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CD Reviews

SANDY DENNY/GOLD DUST-LIVE AT THE ROYALTY (Island Records 314-524 493-2)

Some 20 years ago (April 21, 1978) Sandy Denny died from a brain hemorrhage, believed to have resulted from a fall down the stairs in her home several days earlier. Six months earlier Sandy had done a short concert tour, marking her return to performing after a 2 year absence, and was planning to release a live album from that tour. After her death the live album was shelved and has remained unreleased until now. "Gold Dust-Live At The Royalty" is a recording of Sandyís last performance on that tour, and thus the last of her life. Some problems existed with the original recordings so the guitar and backing vocals have been overdubbed but the original feeling of the show appears unaffected.

The show began with a performance of Richard Thompsonís "I Wish I Was A Fool For You" and also included a cover of Bob Dylanís "Tomorrow Is A Long Time." The remainder of the set includes selections from throughout Sandyís career. The shows ends with her classic Fairport Convention performance "Who Knows Where The Time Goes."

This disc is certainly a required addition to any Sandy Denny fanís music collection and an excellent selection for any folk music library. For the new fan, or just an interested party, however Iíd recommend "The Best Of Sandy Denny" over this disc because, while this recording is excellent, itís not Sandy at her peak and is missing some essential tracks. She was reportedly nursing a cold at the time of this show and thus is restrained somewhat on vocals here. At her peak, Sandy possessed a voice that could soar to the rafters in any room in which she performed. Her vocal reaches have yet to be matched to this day but this performance doesnít quite represent that peak.