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Episode 125 : Vashti Bunyan on Wayward + Nick Drake + Joe Boyd audio

19 April 2022

In this episode we welcome the wonderful Vashti Bunyan — all the way from her home in Edinburgh — and ask her about her magical music and the remarkable memoir she's just published.

The "freak folk" legend — though she strongly disavows the "folk" tag — begins by talking of her early musical memories, among them meeting an unhappy Cliff Richard backstage in Blackpool in 1961. She describes her dream of becoming a pop singer in mid-'60s London, and how that led her to the Mayfair office of Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Briefly and unhappily typecast as "a dark-haired Marianne Faithfull", she recalls the session for the Jagger-Richards song 'Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind', backed up in the studio by Jimmy Page & Nicky Hopkins.

Vashti explains how she felt equally adrift in the world of folk, eventually dropping out of the London music scene to travel to the Outer Hebrides in a horse-drawn wagon. This is the journey she writes about so vividly in Wayward, leading circuitously to Joe Boyd producing her 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day. After a discussion of that exquisite record, she talks about why she neither wrote nor sang another song for 30 years… then admits how much it meant when younger admirers like Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart discovered the album in 2000, subsequently appearing on her Lookaftering (2005) and Heartleap (2014).

With Nick Drake's final album Pink Moon turning 50 this year, we take Vashti back to the awkward afternoon she spent trying to write a song with him after Joe Boyd had introduced them. Along the way we hear clips of Joe speaking to Gerrie Lim about Nick's guitar playing and "romantic doom" in 1994.

After paying our respects to Saints frontman Chris Bailey, we touch on highlights among the 120+ articles just added to the RBP library, including pieces about Charles Mingus (1962), Dusty in Memphis (1969), the Smiths (1987) and Fatboy Slim (1997). Jasper's selection of a recent Michael McDonald interview gives us the perfect excuse to explain to Vashti what "Yacht Rock" is… after which we hear a final clip from the Boyd interview.

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Vashti Bunyan; Wayward is published by White Rabbit and available now. You can visit Vashti's website at anotherday.co.uk.