Sandy Denny,
Like an Old Fashioned Waltz
(1973; Universal Island, 2005)

The album opens with the majestic Sandy Denny classic "Solo," which is quite probably the best song she ever wrote. This superb quality is maintained across the nine tracks that make up the original 1973 release; seven melancholy Denny compositions and two jazz-tinged covers. These are accompanied by four bonus tracks on this remastered version.

Like an Old Fashioned Waltz is the second of Sandy's solo outings to be produced by Trevor Lucas (Sandy's husband at the time) and John Wood. The arrangements, featuring lush string accompaniment, are consistently well matched to the material and never distract from the beauty of Sandy's exquisite writing.

The lyrics are often personal, firmly rooted in nostalgia and romance across the majority of the recording. "Carnival" finds Sandy mourning the passing of summer, and her lyrics evoke such vivid imagery that you can almost smell the cut grass of a fading summer giving way to rustic autumnal shades. "At the End of the Day" is a poignant ode to an absent lover, perfectly depicting the writer's yearning for his return. A slight departure from the recurring theme can be found in "Friends," where Sandy ever so poetically tells a friend that he is no longer required: "Do me a favour stay away from my door, I could use some good company but I don't care for yours."

An outstanding addition on this re-release is the bonus track "No End," a track which closed the original album. This bonus version finds the track stripped of the string arrangements and all other instrumentation, and is delivered to stunning effect with only Sandy's piano playing for accompaniment. This sparse rendition showcases Sandy's stunning voice to great effect and draws out emotions that can often be lost amongst a more cluttered arrangement.

Other bonus tracks include a live rendition of the title track, "Like an Old Fashioned Waltz," an alternate version of "At the End of the Day" and a demo track that was not included on the original album, "King & Queen of England."

by Mike Wilson
8 July 2006

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