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Sandy Denny: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens

Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages, March 2005

TO BILLY CONNOLLY she was "one of the angriest women I ever met", while Island press officer David Sandison recalled her as a "belligerent and argumentative" drunk. Yet Sandy Denny was also Robert Plant’s "favourite singer out of all the British girls that ever were", recruited as a result to duet with him on Led Zeppelin’s epic ‘Battle of Evermore’. Denny’s 1971 solo debut, produced by Richard Thompson, is patchy but redeemed by the wondrous opener ‘Late November’, the harrowingly sad ‘Next Time Around’ (a homage to equally tragic folk legend Jackson C. Frank), and a brooding take on the traditional ‘Blackwaterside’. Bonus tracks include an alternate mix of ‘November’ and a strings-free ‘Next Time Around’. A singer and songwriter of heart-piercing genius.

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