Tuesday, 10 March 2015

I've always kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny by Mick Houghton, book review: The First Lady of folk has a hooligan trapped inside

As tragic heroines go, Sandy Denny, the first lady of folk rock who rose to fame in the late Sixties as the singer in Fairport Convention, was an unlikely contender.
Best known for “Who Knows Where The Time Goes?” and, latterly, the inspiration for a new generation of heart-on-sleeve singers such as Laura Marling, Cat Power, and Joanna Newsom, Denny grew up in a nice house, in a nice street, with nice parents who supported her choice of career, unorthodox as it must have seemed.
Certainly, aside from a brief stint as a nurse, Denny endured little hardship before finding success. But despite her sociable nature and obvious charisma, she was dogged by an insecurity that increased as her celebrity grew, and, by the mid-Seventies, was fuelled by heavy drinking and cocaine use. She died at the age of 31 from a brain haemorrhage shortly after falling down a flight of stairs.
Mick Houghton’s scrupulously researched biography draws a detailed picture both of Denny’s increasingly complex mental state and of the London folk scene in the Sixties and Seventies, which also included now towering figures such as Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch, and Paul Simon.

Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort
DVD/CD - £9.99

Live In Maidstone 1970
CD - £7.99

Live At Maidstone Castle 1970
DVD - £9.99

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