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4.4 out of 5 stars23
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Good morning, good afternoon
and what have you got to say?
Well I'm waiting, but I can't stay long,
it's such a lovely day

How I would love to award this a full five stars, but a combination of too many saccharine strings, the odd plodding arrangement, and one too many Ink Spots covers renders this third solo album from 1973 by the immortal Sandy a mostly beautiful but occasionally frustrating experience.
Island had two brilliant orchestral arrangers they tended to call on: Robert Kirby for Nick Drake, and Harry Robinson, whose arrangements on most of these songs are in fact superb, but not always as welcome as they might be. (Have a listen to the stringless extra tracks to hear the difference.)
However, this sumptuous record opens with a stunning classic. Simply called Solo, it's one of Sandy's greatest songs and most assured performances, with a riveting accompaniment, in particular the crisp, incisive drumming of Dave Mattacks whose varied thwacks and subtle beats before each chorus - and what a chorus! - are as thrilling as anything by Bonham or Moon. It's a glorious song that I never tire of hearing.

I've just gone - solo
Do you play - solo
Ain't life a solo

The title track is where the strings really come into their own, and they actually complement a lush, romantic song by Sandy which is both touching and stately, just like the lady herself could be at times.
There are two Ink Spots songs (and I grew up with my parents' 78s of many of them) and Sandy sings them well, but no more than that. For me, they dilute the album as surely as did her ill-advised, shoddy Dylan and Brenda Lee covers on her first solo LP.
The other songs are all vintage Denny compositions, with the long and langorous Carnival, the more urgent Dark the Night, and the excellent Friends and No End all standout songs.
At the End of the Day is a song that, on the original LP version, drags a bit, but listen to her acoustic alternate take and the song is transformed. Again and again Sandy sounds best with minimal backing, or simply her own piano or guitar.
The other extra tracks are more than a mere bonus, filling out an already lovely disc that only falters in its over-reliance on too-fulsome arrangements and the inclusion of unnecessary old standards that only go to prove how perfect she was at singing her own.

What a wonderful way to live,
she's travelling all over the world
Why, the fame and all the golden opportunities unfurled

This is still a lovely album to own, to play (solo or otherwise), and to cherish. It's still Sandy, still essential...

I've always lived in a mansion
on the other side of the moon.
I've always kept a unicorn
and I never sing out of tune

We've all gone - solo
We all play - solo
Ain't life a solo
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
A few years ago I was introduced to a group called Fairport Convention by a friend. The song she played was Matty Groves, and instantly I was entranced by two things, Dave Swarbrick's fiddle, and Sandy Denny's voice. Since then I have built up a collection of Sandy Denny's albums, both solo and in groups, and these stand as some of my favourites in my collection.

She had a voice that was controlled and full of technical skill, but with a real throbbing intense passion lurking just beneath that threatened to burst free at any moment. She started out as a folk vocalist, but through her work with groups such s Fairport and her later solo albums she expanded to become so much more. Rooted in folk certainly, but overlaid with many other layers that made her unique.

This is her third solo album. It's a delicious set of folk /folk rock tracks, with some light blues and jazz tinges around the edges. Front and centre is Denny's amazing voice as she gently leads us through a series of tales of life, love and loss. It's a gentle, almost mournful. Her singing is just magnetic, full of charm and beauty. It's an album to just put on and get lost in. There are oddities here, a cover of Whispering Grass seems like an odd choice, but it's a beautiful, mournful version that conveys the sadness of the singer at the betrayal, and is far superior to the Don Estelle/Windsor Davies version, lifting ot from the novelty song and making it a masterpiece.

This remastered version is a pure joy. The remastering is superb, and allows you to hear the colour and dynamics in Denny's voice. There is a host of extra tracks at the end that really add to the album.

In all this is a special album. Really beautiful music to entrance you. 5 stars.
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on 13 July 2004
Ive not heard this album in over 30yrs,mainly due to the fact that my vinyl copy lies dormant in my brothers home in Australia!
So I was so delighted to purchase a rare CD of the album.
It goes without saying Like an old fashioned waltz is a refreshing diversion from the brilliant folk standards set by Sandy and the other Fairport ensemble,although most of the boys feature heavily on this album.
Sandy Denny's outstanding vocal talents are a tour-de-force,with excellant orchestral arrangements by Harry Robinson and great production by Trevor Lucas.
Nine great tracks bear testament to how good this album truly is,
a timeless classic,with a mixture of lush,panoramic ballads such as the title track Like an old fashioned waltz and At the end of the day thru to the gutsy melodic Dark the night, even a Sammy Cahn classic features (until the real thing comes along).
What a loss Sandy Denny is to folk but as they say the music lives on.
A classic,worth a listen.
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Having recorded one album with the Strawbs, three with Fairport Convention and one with Fotheringay, Sandy Denny embarked on a solo career, during which she recorded three albums before returning to Fairport Convention and recording a further album. She then recorded a fourth solo album, released in 1977, before her career was cut short by her premature death in 1978.

This 1973 album is described in the liner notes accompanying the expanded 2005 edition as a beautiful album, suffused with a late summer reflective romanticism. Well, that's one person's description, but as I write this on a snowy February day, anything to do with summer seems to be a long way off. Actually, it's a great album to listen to at any time of year, and the songs are definitely of the mellow, romantic variety.

