Vashti Bunyan hadn't made much of a name for herself in the late-1960s London folk scene when she embarked on a pilgrimage via horse-drawn buggy from London to a "promised land" in the far north of Britain. Although she had given up on music, she wrote songs during that long journey and eventually recorded them. The result was Bunyan's only album, Just Another Diamond Day, which was released to almost no response in 1970. Soon afterward, she retired from music altogether.
Bunyan has become a cult figure among neo-folkies such as Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart. Four years after reissuing it in Britain, Dicristina Stair has given Just Another Diamond Day its first American release.
It's an odd album, a chronicle of Bunyan's journey northward. Some songs, such as "Lily Pond" and "Come Wind Come Rain," sound almost Druidic in their communion with the natural world, but all are marked with delicate melodies adorned with minimal instrumentation.
More than the story of a long journey, Just Another Diamond Day serves as a document of a certain place and time as well as the corresponding mind-set of a young generation. Thanks to its timeless melodies and its many loyal fans and followers, this eccentric and engaging album still sounds startlingly contemporary three-and-a-half decades after its creation.