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I'Ve Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny

I'Ve Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny (Paperback)

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Synopsis

I've Always Kept a Unicorn tells the story of Sandy Denny, one of the greatest British singers of her time and the first female singer-songwriter to produce a substantial and enduring body of original songs. Sandy Denny laid down the marker for folk-rock when she joined Fairport Convention in 1968, but her music went far beyond this during the seventies. After leaving Fairport she formed Fotheringay, whose influential eponymous album was released in 1970, before collaborating on a historic one-off recording with Led Zeppelin - the only other vocalist to record with Zeppelin in their entire career - and releasing four solo albums across the course of the decade. Her tragic and untimely death came in 1978. Sandy emerged from the folk scene of the sixties - a world of larger-than-life characters such as Alex Campbell, Jackson C. Frank, Anne Briggs and Australian singer Trevor Lucas, whom she married in 1973. Their story is at the core of Sandy's later life and work, and is told with the assistance of more than sixty of her friends, fellow musicians and contemporaries, one of whom, to paraphrase McCartney on Lennon, observed that she sang like an angel but was no angel.

BiographyBiography: generalBiography: arts & entertainmentMusic & DanceMusic BooksMusic: styles & genresFolk & traditional musicMusic & DanceMusic BooksMusic: styles & genresIndividual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups Publisher: Faber & Faber Publication Date: 07/04/2016 ISBN-13: 9780571278916  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Since the 1970s, Mick Houghton has written on music for various publications including Sounds, Time Out and, more recently, Mojo and Uncut. He worked as a PR at Warner Brothers, before setting up his own agency, Brassneck Publicity, where he's represented artists such as Echo & the Bunnymen, Julian Cope, Spiritualized, Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, and the KLF. As one of the Grammy-nominated compilers of the box set Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra Records, 1963-1973, he went on to write the critically acclaimed Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman's Visionary Record Label, published in 2010. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Mick Houghton has done his homework. Drawing on interviews from those who lived, loved and worked with Sandy Denny, including some who, alas, are no longer with us such as Dave Swarbrick, he tells the story of her life and work. He includes the mundane paths and cul de sacs which all lives take. As well as the headlines and the high points which most will be familiar with. Always Kept a Unicorn is an unsentimental, comprehensive and very readable account of a life sadly cut short and a rare talent which probably never reached its full potential. If there is one criticism of the work it is that Houghton is non-judgemental and presents data leaving us to draw our own conclusions and analyses - I suspect because he too has an overwhelming respect for the artist and frustration with the human that was Sandy Denny.

- 11/06/2016
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