Sandy Denny

Like an Oldfashioned Waltz - Island 1973

Tracks: 1. Solo / 2. Like an Old Fashioned Waltz / 3. Whispering Grass / 4. Friends / 5. Carnival / 6. Dark the Night / 7. At the End of the Day / 8. Until the Real Thing Comes Along / 9. No End


This was Sandy Denny's third solo-album. On her second album, the much acclaimed "Sandy", she had begun a slow departure from her folk-music roots. On this album you probably would not have thought of there being any folk-roots at all, if it had not been for her backing band consisting of people with strong roots in Britsih folk-rock - people like Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Jerry Donahue, Gerry Conway, Pat Donaldson and several more.

Sandy and her husband/producer Trevor Lucas were seeking a broader approach with a wider range of styles, using heavier production; often with use of strings; which some people thought a progress, and other people hated.

The opener, the gorgeous "Solo" is one of Sandy's very best songs ( I would buy the album for that song alone ). The nostalgic title-track is almost as strong, in spite of a quite unrestrained use of strings. The bonus-track version proves the use strings quite unnecessary.

Her covers of two old romantic jazz-ballads, "Whispering Grass" and "Until the Real Things Comes Along" are actually quite good, though some people find them out of place on a Sandy Denny album.

"Friends" is another highlight on the album - a classic Sandy Denny song; according to the liner notes on the "No More Sad Refrains" anthology, the lyrics were written about Pete Townshend; not a very flattering picture drawn of him there. "Carnival" is a tune in the same vein as "Friends" - though darker and not quite as melodic.

"Dark the Night" is a light tune, but with dark lyrics. "I'm not good at singing happy songs", I believe Sandy stated at a certain point. "At the End of the Day" has such a beautiful melody line, and possibly her ultimate love song. The bonus-track version with no strings is my favourite. The closing track "No End" with its strange, but thought-provoking lyrics, gives the album the perfect end.

"King and Queen of England" is an outtake from the sessions, but was probably thought not strong enough when the final track-listing was to be made. I think I'll agree to that, though some might have preferred it to one of her jazz-covers.

In spite of some flaws ( too much strings ) the album as a whole is her most consistent and enduring, with Denny on top in her song-writing.

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