Thursday, 21 August 2014

"Sandy" by SANDY DENNY (2005 Island Remasters 'Expanded Edition' Single-Disc Version - Denis Blackham CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


Sandy Denny’s 1971 debut album “The North Star Grassman And The Ravens” was a patchy start (moments of brilliance with others that just didn't work) – but her second outing simply called "Sandy" emblazoned her lovely music into music-loving hearts like nothing before. A Folk-Rock masterpiece – it’s been revered ever since. Which brings us to this gorgeous sounding CD - part of a whole 2005 'Fairport Convention and their Solo Acts' reissue campaign from Island Records through Universal (Sandy Denny, Richard and Linda Thompson, Fairport Convention etc). Here are the lonesome details...

UK released May 2005 - "Sandy" by SANDY DENNY on Island Remasters IMCD 314 (Barcode 602498280225) is a single-disc 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster that comes with five Bonus Tracks and breaks down as follows (64:49 minutes):

1. It’ll Take A Long Time
2. Sweet Rosemary
3. For Nobody To Hear
4. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
5. Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood
6. Listen, Listen [Side 2]
7. The Lady
8. Bushes And Briars
9. It Suits Me Well
10. The Music Weaver
Tracks 1 to 10 are her 2nd solo album “Sandy” – released September 1972 in the UK on Island ILPS 9207 and in the USA on A&M Records SP 4371.

11. Here Is Silence
12. Man Of Iron
Tracks 11 ands 12 were the A&B-sides of a rare UK 7” single on Island WIP 6141 issued in September 1972 (both tracks from the film “Pass Of Arms”). The uber rare picture sleeve original copies came in (booked in the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2014 at £40 - but I’ve never seen a copy in over 40 years) is pictured on Page 5 of the booklet. 
13. Sweet Rosemary (Demo) - first issued on the “A Boxful of Treasures” Box Set in 2004
14. Ecoute, Ecoute - a French language version of “Listen, Listen” prepared for single release – its first CD appearance came on the “The Attic Tracks 1972-1984” compilation in 1995
15. I’ll Take A Long Time - a live version with Fairport Convention recorded February 1974 in Los Angeles – first appeared on “A Boxful Of Treasures”

As do all four of the albums in this Sandy Denny Island Records output - it comes in a fetching outer card wrap (slipcase) and the 12-page booklet features original artwork, lyrics, photographs and liner notes by expert and long-time devotee DAVID SUFF (of Fledgling Records). It’s tastefully done and the DENIS BLACKHAM remaster from original master tapes is truly gorgeous – warm, atmospheric and full of presence.

It opens on a double-whammy of lovely British Folk-Rock – “It’ll Take A Long Time” and “Rosemary” – both sweet as a nut. A clunker for me has always been the ill-advised rock of “For Nobody To Hear” but that gives way to the Dylan classic “Tomorrow Is A Long Time” with a country lilt. Side 1 of the original album ends on pure magic – an Acapella version of a Traditional made famous by American Folk troubadour Richard Farina called “Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood”. It’s just gorgeous and the remaster clarity is truly startling – ending with the most beautiful Dave Swarbrick violin solo that comes at you like a mist rolling in from the sea in the morning.

Side 2 opens with a personal favourite – the wonderful Denny original “Listen, Listen” (lyrics from it title this review). It’s a swirling ballad that never ceases to reduce me to mush. Island UK even issued it as a 7” single in September 1972 on WIP 6142 with “Tomorrow Is A long Time” as its flipside but it didn’t bother the charts (neither did the album). “The Lady” is also gorgeous – contrasting starkly with what preceded by virtue of its melancholy piano and elegant strings (arranged by harry Robinson). “Bushes And Briars” was chosen to represent the album on the stunning 2009 3CD Box Set “Meet On The Ledge – Island Folk-Rock” – and it’s easy to hear why – Richard Thompson’s lovely electric guitar swirling like a dance behind the vocals. The album ends on two sweet ballads – homages to the sea and wandering – “It Suits Me Well” and “The Music Weaver”.
The piano and string arrangements on “Weaver’ give it an epic quality – breathlessly beautiful stuff.

We would lose her in 1978 aged only 31. I remember meeting John Walters when I was working at Reckless (he was John Peel’s legendary producer) and we were in a pub discussing gigs he’d seen that blew his mind (and Peel’s). He was told by Bernie Andrews (another legendary BBC producer) to go see this young girl in a bar he’d heard about that was causing a stir – it was Sandy Denny before she’d joined the ranks of Fairport Convention. The purity of her English Folk voice left him shaking and stunned. I can still see his smile to this day and the memory of it etched into his face.

It’s nice to know that all their memories are given a Folky Royal nod by this fab little reissue…

PS: There’s a subsequent 2012 2-CD Deluxe Edition of “Sandy” with a second 18-track disc of Demos and Live Stuff

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