I love this album. Although I am a total hippie with a HUGE love for folk music, I had never heard of Vashti until yes you guessed it, the mobile phone advert (I am somewhat ashamed to say.) This album is wonderful, whimsical, hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck raising folk at its best. It is that kind of folk which makes you feel nostalgic, it is ever-so-slightly unsettling acoustic and flute heaven. I would be lost without this album now. At times when I listen to it, I am almost close to tears with yearning to escape today's world and be with Vashti on her magical 60's caravan journey to the Outer Hebrides. Listen to it and you will know what I mean!
on 25 February 2006
I am ashamed to say that I missed Vashti Bunyan the first time around, which is surprising as I was into obscure Singer/songwriters at the end of the 60's and early 70's-Bridget St John being my favourite of all time. So I was glad to discover this album second time around! I have heard some criticism of Vashti's voice, but I find it absolutely enchanting-as delicate as the gossamer wings of a dragonfly. And that applies to her songs as well-full of poetry and a time of innocence that has sadly been lost to the world. Her voice perfectly matches the music and lyrics
that would have been ruined by the more powerful, but equally beautiful, voice of Sandy Denny and her ilke. Some of the songs are childlike, others full of deep emotion and a oneness with nature, but all are rich and colourful. I look forward to listening to some of her later recordings.
on 24 April 2006
My Dad was a "folky" in the early 70's (when I were a laad of 12 or 13) and he had an album by a strangely named woman ... which we would hear him listening to from time to time.
When I joined the Navy and went to sea, my Dad sent me a tape of "Diamond Day" and I have been listening to it captivated ever since (some 30 years now). I have, of late, lived in fear that this ancient audio tape would expire (like they do).
However, my daughter has latched onto the tape and seems to love the haunting tunes as much as me ... totally un-prompted by her, now, middle-aged Dad.
She found the CD on Amazon and I have bought it (and on impulse her follow up album).
I would recommend this album of simple, emotive and beautifully tuneful songs to any and everyone who is looking at this review.
Turn down the lights, sit or lay down in a comfortable seat, close your eyes and let this songstress whisk you off to a gentle place - you won't regret the time you spend wandering with her little family and their caravan.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of "lookaftering".
on 27 October 2006
This ability is simply that- pure quality. It's certainly the best album I've bought for a while. I didn't buy it because of the mobile phone advert (featuring the title track), but if you like that song the rest of the album is more of the same. I've heard it described as pastoral english folk music, which seems about right to me. Even if you're not a big folk fan, I could see this album in the 'chillout' section of a music shop. It's great for unwinding after work, though it might make you fall asleep! Even though this was recorded a while back, it doesn't sound dated. In fact, it sounds very modern and fresh. Brilliant!
on 5 April 2014
Cult albums have always been safe options for me, afterall there's got to be a reason why despite being out of print since the 70's its maintained a devoted following right? I was intrigued by the story behind his album as much as I was the music, but on listening it's amazing how the two are inseparable. The lyrics are filled with Vashti's experiences and her simple observations told in her poetic way with her beautiful voice. I don't normally do this but this song (Timothy Grub) sums up everything I love about this album...
Maurice Snail and Timothy Grub,
Swanney and Blue and Emily Grub
Decided one day to go into the wood
And build them a house and live there if they could
And they stayed there a while in the trees and the rain
Till one day two Blue Men said you’re all insane
And to please not come here again
They had a green car called ‘Happiness Runs’
Friday comes and Happiness runs
Out of petrol and everyone gets out to push
And suddenly see through a gap in the bush
A real caravan, just like the one in their dreams
The gypsy doesn't want it for nowadays it seems
His home stays in one place and gleams
He told them that he had a horse down the lane
Saturday morning they went back again
He showed them a shed that was built out of tin
He opened the door and they all peered within
And there lying on straw was a horse black as night
With a star on her forehead and eyes full of light
And they all fell in love at first sight
They thought and they thought about having Black Bess
Timothy planted some mustard and cress
They lived in a cupboard and made it their home
And lay there and dreamed of the days when they’d roam
Up and down all the hills of the North countryside
With the dogs eating buttercups on the wayside
And they’d wave all the cities ‘goodbye’
This is a song so obviously based on her own experiences and told in a fashion that really demonstrates her enthusiasm and joy for rural life. Of course, Vashti bought a horse drawn cart and a horse call Bess, and together with her husband and their dog 'Blue', they left life in London to travel the countryside of Scotland. Some might dismiss this music as 'Twee', and normally I would agree, however this music is far too genuine to be anything other than sincere. Many artists try to recreate a idealised romantic notion of simple living, but Vashti didn't need to, she is singing about the things that bring her most joy in life and that joy more than comes across in her music.
Don't get carried away by the curmudgeon who described Vashti as Jackanory-esque and unbearably twee.
This in a genuine piece of late 60's/early 70's gentle hippyness and mellow vibes. Vashti isn't a Joni Mitchell or Maddy Prior in the vocal stakes. Her voice is as gentle as the rain but in its fragility,the songs of love,animals & magic are most effectively delivered.
