Sandy Denny

The North Star Grassman and The Ravens - Island 1971

Tracks: 1. Late November / 2. Blackwaterside / 3. The Sea Captain / 4. Down In The Flood / 5. John The Gun / 6. Next Time Around / 7. The Optimist / 8. Lets Jump The Broomstick / 9. Wretched Wilbur / 10. The North Star Grassman And The Ravens / 11. Crazy Lady Blues


Sandy Denny's first solo album was recorded shortly after she had disbanded her group Fotheringay in late 1970. All Fotheringay members were present at the recordings of Sandy's album, so it's no surprise that quite many songs sound like Fotheringay. The opening song "Late November" was actually intended for a second Fotheringay album, that was never finished. Fotheringay did record the song and that version is included among the bonus-tracks. Though only one song , the great "Blackwaterside", is a traditional folk-song, there is a very folkish feel to many of Sandy's own songs. Especially on "John the Gun" and the title track.

Other songs are quite complicated, both musically and lyrically ( her lyrics at times are pretty cryptic ). "Next Time Around", "The Optimist" and "Wretched Wilbur" may be the easiest songs to get into, but eventually they are bound to grow on you.

Two tracks "Down in the Flood" and "Let's Jump the Broomstick" ( and 2 more among the bonus-tracks ) are rockers a little in the same vein as the "Bunch" project recorded in early 1972 with most of the same people, who are backing Sandy on this album. Among them the outstanding guitarist and song-writer Richard Thompson. Though the album may sound slightly more dated than her other solo-albums, it's still a great album.

My favourites are "Blackwaterside", "Wretched Wilbur", "Crazy Lady Blues" and both versions of "Late November"

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