Record Collector (magazine) - p.924 stars out of 5
-- "Assured versions of two traditional songs -- 'The Leaves Of Life' and 16th-century hymn 'Balulalow' -- and a delightful cover of John Martyn's then-unrecorded 'Fairy Tale Lullaby' are pure gold dust."
Uncut (magazine) - p.843 stars out of 5
-- "[A] heroically lo-fi tape machine captures some exquisite performances of folk staples..."
Personnel: Alex Campbell .
Photographer: Alistair Campbell.
Although little Sandy Denny material was released prior to her first album as part of Fairport Convention (1969's What We Did on Our Holidays), quite a few pre-Fairport recordings of the singer's survive, though they usually weren't made in the most technically sophisticated settings. This CD, recorded in the Glasgow home of folk singer Alex Campbell on August 5, 1967, was salvaged from a cassette and issued in 2011, when interest in Denny's work had escalated to a point where even documents of rather lo-fi quality held enough interest to merit a commercial release. This is clearly a recording for serious Denny fans because of those technical limitations; even some of the other home recordings from the time that have found both official and bootleg release boast superior sound. It should also be noted that some of the songs don't feature Denny as sole vocalist, with Alex Campbell and Patsy Campbell (and even their two young boys) singing along with her on the least interesting tracks. The majority of it does spotlight Denny, however, and will be of interest to hardcore devotees, owing both to her habitually excellent singing and the presence of some songs not available in other versions. Among the most obscure are the traditional "The Leaves of Life," likely learned from a Martin Carthy album; the similarly melancholy 16th century traditional tune "Balulalow"; "Trouble in Mind," and "Fairy Tale Lullaby," which John Martyn did on his first album. There are a few items more familiar to Denny followers, and these are the most enjoyable on the CD, and include Jackson Frank's "Milk and Honey"; "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," perhaps her most famous composition (and the only original number on this collection), and "She Moves Through the Fair," which she'd sing in a much more fully produced version with Fairport on What We Did on Our Holidays. Even if this falls on the "for-fans-only" side of archival releases, Denny's singing (and its suitability for haunting melodies in particular) can't be faulted, and it's sensitively packaged, with liner notes by the Strawbs' Dave Cousins and annotation for each track. ~ Richie Unterberger