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 when he cleared out Patsy Campbell's flat in Glasgow when she died in 2005.
I asked Stuart to let me have a copy and he sent me a copy of it on CD. Sadly the quality was so poor that it was unusable. I thought I'd never hear it again.
Then last year I went to a meeting of the Karl Emil Knudsen Society in Copenhagen; Karl was the Dane who signed Sandy & The Strawbs to record an album for him. After my talk a guy called Tom Buhmann came up to me and said that a friend of his had a tape of Sandy Denny that he'd recorded years ago at Alex Campbell's home in Glasgow.
I said I thought I knew what it was and asked Tom if he could let me have the name and address of his friend. Subsequently I wrote to Carsten Linde to ask for a copy. A few weeks later, the original tape arrived through the post.
The tape was recorded in the living room of 19 Rupert Street, Glasgow, on 5th 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 laughing and joking as though I was in the room with them.
On record Sandy sometimes comes across as being melancholy. There are secrets behind some of her songs that very few people know which brought about a certain sadness. This newly restored recording shows Sandy as I knew her, bright and cheerful; the photo reflects her as she was at that time. Sandy's voice could pin back your ears or melt your heart.
I'm so pleased to be able to share this historic recording with you.
The Leaves of Life — It's likely that Sandy learnt this song from one of Martin Carthy's first recordings on a compilation album 'Folk Scene'. It's a spring-time ballad telling the story of a trip made by Mary to see her son at Calvary.
Willie Moore — Sandy and Patsy Campbell duet, and Alex chips in when the girls forget the words Alex would have learnt this song from Harry Smith's 'Anthology of American Folk Music but Sandy would have first heard it on a Joan Baez album
Balulalow — Balulalow is an old Scottish word for lullaby and the words are a translation of Martin Luther's hymn for children 'Von Himmel Hoch'. It's a 16th century song and Sandy most likely learnt it from a recording by The Choir of St. John s College, Cambridge.
The Sans Day Carol — Sandy and Patsy duet and Alex joins in with the chorus. Sandy would have heard this from the Watersons' album Frost And Fire'; it's a Cornish carol written in the 19th century: St. Day was a Breton saint. It appeared in the first edition of the Oxford Book of Carols in 1965.
Trouble In Mind — Big Bill Broonzy introduced this song on his visit to Britain in 1956 and it became a folk club standard. Sandy's contribution shows that she could easily have fronted any trad jazz band.
Jimmie Brown The News Boy — Alex learnt this from a recording by the Carter family; it was written by A. P. Carter. This version is notable for Sandy's first (and probably only) guitar solo.
The Midnight Special — The song was the opening track on Lonnie Donegan's first EP 'Backstairs Session', released in 1957, which is where Alex would have first heard it.
Milk and Honey — This lovely song was written by Jackson C. Frank and appeared on his 1965 album produced by Paul Simon. Jackson and Sandy were in a relationship at this time and the song was most likely written about her.
Who Knows Where the Time Goes — Sandy recorded her first version of this song a month previous to this in June in Copenhagen for the Sandy & The Strawbs album All Our Own Work . Despite tuning up, her guitar is not in tune and Chris Tsangarides did the best he could with it.
Fairy Tale Lullaby — Sandy probably learnt this song from John Martyn who wrote and recorded it for his first album 'London Conversation', although it had been popularised in the London folk clubs by Derek Brimstone. I know of no other version by Sandy.
She Moves Through the Fair — This song became popular in the London folk clubs through the singing of Margaret Barry, Dominic Behan, Anne Briggs, and The Thameside Four who recorded a version with Davy Graham. You can hear the train through the open window at the beginning of the track. Sandy's guitar playing really drives the song along.
Chuffa Chuffa Chuff, Clementine & Jesus Loves Me — Alex's two young boys were woken up by the noise of singing and the whisky bottle being passed around, and came to see what was going on.
Sorry for being so slow, but it seems that I have pulled myself together!
I send you the whole tape, then I hope you can use some of it, I don't have the possibility to get it scanned, and with my speed, I think it's better that you do it.
A little about it. Me and my girlfriend took a holiday through GB and Scotland August 1967. We had become friends with Alex in 1965 in Denmark so we arrived at 19 Rupert Street unexpected. We didn't know Patsy then, but fortunately Alex were home. Sandy were there as well, so one week of enjoyment were started. We slept in the lounge, Sandy in the sleeping room and Alex and Patsy in Stuart and Alistair's room.
We all had a great time. I'd got a new tape recorder and one tape — tape were for me very expensive. Sandy had some jobs in Glasgow, one in Glasgow Folk Centre, and another I can't remember where, and the third day this were recorded. And of course we all fell in love with Sandy which you can also hear on the tape. She was doing things, all recorded over the evening with a bottle of whisky.
The day after, Alex and Sandy flew to Aberdeen where Alex made the program series ‘My Kind Of Folk' at the Grampian Studios. We arrived with our car in time to be on the spot. Among others, Sandy and Johnny Silvo were among the guests performing on the show. The photo from the LP ‘Sandy Denny' is from the show. When she sang ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes' a halo appeared over her head and stayed most of the song, only on the recording. Probably light reflections but anyhow I and others saw it. In the evening there were a great party at some hotel.
The day after, I think but are not sure, she and Johnny Silvo Group had another job in Aberdeen. The day after, Sandy went with us to Perth in our car, and performed in a club together with Johnny Silvo Group. And when that were over, the next day we, Sandy and us (my girlfriend and I), went to Edinburgh where she should meet her boyfriend. Then we parted and we went back to Glasgow.
So all in all, 7 or 8 days together with Sandy Denny, and as all others that heard her or met her, fell absolutely in love with her. What a girl, really something. I later on never met someone with her greatness.