Review Archive

‘Sandy’ and ‘Rendezvous’ – deluxe two-disc editions remember Sandy Denny

(May 23, 2012)

Folk archivists, ardent folkies and impassioned Sandy Denny fans take note - there's a special releaseSandy of Sandy Denny’s last three solo albums on Island Records. They represent milestones of British folk rock and its evolution. Reminiscent of their time they provide a reflective view of a legendary folk voice. Their release coincides with a tribute tour ‘The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny’ featuring folk icons such as Maddy Prior, Jerry Donahue and Dave Swarbrick.

The collection includes ‘Sandy’, originally released in September 1972, ‘Like an Old Fashioned Waltz’ from June 1974 and ‘Rendezvous’ from May 1977. Since her death in April 1978, her reputation has grown, and despite the sugar-sweet view that the early loss of fine talent often prompts, Sandy remains widely regarded as one of our finest female folk singers. The albums reviewed here are ‘Sandy’ and ‘Rendezvous’ - sumptuously packaged in deluxe gatefold, two-disc editions with comprehensive sleeve notes and booklet. They reveal a host of bonus tracks (some of them slightly flawed but gems all the same) that include originals, unreleased cuts, studio demos, alternate takes and live recordings, all with contributions from outstanding musicians - and of course Sandy’s vocals.

‘Sandy’ - arguably the best and most folk inspired of her solo albums, blends sparkling self-penned compositions with the folk tradition. There’s the brass-edged intensity of ‘For Nobody to Hear’, the Rendezvouslingering sadness of ‘It’ll Take A Long Time’, and the wistful ‘Listen, Listen’. There’s a nod to tradition with three outings and delectable versions of ‘The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood’ and her own song ‘It Suits Me Well’ (album, demo and live versions) and were that insufficient there are some hitherto unheard live tracks to enjoy.

The step-change evident in ‘Like an Old Fashioned Waltz’ expanded greatly with ‘Rendezvous’ - much as it did on the original album, with numerous ‘folk feelings’ alienated by more commercially-orientated, tightly-produced folk-pop tracks such as ‘Take Me Away’ and ‘For Shame of Doing Wrong’. The album also offers a couple of ‘how-it-could-have-been’ versions of ‘Candle In The Wind’ (original album and acoustic) and no less than three versions (album, demo and live) of the simply beautiful ‘No More Sad Refrains’, plus two outings for the lavish ‘I Wish I Was A Fool For You’.

Wherever your passions lie - die-hard Sandy Denny fan, lover of seventies British folk rock, dedicated folk aficionado or an inquisitive collector of variations-on-a-theme - these two probably fall into the ‘required ownership’ category. There’s familiar, the different and the unheard.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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