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A Very Fine Career Overview
on 24 October 2009
English folk music is one of the few generes which still prompts more than its fair share of smirks. Seen by many as something not really for their collections, or serious consideration and veneration in way that Irish or Scottish music is. If you consider it alongside music of other cultures it seems somewhat lesser. Listeners have something of an issue with it, and the upshot is that fewer people than really should know a great deal about Sandy Denny. "The Music Weaver: Sandy Denny Remembered" is not only a wonderful introduction to her work but puts a strong case for reconsidering the sometimes blinkered views of English Folk Music in general.
Across two discs, Denny's career is mapped out through songs and collaborations. Her background was in Folk clubs and her music weaved the contemporary with the traditional as a generation reconsidered traditional music from all over the UK and gave it a new contemporary twist. There are some fine examples of this here from "The Banks Of The Nile" - a song dating from the days Nelson, to "Blackwaterside" to name a couple. Here the songs have her own stamp alongside the sense of history. She is probably best remembered for her work with Fairport Convention and as a solo artist and both are well represented here but this collection also includes her collaboration with Led Zepplin which doesn't usually make her retrospectives. Other collaborations with the likes of The Strawbs also mark this out.
What stands out amoungst all the music here is Denny herself. She was blessed with great vocal range, power, and beautiful sense of timing. All are demonstrated to great effect across the 2 discs. It really is a thing of beauty yet the other abding strength is her own songwriting. There are some stunning songs here. She isn't extensively covered by others or rated as highly as some of her contemporaries, but she did write "Who Knows Where The Time Goes", which is something of a Folk standard these days, and there are several wonderful examples of her songwriting talent here. "After Halloween", "Solo", and "Late November" are just a few which sound ripe for the voices of others. The depth of this collections strengths is impressive. Also included here are covers of her contemporaries and plenty of alternate demos and session tracks which are not easy to obtain without investing heavily into big boxed sets, so this primes well for all aspects of her career. Her untimely death robbed music of a wonderful talent.
This is a great way to discover some wonderful work covering a great deal of the late 60's and 70's Folk revival. As a tribute to Sandy Denny, a general introduction to the music of the period, a demonstration of what you can achieve within the confines of English Folk Music, and what a wonderful talent Sandy Denny was, this suceeds at every level.