Live At The BBC (3 CD + DVD)

Though regularly hailed as one of English music's finest voices, Sandy Denny's solo work has never quite enjoyed the sort of adulation that's heaped on her work with Fairport Convention, or even Fotheringay or The Strawbs (not to mention her cameo appearance with Led Zeppelin).

Maybe it's because her solo albums never quite delivered on their promise; though studded with great songs and performances, they were an uneven bunch, sometimes burdened with unsympathetic production and overcooked arrangements. In a way it's records like this one where Denny's talents are best displayed.

The early appearances here (from 1967) are probably best described as 'of historical interest', though Denny's bell-like voice could transform the most indifferent or derivative material even at this stage. Arguably it was after her first spell with Fairport that she found her way as a songwriter, giving the poetic, impressionistic confessionals of the Joni Mitchell school a distinctly English, unsentimental voice. The stripped down arrangements on these session and concert performances (most are played solo) allow the limpid, melancholy beauty of her songwriting to shine through. Several of these versions outstrip their studio counterparts easily. Even a wobbly lo-fi cassette recording of 'The North Star Grassman And The Ravens' is up there with the original.

The few tracks performed with a full band range from a stab at jazz to a rockin' version of 'Dark The Night' that sounds uncannily like All About Eve; evidence both of her eclecticism and the deep influence her work has had on a huge range of musicians since her death. Many of these performances have been made available before, but extras including a DVD comprising TV appearances and scans of Denny's notebooks make this an essential purchase for fans (along with The Boxful of Treasures set). Recommended. --Pete Marsh

  1. Fhir ir Bhata
  2. Green Grow The Laurels
  3. Hold On To Me Babe
  4. Blues Run The Game
  5. Late November
  6. The Optimist
  7. Crazy Lady Blues
  8. The Lowlands of Holland
  9. It Suits Me Well
  10. The Music Weaver
  11. Bushes And Briars
  12. It'll Take A Long Time
  13. Solo
  14. Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz
  15. Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
  16. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
  17. Whispering Grass
  18. Dark Of The Night
  19. Solo

Disc: 2

  1. Northstar Grassman And The Ravens
  2. Sweet Rosemary
  3. The Lady
  4. Bruton town
  5. Next Time Around
  6. Blackwaterside
  7. John The Gun
  8. The Lady
  9. Bushes And Briars
  10. It Suits Me Well
  11. Blackwaterside
  12. The Music Weaver
  13. The Sea Captain
  14. John The Gun
  15. Interview With Sandy Denny

Disc: 3

  1. The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
  2. Crazy Lady Blues
  3. Late November
  4. One In Ten:Sandy Denny 15/09/1971
  5. Bonus Material - Diaries, Photo Gallery & Discography

Disc: 4

  1. This Train
  2. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
  3. The Last Thing On My Mind
  4. You Never Wanted Me
  5. BBC World Service --/06/67
  6. Been On The Road So Long
  7. The Quiet Land Of Erin
  8. My Kind of Folk 26/06/68
  9. The Nightingales (duet with Mick Groves)
  10. Black Water Side (Richard Thompson guitar)
  11. Spinners TV show 22/4/71
  12. North Star Grassman & The Ravens
  13. Sounds of the 70s
  14. The Lady
  15. Itx{2019}ll Take A Long Time
  16. Old Grey Whistle Test TV 13/06/1972

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