Vashti Bunyan

Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind: Singles and Demos 1964-1967

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Vashti Bunyan will always be most known for her 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, a big cult favorite among some folk-rock fans, and her 2005 comeback Lookaftering. She did, however, release a couple obscure singles in the mid-'60s, as well as doing quite a few unreleased studio and demo recordings around the same time. This 25-track collection couldn't be bettered as a thorough sweep of her material from this era, including both sides of her two mid-'60s 45s; three tracks from singles that went unreleased; demos and tapes from 1966-1967; and a good dozen tracks from a 1964 tape that Bunyan found in her brother's attic decades later. As interesting as these are to Bunyan fans, it does show a talent that's still in fairly embryonic shape. The mid-'60s singles (released and otherwise) are quite reminiscent of Marianne Faithfull's orchestrated pop-folk recordings from the same era, yet even wispier and more precious. The similarity can't help but be accentuated by the choice of an unreleased Mick Jagger-Keith Richards composition ("Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind") as her 1965 debut 45, just as Faithfull had debuted with another Rolling Stones offering, "As Tears Go By." Some Phil Spector influence gets poured into the production on "Coldest Night of the Year," done with fellow Andrew Loog Oldham clients Twice as Much. A folkier approach is taken on the unreleased 1966-1967 demos and tapes that feature just her voice and acoustic guitar, though the songs likely would have also ended up in a Baroque pop-folk bag had they been produced for official release. "I'd Like to Walk Around in Your Mind" and "17 Pink Sugar Elephants" show her drifting toward more unusual and fanciful lyrics, though the oddest tune, "Don't Believe," sounds almost like it could have been a demo targeted toward Herman's Hermits in its skipalong jauntiness. The dozen voice-and-acoustic-guitar songs from the 1964 tape (lasting only 23 minutes in all) are even barer than the 1966-1967 demos, and yet more subdued and fragile-sounding, bringing to mind a young melancholic girl singing to herself in a tiny bed sit on a cloudy London day. The roots of the pastoral delicacy of Just Another Diamond Day are obvious throughout this disc, but Bunyan's personality has yet to come through as strongly, and much of the material here is a little rudimentary in comparison.

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