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…”


Johnny B said...

At least some thought appears to have gone into the design for Rupert St.; that Technicolor Dteam cover is a stock photo nightmare with bland, incompetently placed typography.

Levent Varlik said... mentions it'll be released as a double album, 1 CD and 1 DVD. Do you have nay info about the DVD inclusion?

Philip Ward said...

I'm afraid not, Levent. Presumably a DVD of Thea G performing the songs she has (co-)written? The only other information I have is that the release dates given on Amazon UK and elsewhere are highly optimistic and it's unlikely to appear before Christmas.

N McLaughlin said...

CD Universe lists the label for the Sandy/Thea Technicolour Dream album as being Island, not Decca.

westwise said...


Just wondering if there's a reason this release hasn't had a mention on your blog?

Thanks for the blog.


Philip Ward said...

Hi Paul.
Thanks for writing. No particular reason except that I’m reluctant to draw attention to it. First, it’s billed as a new release when it’s nothing of the sort; it’s a tarted up reissue of material that first came out in 2002 as Before The Moon. Second, although the band are on fine form and the sound quality is vastly better than the Fotheringay Essen release, I don’t think it was Sandy’s finest hour; I find her hammy ‘Down In The Flood’ plain embarrassing. Better left in the can (in my view).

outrage music said...

wow! so how would i go about getting the camble stuff when it's released?
thanks for the info, looking forward to hearing this!

Philip Ward said...

The CD with Alex Campbell should be available from all the usual retail outlets. Amazon UK have it listed for pre-order at £8.99.

Rob Field said...

Agree the front cover design for "19 Rupert Street" looks sketchy. However, I will try not to judge the book by its proverbial cover, since there is a recent Sandy-related release with a beautiful cover, but iffy contents IMHO. I prefer Sandy's younger voice, before her tendency to "over-decorate" became so prevalent (perhaps to compensate for the diminished vocal quality?). Fingers crossed...

Anonymous said...

Hi Philip

Would you please include on your site a more detailed account of your forthcoming book on Sandy's music? Harvey

Philip Ward said...

Hi, Harvey. What more would you like to know? As you’ll see from my latest blog post, it’s mostly work that has appeared before – on this blog, in magazines or in CD liner notes – plus a little new material and some new photos. It’s not a biography in any deliberate sense, more a collection of essays and thoughts arising from engagement with her work over several years. Hope you like it. Regards, Philip.

Anonymous said...

RE: legs O'Hagan- interesting to hear that re the design, although I still don't think it totally works also the photo is from 1972 and there are plenty from 1967, so for that there is no excuse!!

Anonymous said...

Just listened to 19 Rupert Street. I would rate this as "good", but not "great". It is remarkable that the original tape survived, but it is a home recording after all and, as it says, there was a bit of whisky involved too!

What would have made it "great" for me would have to developed even more of the atmosphere of what was obviously a fun session simply by leaving a bit more of the banter in between songs, assuming it existed on the original tape.


Robinbrevard said...

Philip -- can you please address the word of a delay that we're now getting from Amazon? The auto message simply says there's a delay on the publisher's end.


Philip Ward said...

There has been a slight delay, Robin. Apologies. It has taken longer than expected to finalise the book design, but I still expect publication before Christmas.