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Vashti Bunyan

Prog Folk

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Vashti Bunyan Just Another Diamond Day album cover
3.76 | 22 ratings | 3 reviews | 32% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Diamond Day (1:45)
2. Glow Worms (2:13)
3. Lily Pond (1:25)
4. Timothy Grub (3:22)
5. Where I Like to Stand (2:22)
6. Swallow Song (2:16)
7. Window over the Bay (1:53)
8. Rose Hip November (2:26)
9. Come Wind Come Rain (2:07)
10. Hebridean Sun (1:12)
11. Rainbow River (3:23)
12. Trawlerman's Song (1:56)
13. Jog along Bess (3:36)
14. Iris's Song for us (1:26)

Total time: 31:22

Bonus tracks on 2000 & 2007 remaster:
15. Love Song (1966 B-side) (1:58)
16. I'd Like to Walk Around in your Mind (unreleased 1967) (2:15)
17. Winter Is Blue (unreleased 1966) (1:48)
18. Iris's Song (Version 2 - 1969) (2:31)

Line-up / Musicians

- Vashti Bunyan / acoustic guitar, vocals, composer

- Simon Nicol / banjo (5,9,14)
- John James / dulcichord
- Dave Swarbrick / fiddle & mandolin (5,9,14)
- Robin Williamson / fiddle & whistle & Irish harp (3,8,13)
- Mike Crowther / guitar (17)
- Christopher Skyes / piano, organ
- Robert Kirby / string & recorder arrangements (1,6,11)

Releases information

Artwork: John James

LP Philips ‎- 6308 019 (1970, UK)
LP Spinney Records ‎- SPINNEY001 (2000, UK) Remastered by Piers
LP Branch Music ‎- BRANCH002LP (2018, UK)

CD Spinney Records ‎- SPINNEY001CD (2000, UK) Remastered by Piers with 4 bonus tracks
CD Spinney Records ‎- SPINNEY001CD (2007, UK) As above

Thanks to clemofnazareth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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VASHTI BUNYAN Just Another Diamond Day ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VASHTI BUNYAN Just Another Diamond Day reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A bucolic dream, a lost treasure, a must for Nick Drake fans

The story of Vashti Bunyan is one of the most incredible in all of music. A London art school drop-out, Bunyan had the luck to meet and impress Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. She recorded some singles during her brief flirtation with swinging London but was disheartened with the way things were going. So rather than hang out and stagnate with the counterculture nonsense around her, she pulled a disappearing act that makes Syd Barrett look like an attention-seeker. In the summer of '68, Bunyan and her partner Robert hitched a horse to a cart and left London for the Isle of Skye on the Scottish coast. It took them two years to get there, having to stop every 20 miles to shoe the horse. They were searching for a rural throwback existence, a traditional life in a quiet place to raise their children, to grow their food. They would find it, but not before fate intervened to make Vashti the "Godmother of the modern psych-folk scene" according to some.

"traveling towards a Hebridean sun to build a white tower in our heads begun"

Over the course of their two year trek into the rural past Bunyan had been writing songs about their horse drawn journey and about the life they imagined when they arrived. Legendary producer Joe Boyd heard about this and managed to coax Bunyan back to London for one week of sessions with members of The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention, along with Robert Kirby who had scored Nick Drake's album. Only 500 copies of "Just Another Diamond Day" were pressed, and according to Joe Boyd only about 150 were sold. Bunyan was upset that the album was so clearly ignored and unceremoniously threw music over her shoulder. She would not record or perform again for three decades as she retreated to an idyllic private life of raising her three children in rural Scotland and Ireland. She vanished from the music scene more successfully than Syd Barrett did and by all accounts had an incredible adventure. What were those years like?

"Cleaning out and lighting the old kitchen range in the morning, getting the kids to the school bus down the long bumpy track, cooking huge meals for us and all the people who worked with us, mountains of washing, scrubbing the floors, getting in trouble with the next door farmer either for one of the dogs wandering through his sheep or my son riding his motorbike through the new crops (both of which I still feel guilty about), picking up the kids from the school bus, more cooking, making bread, chopping wood, cleaning, polishing, despairing of ever getting it all done. Every mealtime was filled with political discussion and good-natured arguing, and every evening would be spent in front of a big log fire." -Vashti, to Pitchfork Magazine

"I had no idea what Skye or the Hebrides would be like, but I had always yearned for the freedom of the countryside and had romantic notions about farms and farmers and shepherds. By time I reached the Hebrides I had learned about the realities of farming and was an aspiring vegetarian. The art scene I had left behind in London had never appealed to me. I was looking for something different and certainly found it in the enormous wisdom and humour, and the story-telling, amongst the more elderly members of the island communities. I was so overwhelmed by respect for the ancient music I heard there that my own songs seemed irrelevant." -Vashti, to

But as Bunyan spent the middle of her life in this authentic fashion something strange happened back in the music world. Old copies of her album were discovered by the likes of Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, and the new acid-folk fans, and the album started to trade at auction for huge money. So in the late 90s with her children grown and having moved to Edinburgh, Bunyan was inspired to return to the music scene. She finds it ironic that her own peers rejected her music in 1970 but that she was given a second chance by people young enough to be her children decades later. I think part of this can be credited to the unique and "real" feeling of the music. This wasn't contrived hippie pining by rockers who would sing one thing in the day time and spend the nights enjoying the drug scene. It wasn't an album theme. These were the heartfelt dreams of a young woman who wanted a real life, and got one.

