Magazine article The Spectator

CUL T U R E N O T E S the First Lady of Song

Magazine article The Spectator

CUL T U R E N O T E S the First Lady of Song

Article excerpt

Folk legend Sandy Denny's eminently coverable songs, direct of melody and opaque of lyric, have scarcely declined in popularity since the singer's death in 1978 at the age of 31. A tribute concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2008 was such a hit that a similar event is being staged at the Barbican this month. Once again, a variety of vocalists will front a house band including members of contemporary folk stars Bellowhead and share the stage with Denny's former Fairport Convention bandmates Jerry Donahue and Dave Swarbrick.

Insecure but blessed with a versatile voice free of phony mid-Atlantic inflections, Denny's infusion of traditional material transformed Fairport from blokey college circuit regulars into the definitive English folk-rock band. …

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