Album: Sandy Denny, Sandy Denny (Island)

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The Independent Culture

Sandy Denny, the queen of English folk-rock, had a voice that cut right to the emotional core of a song, resonating across genres and sensibilities to touch hearts well outside the normal reach of folk music.

Since her death in 1978, her career has been the subject of several retrospectives, none more exhaustive than this 19-CD set that draws together all her solo albums and work with Fairport Convention, with the final eight CDs devoted to further outtakes, live recordings and BBC sessions, over a hundred unreleased tracks in all. Among the uncovered gems are an acappella version of "Lord Bateman" and a faultless demo of Dylan's "It Ain't Me, Babe" that suggests her emotional nuance was instinctive from the start; though the box confirms that her choice of musical direction sometimes worked to her disadvantage.

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