Fotheringay remain one of the great might-have-beens of British music.
When Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention in 1969 after recording Liege & Lief, she began forming a new band with her boyfriend Trevor Lucas and drummer Gerry Conway from the group Eclection and Albert Lee and Pat Donaldson from Poet & One Man Band.
After a few rehearsals, Lee moved on and was replaced by another Poet & One Man Band alumni – guitarist Jerry Donahue. Christened Fotheringay the new ensemble soon established themselves as one of the very finest British folk-rock bands.
Sandy Denny – vocals, piano, acoustic guitar : Trevor Lucas – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars: Jerry Donahue – lead guitar, backing vocals : Gerry Conway – drums, backing vocals : Pat Donaldson – bass, backing vocals.
The group recorded a debut album, the magisterial Fotheringay with producer Joe Boyd in London’s Sound Techniques studio. The album quickly went into the Top Twenty in both the Melody Maker and NME charts and is an acknowledged classic recording of British folk-rock. Many writers have said that Fotheringay’s version of The Banks of the Nile is the best rock arrangement of a traditional ballad ever recorded.
Sadly, the group broke up during the recording sessions for their second album. Incredibly all the tapes survived in various record company archives. Thirty eight years later the surviving members of the group were able to mix the material for the widely acclaimed 2. The album was finally released on Fledg’ling records on September 29th 2008. A launch party was held in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Pat Donaldson, Jerry Donahue and Gerry Conway at the launch, photograph by Chris Bates
After all the years of hard work it is tremendously gratifying to see the early press reactions to Fotheringay 2. Jerry Donahue, Pat Donaldson and Gerry Conway have been overwhelmed (as has Mr Fledg’ling) with all the praise so far. Here are just a few samples:
“Archive release of the year no question.” Simon Jones, fROOTS
“With Donahue essaying Richard Thompsonesque, serpentine guitar breaks throughout, the results are reminiscent of prime era Fairport, never more so than on a ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’.” ****
Andy Gill, The Independent
“Towering second album from Sandy’s band, only now lovingly salvaged” ***** Mick Houghton, Uncut
For further information please visit: www.myspace.com/fotheringaytheband