Banks of the Nile
Best folk track of the year? Step forward Cara Dillon

Long distance information

Some people are altogether too clever. Others just paid attention at school.

Those paying attention at Salut! Live will have seen my reference to the delicious Sandy Denny/Fotheringay anecdote from the Manchester gig where, in response to repeated demands Banks of the Nile, the band appeared to relent - only to bash out Memphis Tennessee.

As I departed Abu Dhabi for a holiday on the Nile, a Salut! Live reader writing as Private Beach added this comment:

I wonder if Sandy remembered that Memphis Tennessee takes its name from Memphis in Egypt - which is indeed on the banks of the Nile?

I will not say it was the highlight of an enthralling holiday. But to Memphis, ancient capital of Egypt, I duly went. There was not a great deal to explore - most of what remains of the old city is at the museum where the main picture was taken - but it had to be seen.

Private Beach's theory seemed so compelling that I abandoned my assumption that the band intended no more than a gag. Of course, I told myself, one or more of them must have known precisely what they were doing.

I promised to check, and this I have done. With this surprising - to me - response from Jerry Donahue, the Fotheringay guitarist behind the project to salvage, complete and issue the band's second album 38 years after work first started on it:

We have always loved a rocker and I do remember doing Memphis Tennessee at times but never knew
that the origin of the city name was from Egypt! If Sandy knew she didn't mention it in my presence and
I suspect that it is just a coincidence. However I will run that one by Pat and Gerry to see what they may

Keep watching this space. If Jerry's own inquiries shed more light, it will be reflected here....


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