Friday, 15 July 2011

Collaborations old and new

Due for release from Witchwood Media on 19 September:

19 Rupert Street (Sandy Denny with Alex Campbell)

Dave Cousins writes:

“I first heard this recording as I was being driven by my friend Stuart Douglas, Alex Campbell’s cousin, round Lake Ontario on the way to Toronto. He put a cassette into the player, without saying a word, and I was amazed to hear Sandy Denny and Alex swapping songs and chatting away. Stuart had found the tape in Glasgow in Patsy Campbell’s house after she died but, as a cassette, it was unusable for release.

Then last year I went to a meeting in Copenhagen and afterwards a guy came up to me and said that a friend of his had a tape of Sandy Denny that he’d recorded years ago in Glasgow. I wrote and asked if I could have a copy and a few weeks later, much to my amazement, the original tape arrived through the post. It was recorded at 19 Rupert Street, Glasgow, Alex Campbell’s home, on 5 August 1967 on a quarter track domestic machine. I took it to Abbey Road to have it transferred to digital, and I was stunned to hear Sandy and Alex singing, laughing and joking as though I was in the room with them.

I edited and mastered it with legendary producer Chris Tsangarides. It’s what it is, a home recording, but what atmosphere! On record Sandy often comes across as sounding melancholy. There are secrets behind some of her songs that very few people know, that brought about certain sadness. But this recording shows Sandy as she was when I first met her – bright and funny, with a voice that could pin your ears back or melt your heart. I’m so pleased to be able to share this with you.”


1. The Leaves Of Life
2. Willie Moore
3. Balulalow
4. The Sans Day Carol
5. Trouble In Mind
6. Jimmie Brown The Newsboy
7. The Midnight Special
8. Milk And Honey
9. Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
10. Fairytale Lullaby
11. She Moves Through The Fair
12. (And so to bed) Chuffa Chuffa Chuff/Clementine/Jesus Loves Me

Also available on 180g vinyl from Music on Vinyl.

The information I have is that Sandy is on all the tracks. Solo on 1, 3 and 8-11. Track 2 is a duet with Patsy Campbell. According to his biographer, John Martyn’s ‘Fairytale Lullaby’ was a song Sandy had plans to record, presumably on the projected solo album she mentioned to interviewers in 1967. The album sounds promising, even if it doesn’t look promising: I fail to understand why Witchwood seem determined to package her work as if it’s appearing on a budget label circa 1971. Or is that the idea? A ‘period’ feel?

Also scheduled for release later this year (on Island) is Don't Stop Singing, a collaboration between Thea Gilmore and Sandy Denny from beyond the grave: Gilmore sets to music and performs unpublished Denny lyrics (I believe). Here’s the tracklisting:

1. Glistening Bay
2. Don’t Stop Me Singing
3. Frozen Time
4. Goodnight
5. London
6. Pain In My Heart
7. Sailor
8. Long Time Gone
9. Song No. 4
10. Georgia

Postscript, August 2011: ‘Legs O’Hagan’ has written to set me straight on the cover of 19 Rupert Street: “The cover uses a Cath Kidston retro style as a way of looking back to the time the recording was made while the typography for the album title recreates that of the street sign. Cooper Black was fashionable in 1967 and again now. Yes, some thought went into it…”