As Vin Garbutt is laid to rest, let Kate Rusby lead the tributes ...
Cover Story: (1) Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl or Steve Earle (with Sharon Shannon)

Who Knows Where The Time Went?



June 2017 update: this tribute piece to a great song by an even greater departed heroine of folk and folk-rock, Sandy Denny, first appeared nine years ago when I was living in Abu Dhabi. Some of the versions mentioned in my introduction have disappeared, because the links went dead, but others - Nanci Griffith, Rufus Wainwright, 10,000 Maniacs - have been added. See Comments, too: I never got round to acting on Tom Bliss's request but will try to do so in due course (another nine years?). Meanwhile, my thanks to Ross Anderson for alerting me to a tremendous BBC Soul Music mini-documentary on the song, quoting Sandy, Judy Collins, Rufus, Sandy's biographer Mick Houghton, Simon Nicol and several others. There's a link in the footnote ...

...well, I'd like to know what happened to the time that has elapsed since I agreed to an acquaintance's request to compile for him a cassette - that dates it already - of versions of Sandy Denny's spellbinding Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, his favourite song.

It began with good intentions on my part. As a reviewer of folk albums, I already had several renditions - quite a few different ones recorded by Sandy, come to that - and you can be sure that more have reached me since.

But I never quite got round to it. I am not sure exactly how many years have passed since my undertaking to prepare the tape. But with thanks to YouTube subscribers and apologies to Julian, the husband of one of my wife's then colleagues, here at least is a start.

A search for the song produces the good, the not so good and the downright ugly. I came across some assaults on the ear that were simply so gruesome that it would be unkind to everyone concerned to expose them to Salut! Live's small but probably quite discerning audience.

A frustrating feature of where I live (the UAE) is that when using the internet away from my place of work, I am handicapped by restricted access to certain sites. I have no reason to fear that Salut! Live is other than entirely innocent, likewise my other sites (Salut!, Salut! North and Salut! Sunderland). But I gather from Typepad that there is some problem here concerning - presumably - all the sites it hosts.

The upshot is that I cannot properly view the clips I have located from YouTube, except via a not very practical preview function. I know that Sandy is there two or three times, including a BBC interview in which the song is also heard.

You will also hear Kate Rusby, Mary Black, Judy Collins, Richard Thompson, Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, the Sullen Kinks, Kate Wolf, John Kirkpatrick, Justin Bond, Lisa Lavery, Chris While

Feel free to commend other versions to me, or to comment on those I present here in an attempt to ease my guilty conscience. And sorry again, Julian, I still haven't got round to making a tape.


...and I hope I have not put you off the song for life.



* The BBC Soul Music link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tcnmk#play

Comments

Tom Bliss

That's a fantastic version with Chris singing with Nick Mitchell and Full House - what a coup eh?

But how on earth did people start thinking the song starts "Across the morning (or even purple) sky?" Are they getting muddled with the Prince song?

Tom

PS Colin, it could be great if you could provide a text title for each clip - specially for the Houses (Oh and did my CD arrive ok?).

Philip Ward

Tom, "Across the purple sky" was Sandy's original wording, used on her first recording of the song with The Strawbs. This was the version that found its way to Judy Collins, and those singers who learned the song from the Collins recording follow her lyrics (and phrasing).

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