From: Christopher Dolmetsch, 29 October 1997
Alan Bershaw wrote:
Since the topic of "different versions of Sandy songs" is timely,
I thought I'd point out another one that many might not be aware of.
On Hannibal's CD The Best Of Sandy Denny, is a Fotheringay
version of "Late November" that is credited as coming from the
Island Sampler "El Pea". I have this sampler & much to my surprise,
the version on it is NOT the same version as the one on the
aforementioned CD. I haven't closely compared them but its obvious
that Sandy's vocals, at least, are from a completely different take.
Anyone out there who can shed some light on this?
You're absolutely correct on this! There are _supposedly_ three versions of "Late November." One is the version issued on El Pea (and as far as I know, it's not available anywhere else); one is the Northstar version (remixed with some overdubbed instrumental bits for the "Best Of..." and box set discs); and one version is by Fotheringay, which I'm not at all sure I've actually heard...but may have. Anyway, the "Best Of..." and box set version were supposed to be based on the El Pea version, but the Northstar tape was used instead. Why? I dunno!
From: No'am Newman, 30 October 1997
As far as I know, there are three different versions of 'Late November', all of them based on the same backing track. They are:
a. 'Elpea' - SD vocal one
b. 'Boxed set' - as (a) but with different vocal
c. 'North Star Grassman' - as (b) but with added RT guitar
Version (a) is the rarest. Joe Boyd's sleeve notes in the boxed set regarding this song are in error.
From: David Wright, 1 November 1997
(b) and (c) have clearly different vocal tracks as well, though -- on the words in the third verse, "Oh, the tears which are shed/They won't come from me." On the boxed set version Sandy ornaments the melody line there a little more. The other verses sound the same to me though Is that correct?
From: Alan Bershaw, 4 April 1998
The most prominent difference is an earlier & significantly different lead vocal track by Sandy. I think the instrumental is primarily the same (correct me if I'm wrong on that, folks). I remember buying "The Best Of Sandy Denny" CD strictly to upgrade that one track to CD & discovering that it was not the same as the "El Pea" version as the liner notes claimed.
Actually, the extra RT guitar part on "Box Set" is an acoustic rhythm part, quite low in the mix. The lead guitar on "North Star Grassman And The Ravens" and "Box Set" are identical, by Jerry Donahue.
The difference between the vocal tracks is easy to spot: on the “El Pea” version, when she sings "The wine it was drunk", she hits the 5th note (“drunk”) clean. On the other two versions, she starts the word “drunk” on the tonic and does a glissando up to the dominant (“dru-unk”). Also, either my old turntable is running fast, or the "El Pea" version was mastered slightly faster - it seems that way to me anyway.
I must have been hung over when I wrote that let me correct myself:
On the “North Star Grassman And The Ravens”/Anthology versions, the word “was” starts on the tonic and rises to the 5th, the word “drunk” is all on the same note.
On the “El Pea” version, “was” is on a single note, the word “drunk” starts on the 4th and goes up to the 5th.
No'am's recent message about the three versions of “Late November” with the same backing track prompted me to pull out the five sources I have for the song and compare them, which supported his conclusion.
1- North Star LP (added guitar by RT)
2- El Pea (different vocal)
3- WKWTTG box (LP) (as 1 but without the added guitar)
4- WKWTTG box (CD) (same as 3)
5- Boxful of Treasures (same as 3)
Note that the 1st version of the WKWTTG box on LP lists the song as "from the Island sampler El Pea," which it is not. By the time the CD version of the box came out, that had been corrected to "alternate version."