Now at last we come to the music on this superb album. David Suff’s notes in the insert that came with the expanded CD suggest that the LP might be viewed as a “flawed masterpiece”. Here I disagree with him; in my opinion it is neither flawed nor a masterpiece. Rather, it does what it says on the tin. What you see is what you get. However, it does happen to contain one song which is utterly fantastic, and well up with the finest songs ever commited to record.
Track 1 on Side 1 is a typical Sandy Denny opener, a classic called “Late November”. It is in the style of “Nothing More” which, it might be rercalled, opened “Fotheringay”. The melody is strong, and the lyrics powerful and dramatic. It makes a perfect showcase for Sandy’s singing voice, which was (arguably) at its best about that time.
Track 2, however, is the humdinger. This is the traditional piece called “Blackwater”, a standard tale of the feckless male lover. What really takes this one into the stratosphere is Richard Thompson’s contribution, where he plays both accordion and electric guitar. To my knowledge, he has been recording uniquely brilliant electric guitar ever since 1968, but he has never been better than he was on this track. The guitar work is simply mind-blowing. Added to this is the amazing accordion work, where he shows himself a master of the instrument, making it a perfect foil to the sublime guitar. Sandy Denny is on top form, and the song itself has a great tune with super words. If this was the only song on the LP, it would still be worth buying.