Just Another Diamond Day is a legendary folk album whose legend draws in part from what it presaged, which was nothing. After releasing her lone masterpiece in 1970, Vashti Bunyan vanished, leaving London for a pastoral life in which songs with abundant flutes and lyrics about glowworms could make as much or as little sense as they wanted. Bunyan associated with the major players of the era's burgeoning English folk scene—Diamond Day was recorded by Nick Drake/Fairport Convention producer Joe Boyd—but her music still sounds too personal and rarefied to slot in with a movement marked by concrete places and names.
There's no mistaking the time of a song like "Diamond Day," though. Among sunny hillside flutes and sparse acoustic guitar, Bunyan celebrates rural simplicity in a hushed, tender voice next to which Nico sounds like Tina Turner. Part of the mesmerizing effect comes from Boyd's crystal-clear production: In "Glow Worms," Bunyan sounds like she's alive and breathing inside the speakers, her high notes airy and her tongue-clicks audible inside her mouth.
Bunyan communes with traditional folk on "Lily Pond," a lute-strewn jaunt through the melody of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," but she plays best in a more melancholy mode. In "Swallow Song," she sounds overwhelmed by sunsets and oak leaves, swooning over their beauty while mourning their passing. Her gilded folk is ready-made for a scene in a Wes Anderson movie: sweet, sad, and teetering between purity and preciousness with all the vulnerability of plainspoken poetry.