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19 Rupert Street

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Recorded at a friend’s house in Glasgow in 1967, the songs on 19 Rupert Street show that by age 19, Sandy Denny had an innate and utterly natural mastery of the British folk idiom. The house belonged to Scottish folk singer Alex Campbell and his girlfriend Patsy, who accompany Denny on several songs. (Thankfully, Carston Linde, a visiting folk fan from Denmark, was there with a tape recorder.) The performances are stunning in the way that only private home recordings can be. Much like the home recordings of Nick Drake—made at the same time under very similar circumstances—these songs highlight a compulsory love of American folk and blues, but they truly start to glow on traditional English and Irish ballads like “The Leaves of Life,” “Balulalow,” and “She Moves Through the Fair.” Denny’s voice shines in a way that makes everything else in the room disappear. Like Drake (who also played songs by Jackson C. Frank, Denny’s onetime lover), Denny has a presence that's timeless but also profoundly personal. Her hurt might have echoed through past centuries, but it arose directly from her heart’s deepest drawer.


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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