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Sandy Denny Special Edition Vinyl Reissues Released

Nov 11, 2022

Proper Records, in collaboration with UMC, have made available again the four solo albums from the much-loved and greatly missed Sandy Denny. Originally released by the label between 1971 and 1977, these records – The North Star Grass Man And The Ravens, Sandy, Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz and Rendezvous – are central to British roots music.

Known for her time as vocalist in Fairport Convention and respected globally as Robert Plant’s first Alison Krauss (duetting with him on Led Zeppelin’s The Battle Of Evermore), Sandy Denny left a beguiling, ever-evolving body of work. Kate Bush was to namecheck her in song, and Denny’s influence can be heard in generations of singer-songwriters.

After leaving Fairport Convention in late 1969, Sandy Denny formed Fotheringay with husband Trevor Lucas. After one UK Top 20 LP in summer 1970, the band split while recording a follow up, leaving Denny free to make her first solo album. A beguiling mixture of covers and originals, The North Star Grass Man And The Ravens is one of THE essential British folk-rock albums. From the dreamlike Late November to the plaintive Next Time Around to her reading of the traditional standard Blackwaterside, the album is a near perfect capture of the talent on the scene at that juncture: including Richard Thompson’s unmistakable guitar playing, John Wood’s production and Harry Robinson’s string arrangements. Released in September 1971, it would be Denny’s lone UK Top 50 album success. Its reputation has understandably grown exponentially over the years.

From its David Bailey cover photo inwards, the following year’s Sandy is arguably the definitive Sandy Denny album. Recorded again at John Wood’s Sound Techniques studio, and produced by Trevor Lucas, it adds some special guests into its mix – ‘Sneaky’ Pete Kleinow from The Flying Burrito Brothers enhances It’ll Take A Long Time with his unmistakable pedal steel playing, and New Orleans legend Allan Toussaint adds a brass arrangement to For Nobody To Hear. But it is Denny’s album. Often, it is impossible not be stopped in your tracks by that beautiful, long gone yet so-full-of-life voice, especially on two of her career-bests – The Lady and Listen, Listen.

“She was able to go from a very deep point in a song to this beautiful falsetto, this high pitch where she has got absolutely total control.”
Robert Plant

Although recorded throughout the previous year, Like An Old Fashioned Waltz was released in early 1974, soon after Denny had re-joined Fairport Convention. An unashamedly romantic, sentimental album, it contains her much loved tracks Solo and No End, and a rollicking version of Fats Waller’s Until The Real Thing Comes Along with Diz Disley on guitar, Danny Thompson on bass and Tony Coe on sax. The other cover on the album was that of the Inkspots’ Whispering Grass which emphasised Like An Old Fashioned Waltz’s warm autumnal nostalgia.

From the power chords that open it, 1977’s Rendezvous aimed squarely at giving Denny her commercial breakthrough. It demonstrates an artist evolving. Gold Dust really underlines how Denny could be viewed as the British Joni Mitchell, and its late-night jazz funk backing (with Steve Winwood on clavinet) offers a beguiling glimpse of where Denny may have travelled next. Rendezvous closes with No More Sad Refrains, which updated her late 60s ballad style. As Denny died tragically young less than a year after the album’s release, it became a poignant full stop to such a promising career.

All four titles are presented with scrupulous attention to the detail of the original UK first pressings and available in audiophile 180gm vinyl. Whether replacing much-loved originals, or adding to a collection afresh, these are a superior way to enjoy such enduring and influential music.

Please visit www.propermusic.com/SandyDenny

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