So what does the music sound like? It's just Vashti. Her voice is ghostly frail and hauntingly beautiful, so soft as to often be little more than a whisper. She may briefly conjure early Joni Mitchell in your mind but not for long. She is accompanied by her acoustic guitar and recorder, mandolin, strings, and words that reflect a life of family and work ethic, fresh air and natural beauty. The songs are very short and seemingly childlike but this is not "kid music" in any shallow sense. After laying down her vocals, she had little to do with the mixing and was actually not happy with the folkish arrangements at the time, she did not consider herself a traditional folkie, but something more unique. She had different ideas about how it should sound but lacked the assertiveness to get involved, though today she recalls it more fondly than she did at the time.

In my opinion she frets too much, I think Boyd knew exactly what he was doing here and I think the results are about perfect. There is a personality that is completely original and her own-in fact it is not really true to call this psych folk or acid folk because it never panders to the drug scene contingent, Bunyan wasn't into drugs. So while it is praised by acid-folkies don't expect that which is overly weird. Don't expect the craziness of Comus by any means! For some this will be twee and far too delicate, one review I saw said "It makes Nick Drake sound like Lou Reed." You must be willing to dim the lights and just lay back and chill. Expect to be told stories about traveling and feeding the animals by a young woman who will captivate you, as you realize that immediately after she sang these songs she walked away from music for decades. It almost never happened at all and how lucky that it did.

"Vashti's songs may seem unreal to urbanized listeners but they should listen with open hearts and minds. I have never known anyone whose music is so completely a reflection of their life and spirit." -Joe Boyd, producer

Very far from prog-rock, Diamond Day is nonetheless an essential relic to me. I love the fact that this is the sincere soundtrack to a life more than a high minded concept. It may be a collection of simple lullabies and soft observations, but it remains a timeless, touching experience.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Given how few people actually heard this the first time around, I'm guessing that its resurgence in the last decade is not nostalgia based, which is to Bunyan's credit. Nonetheless, I feel that a wistful if inaccurate reconstruction of childhood memories might have been my ticket to greater appreciation. This is a pretty and precious recording in which the artist's delicate voice seems no match for even a studio breeze. It possesses a beauty all its own chiefly in the lyrical imagery and the childlike meters, the former reminiscent of STRAWBS "Dragonfly" and the latter of, even more than the inevitable NICK DRAKE comparisons, GORDON LIGHTFOOT's contemporary masterwork "Sit Down Young Stranger" aka "If you could read my mind". Her voice is somewhere between JONI MITCHELL and MAIRE BRENNAN of CLANNAD.

The opening and title cut is one of the highlights, thanks to one of the more memorable melodies and the sprightly recorder arrangements courtesy of ROBERT KIRBY, and "Come Wind Come Rain" and "Hop Along Bess" shine for similar reasons. On the more somber end is the equally effective "Rose Hip November", while the extra tracks, particularly "Love Song", suggest a talent that could have hit the charts a lot harder a year or two earlier, when idealism had not yet faded. The problem in general is that the material sounds no better on the 10th listen than on the first. Enjoyable, yes, but also without any edge whatsoever.

For a certain type of fan, "Just Another Diamond Day" represents an escape to a simpler more bucolic time that trumps the utter lack of progressiveness. I can appreciate that, but, with all due respect and with no intent to tarnish, I would rather walk down the aisle with the better works of the aforementioned artists.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The story of Vashti is a pretty incredible one and i'd suggest you read Finnforest's review for those details. This album was released in 1970 and was really ignored by everyone it would seem in the music business. It's one of those albums though that has been successful after the fact. As I looked around the internet for opinions on this recording it was clear that the majoriy who have heard it rate it highly. Her voice is delicate and the songs are about everyday life. There is a real innocence to this. I liked what one person said on the RYM site : "I've never felt so human". Definitely a Folk album and for me that's part of the problem as I just don't have the patience or like for it. Just my tastes of course.

There are instruments used that I would normally not be into like fiddle, Irish harp, mandolin and banjo. Although everything is reserved here. Tough to pick a top three although "Rose Hip November" stands out with that uplifting sound. Also "Window Over The Bay" is one I can relate to as i've dreamed of living on the bay where I live. I could never afford it though unless I won the lottery. I like the words to this one. The tough part is finding the third track. Maybe the title song with those vocal melodies.

If you are even remotely into Folk you should do yourself a favour and check this out.

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