Angel of Avalon
I first came across Sandy Denny in the early seventies. I saw a short film of her singing "Now be Thankful" with Fairport Convention at Fairfield Hall in Croydon. Shortly after that I bought a cut-out DJ copy of the 'North Star Grassman and the Ravens' LP because the cover picture of Sandy sitting at a table intrigued me. Even though I was a fan of bands like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, Sandy's dark, solemn vocals took my breath away. I subsequently bought the 'Sandy' LP. To this day, the incredibly beautiful title track 'It'll take a long time' makes me weep with emotion.
I saw Sandy play live twice. Fairport opened a show for Poco in Long Beach, California. Sadly, Fairport didn't go over well with the jeering Poco fanatics. Only I, and a solitary young woman sitting on the far side of the auditorium, seemed to be fans of Fairport. Two years later Fairport received a far better reception when I saw them headline a show at Santa Monica, California. Sandy sang well, and 'One More Chance' from 'Rising For The Moon' was a highlight of the show. The news of Sandy's death was a devastating personal shock in 1978. I little realized how deeply other people admired Sandy until I read a very touching appreciation of her from Susan Eller Kagan in the magazine Trouser Press shortly after. Susan wrote: "She had her own vision, which often was not readily accessible to her audience. But her passion was, since it floated on every effortless phrase, and every silky and half-comprehended line of lyric". I couldn't agree more.
Merville A. Thorne-Booth
"Hi Jon, I ended up at your homepage via reading about Sandy Denny on the Mike Harding BBC Radio2 site. Some of the comments on the Sandy Denny site are very touching because they mirror my reaction to hearing her voice for the first time (conciously) very recently. I say conciously, because without realising it, I have been listening to her since my teens on my favourite of all Zep songs (B.of Ev.).
However, a very chance hearing of her singing Crazy Man Michael as part of Mike Harding's Top Ten 'folk voices of the century' a few months ago allowed me to make the connection between the name I knew but hadn't heard (I thought) and the voice I had heard but couldn't name. As someone who considers herself to have some musical literacy, I am devastated to realise that I have spent years not listening to Sandy Denny because I didn't realise who she was. Since hearing her those very few weeks ago, I have bought Liege and Lief (immediately!!) , Unhalfbricking and the No More Sad Refrains Anthology. There are songs therein which have literally (and I'm not being a drama queen!!) made me cry. Her music has had a profound effect on me.She was my age when she died. Heartbreaking. Thanks for your pages on Sandy Denny. I am voraciously reading any web info I can find on her - and I believe that there is also a biography which I am going to track down. Anyway, sorry about this blithering message to a complete stranger, but it is quite reassuring to know that I am not a nutter and that there are other people who feel similarly about this incredible talent. Cheers from my children and husband to you and your family..."