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All Our Own Work

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iTunes Review

Sandy Denny started her career with the English group The Strawbs, a mercurial outfit that in the '60s were going for something akin to Peter, Paul & Mary. All the recordings from this short-lived phase are collected on All Our Own Work; the contents were recorded in Denmark in 1967, when Denny was 20. It’s possible that these recordings went unreleased because they were a few years late for the folk-rock trend, but “On My Way” and “All I Need Is You Babe” are sterling pop songs equal to anything by The Byrds or The Beau Brummels. For most listeners, though, the real attraction is witnessing the emergence of Denny’s musical identity. Though she hadn’t yet joined Fairport Convention, “Tell Me What You See in Me” and “Sail Away to the Sea” presage her work with that group, with whom she’d develop her singular take on Scotch-Irish balladry. Though the collection is full of treasure, two early versions of Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” tower above the rest of the material.

Customer Reviews

All Our Own Work

Sandy Denny is featured on the vast majority of this sixty-five minute collection. Her voice is so pristine and pitch-perfect in every track and has that youthful vibrance of a young and rising star. The fidelity of the set far exceeds the samples here at iTunes--Sandy sounds very "present." The tracks not featuring Sandy are excellent, also. Not only demonstrating the talent (vocals and instrumental) of the rest of the Strawbs, but providing a contrast in which we hear Sandy--for which I originally purchased the set. I think that I will re-order the tracks in my iTunes playlist to better take advantage of this contrast as the set arrives as "clumps" of the Sandy Denny tracks and then a "clump" of male voice (or strictly instrumental) tracks. Shades of bluegrass and even some Beatles-type English folk rock can be imagined. On my download, the tracks also have an unusual segmental repetition of parts of some songs and in one case, a three second drop-out. The repetitions are pleasant as one craves just a little more of a song. Perhaps the tracks were recorded this way and someone with an original vinyl version could verify this experience. I am totally pleased with my purchase.


Born: January 6, 1947 in Wimbledon, London, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Maddy Prior, Jacqui McShee, and June Tabor all give her a run for her money, but the late Sandy Denny remains the pre-eminent British folk-rock singer. In addition to recording several albums of her own, Denny was an integral force behind the best work of the most respected British folk-rock band of all, Fairport Convention, and also contributed mightily to recordings by the Strawbs and Fotheringay. It's impossible for words to fully evoke the haunting, spectral presence of her powerful and penetrating...
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