A homage to tragic Sandy Denny comes to the Dome
When artists die young, their oeuvre and image are forever burnished within our sub-consciousness, our memories never to be tarnished by poor recordings or the inevitable ageing process. Hence, the continued deification of Sandy Denny who died aged 31, a woman who endured a torrid last couple of years which included the birth of her only child just a few months before.
Sandy Denny suffered a cerebral haemorrhage from tumbling down the stairs of her parents’ home in Cornwall in 1978, but even then she was indubitably the First Lady of modern British folk music. The week she died, Kate Bush, then hurtling up the charts with her debut single, ‘Wuthering Heights’, had cited Denny as a formative influence and even name-checked her on the album Never for Ever.
Her career really took off when she took over singing duties for Fairport Convention in 1968, the most famous British folk-rock outfit, and even though she was with the group for 18 months, in that time she sang on three of the best albums; What We Did On Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking and their most famous album Liege and Lief.
She then formed Fotheringay and released one album, before embarking on a solo career, as well as a turn as guest vocalist on Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Battle of Evermore’. Released on Island, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Sandy, Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz and Rendezvous generally combine Denny’s first love of folk with forays into pop and rock, and while patchy affairs, still demonstrate her ability to write outstanding songs to go with that incredible voice. And so Denny’s legacy lives on, gaining momentum particularly in this folk-friendly era we live in.
This festival exclusive will feature members of Bellowhead, Maddy Prior, Thae Gilmore, Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), Jerry Donohue, Dave Swarbrick, Lavinia Blackwell, Blair Dunlop, Sam Carter, PP Arnold and others, performing songs form Denny’s career, as well as a number of songs that Thea Gilmore was commissioned by Sandy’s estate to write melodies for – to unrecorded lyrics, that were found in Sandy’s paperwork, and which appeared on Gilmore’s Don’t Stop Singing album last year.
The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny, Brighton Dome, Mon 21 May, 8pm, £22.50–£10