Sandy Denny Ė Under
C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: D†††† Main Program: A
the British documentary series Under Review is good for nothing more than
shining a much needed light upon the countless sadly underappreciated artists
in the pantheon of pop music, then it still provides a woefully needed
service.† Once again Under Review takes up the challenge of thoughtfully and critically
appraising an artist whose name you may be more familiar with than said
artistís actual work.† This time around
Sandy Denny is given the overdue star treatment she so richly deserved.
an apocryphal story I had once heard that goes like this: A post-Yardbirds
Jimmy Page is putting together a new combo, a band thatíll take blues rock to
the next inevitable level of heaviness and crazed rawking intensity.† He knows exactly who should front the band, a
singer with pipes thatíd make any blues belter go jade with spiteful envy, but
whose roots crawl deep down into the bone-ridden British loam; a faerie-eyed
folketeer with long blonde tresses who commands the stage and owns audiences.
weíre talking about Sandy Denny here and not Robert Plant.† All praise to the big honeydripper, but
listening to Sandy Denny, particularly her incredible work with Fairport
Convention, I canít help kind of believing Led Zep was designed to be her
band.† The fact that Denny is the only
artist to ever guest on a Zep record, thatís her singing on Battle of Evermore,
certainly lends a pinch of veracity to the tale.† True or not itís certainly a pretty dream.
British critics are once again on board and joined by Dennyís former band mates
to delineate her career.† All agree she
should have been a huge star.† After all,
Robert Plant was basically doing his best Sandy Denny impression and look how
far his career went.† Unfortunately,
Sandy never really broke out.† As an
artist she preferred being a member of a band, rather than have the spotlight
solely on her. Fairport Convention and Fotheringay were her preferred venues,
but the record company pushed her to be a solo star.
recorded four solo albums, two of which, Sandy and Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz,
are brilliant end to end.† Sadly, she
died in 1978.† Once voted the #1 British
female singer in the pop press Sandy Dennyís work is now heard by far too few.
With luck this doc will inspire more to give a listen to this truly great
-†† Kristofer Collins
Collins is an editor at The New Yinzer and owner of Desolation Row CDs in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.† You can
contact him at: