25 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rolling Stones’ producer Andrew “Loog” Oldham took on a number of pop protégés in the mid-60s, Vashti Bunyan among them. Bunyan went on to record the obscure chamber folk-pop classic Just Another Diamond Day with producer Joe Boyd before disappearing for thirty years. These are Bunyan’s earliest recordings, including an entire set of demos she recorded in a London studio that were found in her brother’s attic while researching this collection. Much like Marianne Faithfull, another Oldham protégé, or Francoise Hardy, Bunyan shades towards artfully melancholy pop with gentle orchestration supporting a voice enveloped in reverb. The title track is an obscure Jagger-Richards composition, while the sublime b-side, “I Want To Be Alone” comes from young Bunyan’s pen. “Winter Is Blue” once appeared on the Let’s All Make Love in London soundtrack in edited form. Several other singles, “Coldest Night of the Year” and “I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind,” were left unreleased, dooming and frustrating Bunyan’s pop career. Forty years later, they see the light of day – quite a bit late for any potential pop impact, but surely of considerable interest for anyone enamored with the ‘60s pop era.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rolling Stones’ producer Andrew “Loog” Oldham took on a number of pop protégés in the mid-60s, Vashti Bunyan among them. Bunyan went on to record the obscure chamber folk-pop classic Just Another Diamond Day with producer Joe Boyd before disappearing for thirty years. These are Bunyan’s earliest recordings, including an entire set of demos she recorded in a London studio that were found in her brother’s attic while researching this collection. Much like Marianne Faithfull, another Oldham protégé, or Francoise Hardy, Bunyan shades towards artfully melancholy pop with gentle orchestration supporting a voice enveloped in reverb. The title track is an obscure Jagger-Richards composition, while the sublime b-side, “I Want To Be Alone” comes from young Bunyan’s pen. “Winter Is Blue” once appeared on the Let’s All Make Love in London soundtrack in edited form. Several other singles, “Coldest Night of the Year” and “I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind,” were left unreleased, dooming and frustrating Bunyan’s pop career. Forty years later, they see the light of day – quite a bit late for any potential pop impact, but surely of considerable interest for anyone enamored with the ‘60s pop era.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5

16 Ratings

16 Ratings

64

mrdrofficer

The best part is the 64' songs and the area around "train song". Its all rather beautiful though. Well, I like it anyway.

More Vashti is never a bad thing--it's the best thing.

melly lou

Although there are a few repetitive tracks from Diamond Day, this is an immaculate collection of her lo-fi 60's recordings. Some of the tracks are more scratchy than others, but it's a charming scratchiness like the sound of playing directly from vinyl. "Train Song," is amazing--something that should've been on Diamond Day. Like all of Vashti's music, the previously unrealeased tracks are deeply intimate and beautiful and although this is a rather pricey buy, as a Vashti fan, I'd buy this collection again and again and again. I suppose there's not much more to say than that

Wonder, Wonderful!

QuietListen

I first found out about Vashti from a commercial--the one for Reebok Migration. Was instantly transfixed by the music and very happy to find it here on iTunes along with this awesome compilation. Wow. Awesome. So glad I still watch TV! ✿

About Vashti Bunyan

Vashti Bunyan is a folk chanteuse and singer/songwriter, best known for her 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, which was rediscovered in the 21st century and dusted off with a new CD issue as one of the great musical finds of its era. Born in London in 1945 -- and counting herself a direct descendant of writer/preacher John Bunyan (1629-1688) -- she first took up the guitar while a student at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing, from which she was ultimately expelled at age 18 for spending too much time writing songs and not enough time painting. A bit of a free spirit even then, she took a trip to New York and, while there, fell under the spell of Bob Dylan's music, especially his album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Once back in London, Bunyan was committed to a career in music, and through theatrical agent Monte Mackay she soon met Rolling Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham. In his recollections in 2007, he saw and heard in her the equivalent of Juliette Gréco, Marie Laforet, and Françoise Hardy, except that she was English -- he signed her to Decca Records and for her debut single brought her the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards-penned "Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind." The record earned little attention, and Bunyan moved to Columbia for the follow-up, "Train Song," released in May of 1966.

She moved into the orbit of Oldham's Immediate Records after its founding that year and recorded a brace of sides, mostly of her own music, none of which was issued commercially. She also cut one side with the Twice as Much (Immediate's answer to Simon & Garfunkel), entitled "The Coldest Night of the Year." The latter, with its Phil Spector-like production and beautiful harmonizing, showed off her singing at its most pop-oriented and commercial. This was during what one might call the "dolly bird" phase of Bunyan's career, in which she was part of the Swinging London scene (at least musically), and one supremely atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful performance of hers that did see the light of day was "Winter Is Blue," which turned up in Peter Whitehead's documentary Tonite Let's All Make Love in London (1967). Sometime after that, she left London in a horse-drawn wagon on a two-year journey into communal living in the Hebrides, with the ultimate goal of meeting folk icon Donovan on the Isle of Skye. She later chanced to cross paths with American producer Joe Boyd, who had made his name in London recording acts such as Pink Floyd and Fairport Convention. Throughout her travels Bunyan had continued writing songs, and in 1969 she teamed with Boyd to record her debut LP, the lovely Just Another Diamond Day, which included some assistance from such British folk notables as Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick from Fairport Convention, and the Incredible String Band's Robin Williamson. After completing the album she left for Ireland, dropping out of music to raise a family.

Long out of print and a highly prized collectible, Just Another Diamond Day was finally reissued on CD in the summer of 2000 and attracted an extraordinary amount of enthusiastic press, as well as something like the sales to match. Suddenly, Bunyan was in demand, fans and writers knocking at her door and sending e-mails of encouragement and support. In 2005 she returned with Lookaftering, a reference to her years "lookaftering" her family. The album appeared on Fat Cat's DiCristina imprint and featured artwork by Vashti's daughter. The release was followed by a series of performances that took her all the way to New York City, among other international locales -- by that time, word had spread sufficiently about Bunyan as a rediscovered talent that the New York performance rated mention in The New York Times. In 2007, Fat Cat/DiCristina released Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind, a compilation of Vashti Bunyan's '60s Decca, Columbia, and Immediate recordings, plus a set of demos dating from 1964.

2008 saw the release of a feature documentary, Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before and that same year she revealed in an interview that she had begun to write some new material. In 2014, she announced that she had completed her third album, entitled Heartleap. Self-recorded and produced, she announced that it would be her final album. Heartleap was released in October of 2014. ~ Jason Ankeny & Bruce Eder

HOMETOWN
England
BORN
1945

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