Wednesday, April 11, 2007

She's Just Gone Solo

All kidding aside, there are times when I find myself thinking that the late Sandy Denny was the greatest girl singer in history. Certainly, nobody else has ever been able to go from heartbreakingly vulnerable to pin-you-against-the-wall regal within the space of a single line like her.

I have a regrettable tendency to throw the word "goddess" around promiscuously, but Denny was the real deal. The sad thing is that had she been a teeny bit more conventionally attractive -- by which I mean skinny -- she would have been a superstar on the order of Linda Ronstadt.

These dark musings were inspired by stumbling across the following video on YouTube the other night. It's pretty much her signature song (of the autobiographical variety) and it's a document from a 1974 small club tour she did with a particularly nice incarnation of Fairport Convention; the lineup is the three Daves (Pegg. Swarbrick and Mattacks), plus her hubby Trevor Lucas and the brilliant guitarist Jerry Donahue.

I saw a show on the tour from pretty much the same audience perspective as whoever shot this clip, and I must say that seeing this after all the years was a moment beyond Proustian.

BTW, if you have the disposable income, there's a 3 CD Denny box set you really need to get, if only for the spine-tingling duet version of the Everly's "When Will I Be Loved" with Linda Thompson. As Cameron Crowe famously said of something else, you still can't buy a better album.

Update: One of the saddest things about Denny's way-too-early death in 1977 was that she had a barely seven month old daughter. Hubby Lucas died of a heart attack in 1989, and I'd always wondered what happened to the kid. I'm happy to report that a Google search just turned up the fact that Georgia Lucas gave birth to Sandy's grandchildren -- two beautiful twins, apparently -- in 2001.


NYMary said...

Oh, steve, you know just how to poke my closet folkie!

steve simels said...

I get all weepy just thinking about her.

She had a baby daughter when she died four years after this clip. Fell down a flight of staris, apparently high, and cracked her skull.

Hubby had a heart attack and died in 89.

I wonder what happened to the kid....

NYMary said...

Steve, I did find this.

NYMary said...

And she accepted an award from her mom in 2006.

Philip Ward said...

Well said, Steve. Try my Sandy blog at