The Notes and the Words features 75 of the rarities, demos and outtakes accompanying the officially released material on the original box set, including 17 early home recordings, the first known recording of Who Knows Where the Time Goes, take one of both Come All Ye and Matty Groves from the legendary Liege and Lief sessions, a demo of Lord Bateman, considered the Holy Grail of Denny’s recordings, together with many other goodies besides. In light of Thea Gilmore’s recent album of Denny’s unreleased and widely unknown songs, together with the short concert tour that went under the banner of The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny, featuring some of Denny’s collaborators such as Dave Swarbrick and Jerry Donoghue, as well as some of Denny’s more recent converts such as Joan Wasser, Blair Dunlop and Sam Carter, it’s rather nice to hear the lady herself once again, in what in some instances sounds even more intimate than before.
mp3 320 kbps | 701 MB | UL
This CD, issued under license from Vanguard by Italy’s Universe label (on their Comet imprint), is one of the handsomest re-releases of its kind ever to turn up on CD. The sound is fine — and it’s so hard to find an unworn copy of Ballad for Americans and Other American Ballads that anything would be welcome — but the producers have taken special care to re-create the original artwork and annotation in all of it thoroughness in a mini-LP-style gatefold CD package that’s neat, handsome, and respectful of the original release, and will probably last for decades on shelves. As for the music, the CD showcases four sides of Odetta’s work — her gifts in art-song and conceptual music in “Ballad for Americans,” her solo folk and blues singing in the accompanying studio sides, her way with an audience in a live setting with the Carnegie Hall tracks, with her singing in a choral setting on the final four tracks of that LP. It all sounds great, and could arguably be a best of Odetta, even if it isn’t an official anthology of that type. It’s just sort of a shame — and an enigma — that it takes an Italian-based label to give these recordings their due respect in the 21st century.