Today is the anniversary of English singer/songwriter Sandy Denny’s untimely demise. Here she is in 1969 as a member of Fairport Convention with a mysterious recording of ‘A Sailor’s Life’, a song that (in its released version with fiddler Dave Swarbrick) more or less started ‘British folk-rock’, the genre that never quite goes away. This version is mysterious in that the standard tale for years was that Swarbrick joined the ‘Vench in a studio and instantaneously created a magic improvised duel with lead guitarist Dicky Thompo. But then this acetate of a presumably earlier version recorded without Dave turned up 30 years later. Happily, it’s also sensational.
I came across this article via The Browser website. I believe the guy thinks he’s writing an article for mid-80s NME. But, as there are a fair few people here who have an interest in Fairport / Sandy, I thought I should share it: A writer in something called The Paris Review on Sandy
Apropos nothing other than it is very irritating, my Mac spellchecker keeps changing Fairport to Airport.
This thread started out as review of the Sandy Denny biography ‘Ive Always Kept A Unicorn’ – which is great by the way and well worth checking out if you have any interest of either the subject matter or just as a great insight into the British music scene of the late 60s and early 70s.
However what came out strongly (for me) in Mick Houghton’s book is a bit of a re-alignment of both Trevor Lucas and the ill-fated Fotheringay. Lucas has often been portrayed negatively – overly controlling Sandy’s artistic direction and being in part responsible for her eventual breakdown and tragic death. Actually Joe Boyd comes across as being the more manipulative and has over the years continued to heavily criticize both Lucas and Fotheringay suggesting it was nothing more than a poor man’s Fairport. Because of that (and Boyd has always been a bit of a god of good taste for me over the years) Ive never bothered with the album – or indeed the 2nd one which came out about 40 years later. Anyway this drove me to go back and listen again to their music whilst reading the book and I’m amazed how good » Continue Reading.
London. Fascinating place but an absolute bastard when it comes to finding peace and quiet. Anything resembling real countryside is bloody miles away, the parks are filled with joggers, buggy-pushing parents, cyclists and kids; the streets are simply full. My recent lightbulb moment was the realisation that cemeteries are usually empty, save for dead people, and give some opportunity to walk quietly while smelling wet grass and trees rather than exhaust fumes and Lynx. The bonus in London is that some graveyards have famous residents… And so, by bus, train, then another bus to cover the six miles between here and there, I went to see Sandy Denny’s final resting place at Putney Vale Cemetery, between Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. It’s a simple grave: a horizontal rectangle of stone marking its limits, covered in green gravel, the headstone reading, line by line, The Lady // Alexandra Elene // MacLean Lucas // (Sandy Denny) // 6.1.47 – 21.4.78 Her birth name was Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny – MacLean from her Scottish granny while Lucas came from Trevor Lucas, the Australian musician she married in 1973. I didn’t know any of this until the last couple of days, searching it out » Continue Reading.
Yesterday’s anniversary of the death of Sandy Denny (37 years ago. She was 31) had me indulging myself in a Sandy-Fest. Her voice has beguiled me for many of my 58 years. A song will crop up, in these days of Shuffle and Playlists, and catch me unawares. This came on the other day. It is my favourite song that she ever sang. I adore everything about it, and it is one of those songs that I wrap around myself, for comfort, and solace, and sanctuary. My wife found me gazing out of the window as it played, looking at nothing in particular, and completely unaware that she was in the room. After several attempts to rouse me by calling my name, she leaned in and kissed me, softly, on the cheek. I could have cried. She just gets me. I am so lucky.