LPs of the decade no. 3 : Lookaftering – Vashti Bunyan


A hare

So, coming in at number 3, we have Vashti Bunyan with a selection from her 2005  album, Lookaftering.  La Bunyan’s story was one of the most encouraging of the decade.  She originally studied briefly at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, before being taken up by Andrew Loog Oldham and making a cameo appearance in the film Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London.  Not having had a great deal of success as a singer, she decided to travel – in a horse-drawn gypsy caravan (how else?) – to a commune on the Isle of Skye, established by the singer Donovan.  By the time she arrived the commune had got bored and dissipated, but – on the way – she had managed to write the songs that later became her first album Just Another Diamond Day.  When released, this disappeared without trace.  VB then moved to a remote spot in Ireland and spent the next thirty years tending animals and bringing up her children, unaware that, in the meantime, her long-forgotten album had been rediscovered by the likes of Devendra Banhart  (a Rum Cove, but also a Good Egg).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, she was enabled to record a second album, Lookaftering, released in 2005, which included contributions from various other Good Eggs such as Robert Kirby (q.v.),  Joanna Newsom (soon to be q.v.) and the composer Max Richter.  Included on it was the following – Here Before.  The number of good songs written about the artist’s own children is minute – I can think of Tim Buckley’s Dream Letter, Peter Hammill’s Sleep Now, and not a great many others, but I think this one succeeds.  Having a child very rarely feels like this, but occasionally it does …

(The hare reappears here, by the way,  in no more animated form)


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