The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny, Warwick Arts Centre, May 22.
PRODUCER Andrew Batt’s idea to bring together a bunch of folk musicians to celebrate Sandy Denny’s musical legacy worked brilliantly in front of a large audience in the Butterworth Hall.
Denny, the former Fairport Convention and Fotheringay singer/songwriter, died aged 32 in 1978 after falling down stairs onto a stone floor. But her songs have been successfully re-issued and recorded by other folk singers in recent years.
The arts centre line-up was impressive. It included people who worked with Denny - such as Maddy Prior, Dave Swarbrick, Jerry Donahue and PP Arnold - as well as younger musicians who have been inspired by her work.
First up was Lavinia Blackwall, a young singer with a beautiful voice, whose flowing locks stirred memories of Denny in her prime. Accompanying her was the ace fiddler and ex-Fairport favourite Dave Swarbrick who lived up to his legendary status and brought cheers from the audience.
Other performers impressed, including Green Gartside, Sam Carter, Blair Dunlop and the husky-voiced Ben Nicholls. But the evening was dominated by female singers.
Maddy Prior brought her unique style to the show with songs such as Denny’s ‘Fotheringay’ which imagines the last night of Mary Queen of Scots’ life. Thea Gilmore, who has revived some of Denny’s unrecorded songs, impressed with a lively version of ‘London’. And she added youth to the occasion by bringing her five-year-old son Egan on stage to act as second fiddle. She also reflected Denny’s dark side with the sad Long Time Gone.
Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Policewoman), by herself on piano, gave a moving performance of No More Sad Refrains.
But the show was climaxed by the stunning voice of American soul singer PP Arnold, who led the whole group of musicians with a rousing version of Take Me Away.
There was superb backing from the band, including Jerry Donahue on electric guitar who played for Sandy Denny in Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and on her solo albums.
This was a memorable evening of folk-rock music, the title ‘homage’ reflecting the huge respect accorded to Sandy Denny’s work.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Leamington
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South