It has been a remarkable labour of love undertaken by a writer for whom Sandy Denny's voice "touches the soul" each time he hears it.
More than 40 years after Sandy's untimely death at 31, Mick Donovan set himself the task of digging out clips of 100 recordings from the outstanding body of work bequeathed by one of the finest singer-songwriters the world has seen. Each was accompanied by a brief description and they can all be found at the Sandy Denny and Family Facebook group.
For his finale - assuming he does not get the urge to resume at No 101, Mick has chosen, as you might expect, Sandy's much-covered classic Who Knows Where The Time Goes, a rather special version as he explains below. I have chosen to let Mick develop the story of what he did and why he did it ... the clip also appears below
The Last Post
Cropredy- to which I was introduced by illustrator Cyke Bancroft- commemorated the 40th anniversary of her passing in 2018 and a recording of her performing Quiet Joys of Brotherhood a capella wafted over a stilled 20,000 of us in a field in the dark as Fairport stopped mid-set.
The tears welled. It remains my most moving gig moment to date.
I first saw her live with Fairport Convention in 1968 at the tiny Country Club in Belsize Park, north London.
There was no stage. The band were all in a line. Sandy Denny stood in a floral, floor-length dress on the far right from where I sat.
Next to her was Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol, with Martin Lamble and Ashley Hutchings next to them as I gazed right to left. I mentioned this gig to Richard Thompson when I met him at Cropredy a couple of years ago. He seemed to remember it. which is possible as he lived and was schooled in the Hampstead area.
I experienced her singing with Fotheringay in London twice - at the Roundhouse and from the gods at the Royal Albert Hall. I was also fortunate hear THAT voice at the Alexandra Palace where she was fronting a backing band which included Timi McDonald on drums.
I have been a music fan since listening to my parents' single Diana by Paul Anka in the late 1950s.
Picked up on Lonnie Donegan, the Springfields, Champion The Wonder Horse and The Laughing Policeman on Uncle Mac's radio prog not long after. Fell in love with the Beatles, my favourite band of all time. Began collecting records. And started to attend gigs in the late 1960s at various London venues, including the Marquee, the Lyceum off the Strand, Hammersmith Odeon and the Roundhouse experiencing the likes of Taste, Blossom Toes, the Nice, Yes, Vanilla Fudge, Free, Love, the Rolling Stones, the Temptations and Bob Marley.
And free festivals at Hyde Park to see Pink Floyd, Roy Harper, Jack Bruce and Traffic. Paid-for festivals to see Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, the Doors, the Who and Bob Dylan. And pubs to see Davey Graham, Pentangle, Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick, and Richard Thompson and Linda Peters.
I have been a journalist for four decades , the last one spent also authoring books. I went from Hayters Sports Agency to writing books (my latest, The King of Dens Park: The Authorised Biography of Alan Gilzean is out on Pitch Publishing on Monday, Aug 3) via bi-weeklies, evenings and nationals, with a couple of writing awards along the way. The paperback is a re-print after it was sold out in hardback. The White Hart Lane version is in hard back and available from the official Spurs Shop, Waterstone's, Amazon etc.
Enjoyed my time on Eddie Shah's ground-breaking Today, the first all-electronic, all-colour newspaper. Exciting times working on the early laps tops, pressing a button at Flushing Meadows (the NYC tennis venue where I was covering the US Open) or wherever and someone in London being able to call up your copy instantly. Used to get weird looks from other journalists who wondered what the hell I was working on!