Sandy Denny,
(1977; Universal Island, 2005)

Rendezvous was to be the last solo album to be released by Sandy Denny prior to her untimely and tragic death in April 1978, aged just 31. Production credits are solely attributed to Sandy's then-husband, Trevor Lucas, and the original version was released in 1977.

I have always found this the most difficult of Sandy's solo recordings. The arrangements are often intrusive and the pure, effortless voice that graced her previous work frequently sounds strained. "All Our Days" is an absolute dirge with an overbearing string arrangement that even Sandy's poetic lyrics fail to rescue. There is also the inexplicable inclusion of a woeful cover of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" -- inexplicable, because the bonus tracks reveal that this was included at the expense of an alluring Denny original "Full Moon," which would have provided a much needed boost to the original album.

Perversely, Rendezvous also contains two tracks that are among the strongest songs in Sandy's repertoire. "One Way Donkey Ride" has more familiar accompaniment, much better suited to Sandy's writing and vocal style. This is immediately followed by the sensational "I'm a Dreamer," a song that makes my heart rush on just hearing the opening piano chords, and is probably my favourite Sandy Denny song ever. Linda Thompson has said that this song "has the greatest opening ... I've ever heard," and you can't disagree with this assertion: "You make me nervous when I see you, I can't imagine what it's like to be you."

Also included as a bonus track is the Bryn Haworth song "Moments," which was recorded after the original release of Rendezvous and was to be the last studio recording by Sandy.

The original album closed with the cruel irony of "No More Sad Refrains." The song finds Sandy singing "I won't be singing any more sad refrains," something that was to sadly come true upon Sandy's tragic death the following year. To this day, Sandy's untimely passing is a major loss to British music and a talent that will rarely, if ever, be equalled and will certainly always be much missed.

by Mike Wilson
19 August 2006

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