I can almost hear the clip clop of the cart horse pulling Vashti's gypsy caravan up to the Scottish Isles and smell the salted air,woodsmoke,seaweed and herbal essences !
on 24 November 2005
What's with the one star and hostile reviews scattered about here? So it's simple - so what. So it's childlike - so what. So it doesn't sound like Shelagh McDonald or Sandy Denny - so what. So Vashty isn't as good a singer as Shelagh or Sandy - so what. So it could be a Jackanory soundtrack - so what. I adore this record just as I adore the recent Sandy Denny reissues and the Shelagh McDonald reissue. But they're different to this. This album's simplicity is it's strength. I can imagine a whole world of people listening to this for more than five minutes. Such as: people who like stripped down songs, people who like artists like Mazzy Star, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins etc, people with a heart and soul, people who don't treat music as an academic exercise or need it served up with unnecessary garnish.
on 29 September 2003
I wish I could give more than 5 stars! If you enjoy sixties or seventies British Folk or just great music in general then do not hesitate to purchase this.There is nothing I can think of to compare this to. It is perfect, beautiful, strange and a must-have. I've read that Vashti Bunyan is in the process of reviving her music career. The world at large may not take notice but would be made infinitely better by new material from this artist. If you don't already own this,buy it!!!
In the last couple of years Vashti has performed her first live set in over three decades at the Royal Festival Hall; duetted with Devendra Banhart on his Rejoicing In The Hands album; recorded with Piano Magic; sung on a Simon Raymonde collaboration, and with Animal Collective on their Prospect Hummer EP; and recorded a new album for Fat Cat, with guest appearances from the likes of Joanna Newsom and hopefully the arranger Robert Kirby. She has been cited as an influence by a whole new generation of young performers of avant folk and has a higher profile than she has had since her initial emergence on a single produced by Andrew Oldham and in TV appearances for Ready Steady Go! in 1965. Reviews of the single, Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind, a Jagger/Richard song which the two Stones had initially placed with Dick and Deedee the year before, variously described her as "the new Marianne Faithfull" and the "female Bob Dylan."
The reason for all this renewed activity was the re-issue in 2000 (2004 in the US) to great acclaim of her only album, Just Another Diamond Day, which had originally crept into the shops in 1970, without fanfare or promotion. "Nobody seemed to give it a second thought when it was released", says Vashti on her website, "In fact it was not really released, it just edged its way out, blushed and shuffled off into oblivion. I abandoned it, and music, forever as I went on to travel more with horses and wagons, with children and more dogs and chickens."
However, in the intervening years it has become regarded as a cult classic, with vinyl copies passing hands among collectors for ever increasing sums. When Vashti learned of this from the internet, she began the long process of collecting and collating the old masters, doing the legal stuff and finally getting the album made available on the Spinney label, together with some additional earlier bonus tracks.
The circumstances of the creating of the album are extraordinary and integral to its unique quality. After a trying couple of years recording for Columbia and Immediate to little effect, she simplified her style to just her and her Martin guitar. Donovan suggested she visited an artists' colony he was setting up on the isle of Skye and advanced her £100, and she, boyfriend Robert and dog Blue duly set off from Sidcup in July 1968 on a two-year adventure of magic, hardship and odd-jobbing, in an old green wagon towed by a horse called Bess (punctuated by a brief tour performing in the pubs of Belgium, and the odd train trip to London with songs for subs from new producer Joe Boyd). All the way, the songs she was writing were of what she was experiencing on her pilgrimage. "The songs were the dreaming in verges of grimy roads," she writes, and it is these songs, borne of the lifestyle of blood, sweat and rose hips that she found herself adopting, that make up the unique document that is this album. When Vashti reached Skye, the artistic renaissance had not taken seed and Donovan was in the process of leaving, so she continued to the Outer Hebrides with a virtually complete portfolio of music.
She eventually travelled back down to London, in a Morris Minor called the Kettle since it regularly boiled over, to record the album at Sound Techniques in November 1969, with Christopher Sykes and John James on keyboards. Joe Boyd had invited Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band to add fiddle, mandolin and Irish harp on three tracks, and from Fairport Convention, Dave Swarbrick to add fiddle and mandolin and Simon Nicol to add banjo on three others. Robert Kirby, well known for his work with Nick Drake, arranged string quartet and recorders on a further three.
Although very much of its period, the record has a beauty that stems from its unashamed purity and freshness, and is all the better for telling a true and unrepeatable story. Following its re-release The Observer Music Monthly listed it at 53 in their Top 100 British Albums list
on 30 May 2008
I heard Diamond Day on the TV advert and thought 'that's Vashti Bunyan!'.I hadn't heard the album in years. It was obscure when I first heard it and I never met anyone who had even heard of her. I checked out the website, got all the history and the cd and rediscovered the magical delights of endless summer holidays by the sea, walks in the woods, gypsy caravans, picnics- all the good old fashioned values of pleasure, joy, love & peace.
Gentle, easy to sing along to, quirky rhymes and repeats. This is an album to play to kids at bedtime to ensure sweet dreams.If this works for you then try HMS Donovan as a companion album.