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Sandy Denny: Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz

Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages, March 2005

BEGUN IN LA and finished in London, Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz may be Denny's finest hour. Kicking off with 'Solo', one of her trademark piano brooders, the album is equal parts string-swept nostalgia (the heavenly title track), jazzy whimsy (covers of the Ink Spots' 'Whispering Grass' and Fats Waller's 'Until the Real Thing Comes Along') and singer-songwriter melancholia ('Dark The Night', 'At The End Of The Day' and 'Carnival', with its foreboding Scott-Walker-ish strings). For the first time, the boozy Wimbledon lass with the stirring yet always vulnerable alto voice departed from her folk base, courtesy not least of Harry Robinson's orchestrations. Bonus tracks on this reissue include a live 'Waltz' from a Fairports reunion show in 1974 plus a seven-and-a-half-minute piano-only version of 'No End', a wintry study of a painter who's lost his muse.

Total word count of piece: 136

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