Taking the nine tracks on the album as originally issued first, Sandy wrote seven of them herself. The other two are songs that were in her father's record collection. One of them, Whispering grass, had been an American top ten hit for the Ink Spots and became a UK number one hit for Don Estelle and Windsor Davies in 1975. The other is a Fats Waller song, Until the real thing comes along. I love Sandy's covers of these songs, but it is her own songs that are what this album is really all about. From the opener (Solo) to the closer (No end), each track is brilliant. The title track cheekily begins with a line from another famous song by declaring that roses are red and violets are blue, but the rest of the song is much deeper than that other song.

Three of the four bonus tracks are alternate versions of tracks that appeared on the main album , these being At the end of the day (without strings), the title track (live version with Fairport Convention) and No end (solo piano version). The other bonus track is an original song (King and queen of England) in demo form.

This is a classic album from a singer who is better appreciated now than in her lifetime. Never mind the folk-rock tag often applied to Sandy's music, this is mellow, romantic music at its finest.
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on 19 September 2007
This album sometimes gets a bit of a slating by Denny fans but for me, this was a high point in her solo career. LAOFW saw Sandy leaving her traditional / folk-styled material behind her as she extended her qualities as a contemporary songwriter and as an exceptional singer.

The album saw quite a progression from its predecessors with personal songs on relationships and people replacing her, then, more common narratives about the sea and fictional characters. There were also some interesting departures such as her cover of one of her father's favorites, Fats Waller's Until The Real Thing Comes Along. Although I've seen it described as the ultimate in 'cheese', I loved it. It just left me wanting to hear her sing more jazz. I always thought she was a jazz singer with a folk singer's voice and this proves it for me.

The other highspot for me are the orchestral arrangements by Harry Robinson (the man behind Nick Drake's River Man and Hammer horror movies) with their wonderful swirling lines and bassy depth. Other commentaries on Denny's work suggest these are not to all her fans' taste but I think their lushness suits the romantic settings of this particular set of songs.

NB The extras are ok. The string-less version of No End showcases her vocals well but otherwise, there aren't any great finds. They only have curiosity value for me.

Despite the excellent Fairport related backing players, do not tag this as folk rock.
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on 29 March 2008
This was Sandy Denny's third solo-album. On her second album, the much acclaimed "Sandy", she had begun a slow departure from her folk-music roots. On this album you probably would not have thought of there being any folk-roots at all, if it had not been for her backing band consisting of people with strong roots in Britsih folk-rock - people like Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Jerry Donahue, Gerry Conway, Pat Donaldson and several more.

Sandy and her husband/producer Trevor Lucas were seeking a broader approach with a wider range of styles, using heavier production; often with use of strings; which some people thought a progress, and other people hated.

The opener, the gorgeous "Solo" is one of Sandy's very best songs ( I would buy the album for that song alone ). The nostalgic title-track is almost as strong, in spite of a quite unrestrained use of strings. The bonus-track version proves the use strings quite unnecessary.

Her covers of two old romantic jazz-ballads, "Whispering Grass" and "Until the Real Things Comes Along" are actually quite good, though some people find them out of place on a Sandy Denny album.

"Friends" is another highlight on the album - a classic Sandy Denny song; according to the liner notes on the "No More Sad Refrains" anthology, the lyrics were written about Pete Townshend; not a very flattering picture drawn of him there.

"Carnival" is a tune in the same vein as "Friends" - though darker and not quite as melodic.

"Dark the Night" is a light tune, but with dark lyrics. "I'm not good at singing happy songs", I believe Sandy stated at a certain point.

"At the End of the Day" has such a beautiful melody line, and possibly her ultimate love song. The bonus-track version with no strings is my favourite.

The closing track "No End" with its strange, but thought-provoking lyrics, gives the album the perfect end.

"King and Queen of England" is an outtake from the sessions, but was probably thought not strong enough when the final track-listing was to be made. I think I'll agree to that, though some might have preferred it to one of her jazz-covers.

In spite of some flaws ( too much strings ) the album as a whole is her most consistent and enduring, with Denny on top in her song-writing.
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on 30 June 2014
I never pre-ordered Liege and Lief when it was first released on vinyl. My sister's best friend never lent me Unhalfbricking whilst she went on Holiday with her parents. I never saw Sandy Denny at The Roundhouse. Conclusion? I have not grown up listening to Sandy Denny and therefore have no nostalgia that renders me incapable of being objective. A gushing review that starts 'I had this on vinyl' serves very little, particularly to a newcomer to a given artist. This CD sat for months in my Amazon wish list, until one day, on a whim, I decided to buy it. You know how easily that can happen with Amazon... Upon hearing it, I am of the opinion that it is without doubt a masterpiece of its kind. The songs are perfectly crafted and played to perfection, to say nothing of Sandy Denny's delivery. If you are susceptible to romantic ballards that just about stay on the right side of being too sugary-sweet then this is one to have, even if you have to listen to it alone, in secret.
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on 25 October 2013
Sandy Denny's voice is absolutely beautiful and has for me, a compelling and haunting quality. I am often frustrated when I expect an album of ballads and find a mix of slow, haunting tracks peppered with lively fast-paced tracks. I like to listen to one or the other and am rarely in the mood for both at the same time. This album did not disappoint, remaining soft, melodic and slow-paced throughout. Many thanks
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on 16 April 2016
Bought this CD for the track Whispering Grass, which is exquisitely sung.
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on 28 August 2015
Simple, songs, with typical Sandy Denny lyrics, superb album.
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