SANDY DENNY ~ A Boxful of Treasures: Background

bwsandy.jpg“We don’t hear Sandy Denny on the radio these days. Her records, few that they are, don’t fit the current formats, don’t send the programmers into paroxysms, don’t have listeners voting in.

She couldn’t be considered for sixties, seventies hit nostalgia; she never had hits. Rock album stations? Never sold enough albums. Even Nick Drake sneaks into the odd Easy Listening show, the music lulling and decieving, with its attractive surfaces hiding the pain within, something romantic for a cult to cling to.

But where is Sandy’s cult?

Where are the graveside vigilants a la Jim Morrison? The colour supplemental cultural dissections? The South Bank Show eulogies, the bad TV and film biopics telling us who should be important in our lives?

Somewhere the taste gurus have failed the flock, have failed to tell us, after twenty years of hindsight opportunity, that Sandy Denny was the greatest British female artist of her generation.” from Richard Thompson’s foreword to Pamela Murray Winter’s unpublished Sandy Denny biography.

Fledg’ling Records is approaching its tenth anniversary and fiftieth CD release. Ten years ago, when Fledg’ling records developed from the Richard Thompson newsletter Hokey Pokey and their collection of charity albums, I never imagined that the label would one day be issuing records by so many of our heroes. The label has grown from humble beginnings to a rich catalogue that includes some of the benchmark records of English folk-rock.

Earlier this year we began working on our largest and most ambitious project yet – a complete overview of Sandy Denny’s recording career. With the support of Universal Island Records, Tim Chacksfield and I have been able to search through hours of archive recordings to present the most comprehensive portrait of Sandy Denny’s music yet attempted.

A Boxful of Treasures is a mammoth 5CD set, from the earliest home recordings to Sandy’s final studio recording in May 1977. Amongst the 88 tracks are 26 previously unreleased songs and many rare recordings.

Among the many highlights are a stunning solo performance of ‘No End’; the original demo of ‘Autopsy’; Fotheringay’s reading of ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’; an alternate take of ‘Next Time Around’; home demo versions of ‘All Our Days’, ‘Rising For The Moon’ and ‘By The Time It Gets Dark’; and a remarkable duet with Jess Roden on ‘Losing Game’.


Imagine our excitement as reel after reel of multitrack tape was loaded unto the playback machine – would the tape, just marked “Sandy Denny”, contain a hitherto unknown recording, an alternate set of lyrics or endless studio chat and false starts? Many days were spent searching for an elusive recording of Sandy singing ‘Lord Bateman’ – Ashley Hutchings recalled a memorable 1971 session with Steve Winwood playing organ. Careful searching eventually found five reels of tape, unfortunately they all contained rehearsal backing tracks, with no vocals at all. Months of careful research ensures that A Boxful of Treasures is a fitting tribute to the greatest British female artist of her generation.

A Boxful of Treasures was released at the end of September 2004. Included in the long-form box with the 5CDs is a 52 page full colour booklet – foreword by Richard Thompson, biographical essay by Jim Irvin, and coda by Dick Gaughan. Many of those musicians closest to Sandy have generously contributed short reminiscences and stories to the project. The booklet is lavishly illustrated with reproductions from Sandy’s original lyric notebooks, plus rare and previously unpublished photographs. The booklet concludes with a full discographical track listing.

“She was the perfect British folk voice. Not a trace of vibrato. Pure and easy.” Pete Townsend

track list: Disc 1nest5002.jpg
3.10 To Yuma
She Moves Through The Fair previously unreleased
Boxful Of Treasure previously unreleased
They Don’t Seem To Know previously unreleased
Go Your Way My Love
Been On The Road So Long
You Never Wanted Me
This Train
Sail Away To The Sea
Tell Me What You See in Me
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Autopsy previously unreleased demo
Now And Then demo
I Don’t Know Where I Stand radio session
Bird On A Wire radio session
Nottamun Town
Meet On The Ledge
Disc 2
Si Tu Dois Partir
Cajun Woman
The Ballad of Easy Rider
A Sailor’s Life
Farewell Farewell
Tam Lin
Sir Patrick Spens previously unreleased radio session
The Pond & The Stream
The Sea
The Banks Of The Nile
Silver Threads & Golden Needles previously unreleased
The Lowlands Of Holland radio session
Nothing More
Gypsy Davey
Late November
Disc 3
The North Star Grassman & The Ravens
Next Time Around previously unreleased alternate take
The Sea Captain
Thro’ My Eyes
Learning The Game
Here In Silence
Bruton Town radio session
Sweet Rosemary previously unreleased demo
After Halloween demo
The Lady previously unreleased demo
The Music Weaver
Ecoute Ecoute
Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood
It’ll Take A Long Time
No End previously unreleased alternate take
Bushes And Briars radio session
Walking The Floor Over You
Disc 4
Whispering Grass radio session
At The End Of The Day previously unreleased alternate take
Like An Old Fashioned Waltz
Until The Real Thing Comes Along radio session
John The Gun previously unreleased
She Moves Through The Fair (live) previously unreleased
One More Chance previously unreleased demo
King & Queen Of England
Rising For The Moon
White Dress
I’m A Dreamer
By The Time It Gets Dark previously unreleased
No More Sad Refrains
Losing Game previously unreleased
Easy To Slip
Full Moon
Disc 5
One Way Donkey Ride previously unreleased demo
I’m A Dreamer previously unreleased demo
Take Me Away previously unreleased demo
Rising For The Moon previously unreleased demo
Still Waters Run Deep previously unreleased demo
All Our Days previously unreleased demo
No More Sad Refrains previously unreleased demo
By The Time It Gets Dark previously unreleased demo
The Music Weaver demo
What Is True? demo
Stranger To Himself demo
Take Away The Load demo
By The Time It Gets Dark previously unreleased alternate take
Full Moon previously unreleased
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (live)
It’ll Take A Long Time (live) previously unreleased
Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (live)

Release date: 11th October 2004
Barcode number: 5020393 500241