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Vashti Bunyan

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Vashti Bunyan


She should have been bigger than Marianne Faithfull. Her voice was arguably better back in 1965 (and unarguably better today). But the reason why English folkie cult chanteuse Vashti Bunyan isn't as well known is because supporter and high profile fan (and Rolling Stone manager) Andrew Loog Oldham touted her as a Faithfull follower. To complete the picture, after Faithfull recorded the Jagger/Richards-penned "As Tears Go By," he urged Bunyan to record the pair's "Things Just Stick in Your Mind," overriding her own objections. She proved to be right and the song bombed, leaving her disenchanted with the music business -- so disenchanted, in fact, that she turned her back on it and stayed away for 35 years. But before she left, she planted a seed -- a bona fide gem of album genius entitled Just Another Diamond Day. Although it didn't do much upon its release in 1970, the Joe Boyd-produced album became a coveted prize for a crop of collectors and vinyl fetishists. No other psychedelic folk record, not even Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms, sounded as soothing and as ethereal as Diamond Day. With Bunyan's fragile melodies and cooing, angelic voice, the record sounded as if it could float right off the turntable. More than 35 years following its release, Diamond Day was reissued and became an important influence for trendy freak folkies like the Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart. In fact, both artists tracked Bunyan down through some intense Internet geeking to get her to record some vocal tracks on their respective albums. So with a heavy resurgence in enthusiasm for her incredible skills, Bunyan did what any respectable icon pulled from the ashes of obscurity would do. She recorded a comeback album. But 2005's Lookaftering sounded like she had recorded it during the same 1970 session as Diamond Day before locking it in a time capsule. Perhaps it was a respectable life of nurturing a family and tending to her garden (a lifestyle diametrically opposed to Faithfull's) that helped preserve her voice, because she sounds like she hasn't aged a day since her 1970 debut.
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