Sandy Denny - 19 Rupert St
An air of almost religious reverence now surrounds folk songstress Sandy Denny, helped in part due to her untimely and tragically young death in 1978, but in large because of her heartbreakingly pure and beautiful English voice; as a consequence, there is a market for every note she sang, with little care for quality or artistic discretion. As if last year's mammoth nineteen disc collective wasn't enough, more home recordings and otherwise hidden pieces continue to emerge, being thrust into the public domain at the earliest opportunity; I am a huge fan of this most wonderful of singers, but I also hold huge reservations about the disclosure of every last scrap, so came at this recent discovery with a good deal of trepidation.
19 Rupert Street, recorded at said address in Glasgow with Alex Campbell in 1967 just as Sandy was coming to prominence, would not see the light of day save for her legendary status, being as it is a few friends messing around late one night with the results recorded on a quarter track tape using a couple of microphones. Despite the best efforts of Strawbs' Dave Cousins and the combined technological prowess of Abbey Road and Chris Tsangarides, it still sounds like the home recordings it is, with a tinny and muffled quality that would normally keep it as a box set bonus somewhere around disc three. No matter how good the material is, and at times they are magnificent here, the raw quality will always undermine the finished product.
But the album is not without merit, capturing as it does Sandy at her most relaxed, laughing and joking with her fellow players in between (and occasionally during) the morose folk and blues tales they so expertly weave. And there are some fine gems buried inside, including a tear-jerking version of John Martyn's 'Fairy Tale Lullaby' and a gorgeous rendition of the traditional 'She Moves Through The Fair', later to be done "properly" with Fairport Convention. 19 Rupert Street is only really for the diehard Sandy Denny fans who have to have absolutely everything, given that it is nothing more than a curio that in truth was never intended nor ready for public consumption.