I write about songs.

Archive for the ‘Sandy Denny’ Category

Sandy Denny, “The North Star Grassman and the Ravens”

The Dolly Mixture box set arrived safe and sound, and it’s everything (and more) that I hoped it would be. And just when I thought I would never want for another consumer item ever again, I came across the announcement that early October will bring … I can barely get the words out, this is so immense … a 19-CD Sandy Denny box. That’s right, 19 CDs. Basically, it will contain every note that the singer ever recorded.

Sandy Denny was one of the leaders of the British folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s—the era of Nick Drake, for context. She’s probably best known as a member of Fairport Convention, the group at the center of this scene, but she also recorded four solo albums, played in a short-lived but great band called Fotheringay (named after the castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned), and worked with a few other groups. I don’t think she ever found much of an audience here in the States—too English and woodsy—though generations of American teenagers know her as the lady who sang accompanying vocals on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore.” Like everybody back then, she drank a lot, and died tragically in 1978, at the age of 31, of a head injury after falling down a flight of stairs.

The box set will contain all of her studio work with all her bands, countless demo versions (some of her later stuff is a little thickly produced, so more spare versions of these songs will be welcome), and a bunch of other rare and unreleased stuff. I mean, 19 CDs is a lot of CDs to fill. Of course, it’s a total budget-buster. Amazon UK has it listed for 150 pounds sterling, which translates to about $225, plus shipping overseas. And how high is the risk that the box might get squished on the transatlantic voyage? I would say pretty high. I was even thinking this morning, while vacuuming, that maybe I should order it with gift wrap, to give it an extra layer of protection. Either way, this will definitely be the most that I’ve ever spent on a single musical product, and I’m going to have to defer some of the monthly book and CD allowance so I’ll have enough doss when October comes along. (It’s not like I don’t have enough books and CDs to keep me occupied in the meantime.) I hope this clip, from a BBC TV show, gives you some idea of why I think her voice so entrancing.

Written by peterterzian

July 30, 2010 at 10:03 am

Posted in Sandy Denny


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.