If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?
Vashti Bunyan’s 1970 debut, Just Another Day Diamond, is one of the most beautiful records ever made. With Robert Kirby arrangements framing Bunyan’s sweet songs and hushed voice, the incredibly-gentle album evokes the English pastoral idyll with an unabashed, hippy-ish romanticism. Its songs were written through 1968, when Bunyan, husband, dogs, and horse-and-cart set out to walk from London all the way up to the Isle of Skye in Northwestern Scotland.
Just Another Diamond Day is almost a diary of that journey; though less of the reality —trudging on sodden roadsides through bleak, industrialized areas— and more of the daydreamin; Bunyan enough of a flowerchild to unashamedly author twee vignettes anthropomorphising grubs and glow-worms. The rhythm of the swaying wagon and the joyous march towards land and freedom, towards a sense of home and belonging, color the music. 'Walking songs' like "Jog Along Bess" and "Come Wind and Rain" carry forward with an optimistic strut.
The Miles Untrod Between Us and the 'Land of God'
Just Another Diamond Day is, at essence, an album about daydreaming, about dreams, and holding onto them. Bunyan's chronicle of walking the length of the land isn't about what she experienced, but the dream she was chasing, the imagined idyll that her and her rag-tag travelling troupe were traipsing towards.
In such, it makes sense that this fragile, folkie record has been so warmly embraced by a generation far removed from its making. For modern listeners, Bunyan's lost classic is a missive from an imaginary utopia, a time enshrined in nostalgia, a flower-child fantasy-land that never really existed. And, in the bleak modern era, journey through the wonders of Bunyan's fantasylands sure beats the shopping-mall sterility of new-millennial metropolises.
Record Label: Philips
Release Date: 1970