Sandy Denny’s life was tragically cut short in 1978 aged only 31 yet in her short time on this planet she managed to create a legacy for herself that is nothing short of brilliant. This exhaustive 19 CD boxset is a stunning archive that provides a fitting legacy to a voice that comes around once in a generation.
The first eleven discs pull together Sandy's complete commercial recordings, from her early work with Alex Campbell, right through her most famous outings with folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention to her solo releases. Although familiar to anyone with any interest in folk music these recordings plot a bewitching path through a remarkable career.
The final eight discs are a treasure trove of over 100 unreleased songs and is where the hardened fan is likely to spend most of their time. Probably the pick of the bunch is the first outing for Fairport Convention Live at the LA Troubadour in 1974 that, amongst others, showcases a haunting take on Bob Dylan’s ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’. There are plenty of other highlights scattered around the set with the long lost demo of the traditional ‘Lord Bateman’, shorn of any accompaniment, providing more evidence, if it were needed, of the sheer power and brilliance of Denny’s voice. As you move through the final disc of her home demos you can’t help but notice an increasingly melancholic tone to much of the material on show and this reaches its peak on 'Makes Me Think of You'. The downbeat delivery and lyrics seem to forewarn of the tragedy to come and, as such, provides a fittingly poignant finale.
The size and/or cost of this set may be a little daunting but if you do take the plunge then you will be rewarded with a collection of music from one of the great voices of the 20th century that will provide countless days, nay weeks, of entertainment.