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A Great Dreamer!,
This review is from: No More Sad Refrains: The Anthology (Audio CD)
Sandy Denny was one of the great female songwriters of the 1970`s in England - perhaps the greatest. Sadly Sandy died from a fatal fall from her stairs in 1978.
All her records are filled with atmosphere and great songs. It must have been a very hard job to try and cover her recording career on only 2 CD`s. But I really think this collection does it very well.
Even the title of this collection covers the weary mood that always can be felt in Denny`s songs; even in her most up-beat moments.
There are no songs included from her short time with the Strawbs, but beginning with Sandy`s song "Fotheringay" from the 2nd "Fairport Convention" album the songs come chronologically.
"Fotheringay" would later give name to Sandy`s own band, which she formed in 1969 with Pat Donaldson, Gerry Conway, Jerry Donahue and Trevor Lucas, who would later be her husband.
From "Unhalfbricking" comes "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" - one of her most moving songs.
From the classic folk-rock album "Liege and Lief", an album dominated by Sandy`s unique voice, come two great Richard Thompson songs, "Crazy Man Michael" and "Farewell Farewell". Good to see "Farewell Farewell" here, a song which has often been overlooked. The rare outtake "Ballad of Easy Rider" is good and interesting. Personally I think "The Deserter" would have been a nice inclusion. It was the song that turned me on to Sandy`s voice and music.
Sandy left Fairport Convention in 1969 to start her new band "Fotheringay". Their only record is represented here by 4 songs. 3 of Sandy`s own compositions and the traditional "Banks of the Nile". Sandy`s songs are great, especially "The Pond and the Stream", but I would have replaced the 8 minutes long "Banks of the Nile" with a couple of songs from the never released 2nd Fotheringay album; for instance "Gypsy Davey" or the Fotheringay version of "Late November". Both these songs can be found on the box-set "Who Knows Where the Time Goes".
Sandy began her solo career with the terrific album "The North Star Grassman and the Ravens". Most of the songs from that album would have been worthy of being selected for a compilation like this. "Late November", "Next Time Around", "John the Gun" and the title tracks are all well-chosen. The music on the album not much ulike the Fotheringay style, no surprice since the musicians a practically Fotheringay supported by friends like Richard Thompson, whose distinctive guitar style can be heard on all tracks, and Ian Whiteman.
In 1971-1972 Sandy and her Fairport/Fotheringay friends recorded an album of 1950`s favourites; I assume just for fun. But it turned out the be a great album and I think it sold pretty well. The album was called "The Bunch" and Sandy`s two best permonces on that album are inluded here. Buddy Holly`s "Learning the Game" and the Everly Brothers` "When Will I Be Loved" - a great duet with Linda Peters (Thompson).
Sandy recorded two songs for a film soundtrack called "Pass of Arms" which were also released as a single. The songs are unlike Sandy`s usual style - written by Elford/Fraser - they`re interesting, but not very good. Included here for collectors.
From Sandy`s 2nd album "Sandy" there are 5 songs. All great, but I think the acapella version of Richard Farina`s "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood" is too special to be included here. I would have chosen the beautiful "Sweet Rosemary" instead.
From "Like an Old Fashioned Waltz" there are also 5 songs included. All good choices; here "Solo" and "Friends" are the standout songs.
Sandy rejoined Fairport Convention after that album. She did one studio-abum and a live album with them this time. I was fortunate to see them here in Denmark a couple of times: they were great and really big time at that point. Swarbrick, Mattacks, Donahue, Pegg, Lucas and of course Sandy - terrific.
Here are included two demos for the Fairport Convention album "Rising for the Moon". Both very strong. "Stranger to Himself" and "One More Chance", both highlights on the Fairport album which also includes classics like "White Dress" and "What is True"; and of course the glorious title track. If you want these songs go for the original Fairport Convention album.
Sandy recorded only one more solo-album "Rendezvous" which was released in 1977, some of the best songs from that album are included here. "One Way Donkey Ride" and "I Am a Dreamer" are standouts.
This CD is highly recommendable!