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Sandy Denny|The North Star Grassman and The Ravens (Deluxe Edition)

The North Star Grassman and The Ravens (Deluxe Edition)

Sandy Denny

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Langue disponible : anglais

One could argue Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention at just the right time -- her final album with the group, 1969's Liege & Lief, was both a masterpiece and a millstone, a brilliant work they would never top -- but her instincts were not as keen in terms of launching her solo career. Denny not unreasonably wanted a showcase for her own songwriting, but after leaving Fairport she opted to join Fotheringay, a talented folk-rock band but one that was neither as interesting nor as visionary as Fairport. Fotheringay splintered during the recording of their second LP, and Denny seemed to still be finding her footing as she set out to make her first solo album. The North Star Grassman and the Ravens was co-produced by Denny, fellow Fairport alumnus Richard Thompson and John Wood, and the interplay between Denny's vocals and Thompson's understated but striking lead guitar work is one of the best things about the record. With a gifted crew of U.K. folk-rockers backing her up, the sessions confirmed that Denny was still one of the most gifted and thoughtful vocalists to emerge from the British folk community, and she was also a talent to be reckoned with as a songwriter: "John the Gun," "Late November," and the title tune are only a little short of brilliant. But as good as the original songs were, and as compelling as Denny's vocals may have been, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens feels tentative and uneven. While Denny had the strength to do rock-oriented material, the covers of Bob Dylan's "Down in the Flood" and Brenda Lee's "Let's Jump the Broomstick" sound sloppy and meandering, and as sympathetic and expert as the production may be, the deference to Denny's vocals leaves the music a bit pale in comparison, while most of the tracks lack the personality they deserve. By any standards, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens is a fine album full of great songs and inspired vocal performances, but considering the excellence of Denny's music in Fairport Convention, it was a genuine disappointment, and seems pale in comparison to her next two solo efforts, Sandy and Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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The North Star Grassman and The Ravens (Deluxe Edition)

Sandy Denny

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1
Late November
00:04:31

Richard Thompson, Producer - Harry Robinson, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

2
Blackwaterside
00:04:12

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

3
The Sea Captain
00:03:09

Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

4
Down In The Flood
00:03:19

Bob Dylan, ComposerLyricist - Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

5
John The Gun
00:04:37

Gerry Conway, Arranger, Work Arranger - Pat Donaldson, Arranger, Work Arranger - Richard Thompson, Producer - Harry Robinson, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Sandy Denny, Producer, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jerry Donahue, Arranger, Work Arranger - Trevor Lucas, Arranger, Work Arranger - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

6
Next Time Around
00:04:24

Richard Thompson, Producer - Harry Robinson, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

7
The Optimist
00:03:25

Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

8
Let's Jump The Broomstick
00:02:43

Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist - Charles Robbins, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

9
Wretched Wilbur
00:02:36

Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

10
The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
00:03:29

Richard Thompson, Producer - Harry Robinson, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

11
Crazy Lady Blues
00:03:24

Richard Thompson, Producer - Sandy Denny, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - John M. Wood, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1971 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

12
Next Time Around (Demo)
00:05:04

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

13
Walking The Floor Over You (Duet)
00:05:08

Richard Thompson, MainArtist - Sandy Denny, MainArtist - Ernest Tubb, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

14
Lord Bateman (Instrumental)
00:04:26

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Sandy Denny, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist

℗ 2011 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

15
If You Saw Thru My Eyes
00:02:37

Ian Matthews, ComposerLyricist - Sandy Denny, MainArtist

℗ 2010 Mercury Records Limited

DISQUE 2

1
The Sea Captain (Demo)
00:03:13

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

2
The Optimist (Demo)
00:04:30

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Batt, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

3
Wretched Wilbur (Demo)
00:02:36

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Batt, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

4
Crazy Lady Blues (Demo)
00:03:31

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

5
Lord Bateman
00:06:13

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Sandy Denny, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist

℗ 2010 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

6
Late November (BBC Session - Bob Harris 24/8/71)
00:05:09

Sandy Denny, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1997 BBC

7
The Lowlands Of Holland (BBC Session - Bob Harris 24/8/71)
00:03:16

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Gerry Conway, Arranger, Work Arranger - Pat Donaldson, Arranger, Work Arranger - Sandy Denny, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist - Jerry Donahue, Arranger, Work Arranger - Trevor Lucas, Arranger, Work Arranger

℗ 1997 BBC

8
Blackwaterside (BBC In Concert - Paris Theatre 16/3/72)
00:03:37

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Sandy Denny, Arranger, Work Arranger, MainArtist

℗ 1997 BBC

9
The North Star Grassman And The Ravens (Live At BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London / 1972)
00:03:43

Sandy Denny, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1997 BBC

10
Bruton Town (BBC In Concert - Paris Theatre 16/3/72)
00:04:44

Traditional, ComposerLyricist - Sandy Denny, MainArtist

℗ 2007 BBC

11
Next Time Around (Live At BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London / 1972)
00:04:43

Sandy Denny, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1997 BBC

12
John The Gun (Live At BBC In Concert, Paris Theatre, London / 1972)
00:03:15

Gerry Conway, Arranger, Work Arranger - Pat Donaldson, Arranger, Work Arranger - Sandy Denny, Arranger, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Work Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jerry Donahue, Arranger, Work Arranger - Trevor Lucas, Arranger, Work Arranger

℗ 1997 BBC

Descriptif de l'album

One could argue Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention at just the right time -- her final album with the group, 1969's Liege & Lief, was both a masterpiece and a millstone, a brilliant work they would never top -- but her instincts were not as keen in terms of launching her solo career. Denny not unreasonably wanted a showcase for her own songwriting, but after leaving Fairport she opted to join Fotheringay, a talented folk-rock band but one that was neither as interesting nor as visionary as Fairport. Fotheringay splintered during the recording of their second LP, and Denny seemed to still be finding her footing as she set out to make her first solo album. The North Star Grassman and the Ravens was co-produced by Denny, fellow Fairport alumnus Richard Thompson and John Wood, and the interplay between Denny's vocals and Thompson's understated but striking lead guitar work is one of the best things about the record. With a gifted crew of U.K. folk-rockers backing her up, the sessions confirmed that Denny was still one of the most gifted and thoughtful vocalists to emerge from the British folk community, and she was also a talent to be reckoned with as a songwriter: "John the Gun," "Late November," and the title tune are only a little short of brilliant. But as good as the original songs were, and as compelling as Denny's vocals may have been, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens feels tentative and uneven. While Denny had the strength to do rock-oriented material, the covers of Bob Dylan's "Down in the Flood" and Brenda Lee's "Let's Jump the Broomstick" sound sloppy and meandering, and as sympathetic and expert as the production may be, the deference to Denny's vocals leaves the music a bit pale in comparison, while most of the tracks lack the personality they deserve. By any standards, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens is a fine album full of great songs and inspired vocal performances, but considering the excellence of Denny's music in Fairport Convention, it was a genuine disappointment, and seems pale in comparison to her next two solo efforts, Sandy and Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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