "Who knows where the time goes". The songs that followed are less memorable. Ward's attempts to find meaning behind the lyrics are understandable but are largely unnecessary as it is the sound of her words with the music which counts and not the meaning. To be fair Ward points this out even though he devotes a whole chapter to understanding her songs.

There are other books that may better recount Denny's biography which I have not read and Ward lists them amongst his references along with crediting the recollections of those who knew her. This book must make a valuable addition but also stands up well on its own.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ian Williams TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alas, no.

But what we do have is a literary collage or mosaic. The author uses different approaches to create a portrait of Sandy and her music in a way that no chronological biography could do. Each approach weaves together like thread linking them all together; this includes the author's personal response and reaction to Sandy Denny the artist which, primarily, is the way we all approach her, by reacting in our own individual ways.

This book is simultaneously thoughtful, accessible, absorbing, and a very fine appreciation of this singer who left us too soon.

I doubt whether the definitive book on Sandy will ever be written. Her contemporaries are aging, memories fading, much has already been lost. But if publisher would like to take the chance on the coffee table book about her that she deserves, Philip Ward is the man to write it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Murray Walters on 31 May 2013
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A pleasure to read and confirm information in, as a companion to the recently released box set it is the ultimate fair weather friend, a comfy chair under cover when it is raining works as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Morrison on 27 July 2013
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Excellent book for anyone interested in the life and songwriting of Sandy Denny. Contains pictures not seen before in any other book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M.Jennings on 22 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He gets a bit too analytical at times, for my liking, but he has cleared up some questions for me. And he's de-mystified Sandy too.
His writing is clear and honest.. It's not hype.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dreamer on 31 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lovely little book about the lady...written from a real fans viewpoint slightly let down by the last chapter when it seems like certain theories have been shoehorned in.good though
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