Sandy Denny

Dark the Night

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Excellent not just by bootleg standards, but by any standards, this 73-minute disc assembles unreleased demos and BBC sessions from 1966, 1972, and 1973. Two BBC performances from 1966, and seven demos from the same year, show Denny at her purest and most traditional, her voice accompanied only by acoustic guitar. These early cuts are similar to the obscure Original Sandy Denny album (also recorded around 1966) in showcasing her amazing high, soaring vocals on a mixture of traditional material and contemporary folk songs. What's more, the sound quality is excellent, at least as good as the official Original Sandy Denny; only one song from that album is also performed on this disc, which also includes Denny covering unexpected tunes like Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe," and cult folkie Jackson C. Frank's "Blues Run the Game." The 1972-73 BBC sessions, in stellar quality, feature Denny originals from the period, and a couple of jazz/pop covers with basic, straightforward arrangements. As Denny's solo albums often suffered from over-production, these performances actually benefit from the sparseness. Closing the CD are two odd but atmospheric pieces from the obscure 1972 soundtrack Pass of Arms. It might not be that easy for everyone to find, but Sandy Denny fans need this disc -- it not only fills in important gaps, but stands up well against her best solo releases.