Sunday, February 12, 2023

Vashti Bunyan: Rose Hip November

Vashti Bunyan appeared on the London music scene in 1965 and was identified at once as 'the next Marianne Faithfull'. But her single flopped and she and her boyfriend Robert Lewis decided to join a commune that Donovan was setting up on Skye.

Aimee Ferrier takes up the story:
The pair sold their only valuable possession, an old grandfather clock, which earned them enough to buy a wagon and a black horse named Bess. Now the couple could stop living in fields and take to the road, determined to live away from modernity with minimal possessions. 
When Bunyan started her journey, she walked barefoot through the streets of swinging sixties-era London wearing a vintage nightgown with unbrushed hair. She asserts that her decision “was not a statement of any kind”. Bunyan wanted to escape her current life: “I wanted to get back that feeling of childlike wonder, to remember what it was like to find the world extraordinary, about there being so much to learn.”

Throughout Bunyan’s journey, she gained new pets, friends, and eventually children. Once the couple arrived at Donovan’s Skye commune, they realised that living there would be more complicated than they anticipated. 
Taking a break from her trip to visit home, Bunyan met Joe Boyd, best known for recording with Pink Floyd, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention. He promised to record an album with her once her travels were complete, and by 1970, her debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, was released. Most of the songs had been written during her travels, referring to them as “the dreaming in verges of grimy roads”.
Rose Hip November comes from that album. It was the opening track side 2 - not a place where you hide one of your weaker songs.

Just Another Diamond Day went almost unnoticed and Bunyan dropped out of music. 

The late 1990s saw a growing interest in her work and her album was re-released in 2000, finding particular with New Weird America artists such as Devendra Banhart, who became her friend and collaborator.

Since then released two more albums and published a well-received memoir.

Me? I first discovered her when a T-Mobile TV commerical used the title track of Just Another Diamond Day in 2006.

1 comment:

nigel hunter said...

Yes ,I also 1st noticed her from that 2006 advert.