The incredible English folk singer SANDY DENNY was the silky voice of FAIRPORT CONVENTION during their Liege and Lief emergence in 1968-9 – this was the album that launched folk rock and re-energated the English folk movement.
Lady Alexandra Elene MacLean Lucas [Sandy Denny] was also a proficient songwriter and pianist who worked with British folk band the Strawbs before joining Fairport Convention in 1968. She also formed the folk-rock band Fotheringay in 1970.
Hard rock fans will be aware of her existence because she shared a duet with Robert Plant on the “The Battle of Evermore” track on Zeppelin’s fourth 1971 album.
Born in the historic parish of Merton Park on the outskirts of South London, DENNY studied at the Kingston College of Art (after starting a career in nursing) and she spent lots of time at the folk club on campus.
Eventualy she abandoned her studies altogether to devote her time to performing folk music.
While she was performing at the famous Troubadour folk club in London, a member of the Strawbs heard her singing and invited her to join the band replacing departing lead vocalist Judy Dyble. [Dyble went on to join Giles, Giles and Fripp which evolved into King Crimson.]
In 1974 DENNY returned to Fairport Convention for a world tour.
Her own headline performances in 1977 — to promote the poorly recieved Rendezvous album — were some of her last ever public appearances.
On April 1st 1978 — several days after a nasty fall down a staircase — DENNY performed at a charity concert in Byfield.
Two weeks later she collapsed and fell into a coma believed caused by head injuries inflicted in the accident. She died at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon on 21 April 1978 aged 31.
All those who knew DENNY well, and who worked closely with her, recall how brilliant she was as a solo acoustic performer. This April the new collection of Sandy Denny songs “I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn” — The Acoustic Sandy Denny — will become available.
This 40-Track / 2CD set captures DENNY at her most intimate as she runs through stripped down arrangements of songs with Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and The Bunch and also from her four solo albums.
Exclusive to this set are 3 demos from the original recording sessions for the 1972 Bunch album, “Rock On” including a beautiful duet with Linda Thompson on Phil Everly’s “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “Love Made A Fool Of You” and “Learning The Game”.
“Sandy was, as are our most brilliant performers, much better solo; I so wish she had recorded a solo album, and told her so.” (Linda Thompson)