12/14/2009

Lyrics

From: Levent Varlik, 10 December 1997

Regarding with the email of Helge Gundersen, I’m enclosing a review about Sandy Denny’s poetry which was written by Clive Jones in 1974. Any contribution would welcome.

In A Lonely Moment

By Clive James, "Let It Rock" Magazine, UK, March 1974
(Reprinted in Fiddlestix, Issue 38, Spring 1995)

Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny, you are charged that in the years between 1968 and 1974 you did, whether wilfully or out of plain carelessness, content yourself with merely becoming a British rock queen, instead of nurturing a world-class songwriting talent into the revolutionary force it once bade fair to be. How do you sing to that?

Well, we know how Sandy Denny sings. Joining Fairport Convention for their exquisite second album, What We Did On Our Holidays, she introduced a rock vocal style that kept power in reserve while energising the melody with precisely focused dynamics. The Denny singing characteristics were put on display all at once, as it no period of development were needed. Notes were hit dead centre with a white-hot needle and held while they burned and faded. It was an open space, low-volume, high-intensity vocal style that left room in its interstices for the Witchseason/Island constellation’s spellbinding electro-fold sound to develop into a new rock idiom -the idiom in which, among others, the earlier and later Fairports, Fotheringay, and Steeleye Span have at one time or another all operated.

If that special rock idiom now shows signs of regressing, of once again becoming solely a folk style -if, that is. Steeleye Span now look like becoming its true heirs and exemplars - the reason can be sought - in the material on which the idiom attempted to build. With the important exception of Richard Thompson, the one person within the style capable of writing a contemporary language was Sandy Denny. And her gift for writing such a language was the very gift which she decided -for one reason or another- not to exploit.

Somebody who can sing so beautifully has little need to be adventurous in her writing as well. It is wise, then, to be grateful for the adventurousness she did show in her early songs -wise to be grateful for that, and wise to accept her later reliance on the well-worked folk vocabulary as inevitable. On What We Did On Our Holidays, her song "Fotheringay" gave concrete evidence of the potential for innovation in "Fotheringay" gave concrete evidence the mind behind the voice:

The evening hour is fading
Within the dwindling sun
And in a lonely moment
Those embers will be gone
And the last
Of all the young bird flown.

Already she was singing with an effortless legato line reminiscent of the famous story about Elizabeth Schumann at the height of her lieder-singing powers: it’s said that Schumann could sing full force into a candle flame without making it so much as waver. Such lavish delicacy of sound, however, tends to deafen us to the quality of the world/music combination itself, which would be interesting even if Bruce Forsyth sang it. Words like "dwindling" and "moment" are partly chosen for the way their grouped consonants resist her tendency to flow unimpeded from vowel to vowel -her temptation to sing English the way Joan Sutherland sings Italian. At this stage Denny is still intent on keeping some Germanic roughage in the text, thereby providing her melodic sweetness with something to bite against.

Equally interesting is her ability to use a literary tense -"And last/Of all the young birds flown" -without slipping into archaism. This is modern grammar and syntax; complex, but contemporary. It was a path along which British rock sorely needed to advance, for there was no escaping from the fact that our most creative rock bands were hampered in their songwriting by lyricists who rarely know the difference between the subjective and objective case. If we were to add a literate element to our store of written material -something comparable to the college-educated rock-writing tradition which in America had airily come up with Jon Sebastian and Randy Newman- then this was the kind of attention to detail that needed desperately to be encouraged.

On Unhalfbricking (1969) Sandy Denny finally recorded her own version of the song airily made well-known by Judy Collins. One of the two or three dozen crucial songs in rock, "Who Knows Were The Time Goes" showed the full power -for the one and only time- of the gift its author so unselfconsciously possessed.

Across the evening sky
All the birds are leaving
But how can they know
It’s time for them to go...

Those terminal vowel sounds (sustained unaltering in the first stanza, intensified and withdrawn in the second, and so on through as many variations as required) were placed at the ideal points for her voice, yet were by no means the most important musical features of a given line. Just as important were the packed consonants, as in

Sad deserted shore
Your fickle friends are leaving...

It’s a strophic song, but short enough -and with enough minor variety from stanza to stanza- not to be in danger from predictability. And here, for once, the loose structure made sense: two stanzas about the birds leaving, and a third about a loved one being away, with no logical connection between the first two and the third, but an emotional unity that needed no interlining. The diction was open to arbitrariness (Collins sang "morning" instead of "evening" and it was hard to see that the difference mattered) but in this case the neutrality of vocabulary helped the song seem timeless by draining it of context -it was just camped elegantly in the void. A superb song, with a forward flow that the Fairport musicians decorated with fastidiously schooled guitar-lines and copybook stick-work on the rim of the snare.

But it’s hard to quell the sneaking suspicion that even this outstanding song would have had more in it if the singer’s voice had not been so capable of filling the gaps. On the same album, "Autopsy" shows Denny’s capacity for melisma taking control of her talent for the lyric and weakening it seriously.

You must philosophise
But why must you bore me to tears?

These are the first two lines of the song, and "philosophise" is the first word you can hear -the previous two are swallowed, and one picks them up in a repetition later on. Most of her attention seems to be spent on the long, virtuoso melismatic surge with which she delivers the long "i" in "philosophise", and in general the linguistic points of the song are undistinguished going on feeble, most notably in the distressing transitional pun form "in tears" to "into ears". (If I have mis-heard this last effect, it’s because the singer hasn’t striven to make it clear.) The song is sung in a continuous blur of vowels: abstract prettiness is the enemy and already rearing its gorgeous empty head.

Liege & Lief, her last album with Fairport Convention, was avowedly a folk-orientated effort: carefully edited texts from ye olde Englishe heritage. Here, had she but known it, was a straight message from the Muse: the text of "Tam Lin" should have told her that the language of the past is too alive to be copied, and can only be competed with by the language of the present. As it happened, she went on to attempt a contemporary folk language composed mainly of archaisms, and so was unable either to extend the resources of the modern song or add to the heritage of the ancient one -which was composed, in its time, not out of scholarship but out of the language of the day. Swarbrick’s excellent edition of "Tam Lin" (there are dozens of versions, but his is of exactly the right length and dramatic structure) has the continuous linguistic interest by which a strophic song can gain from its repetitive form, and inversions like "as fast as go can she" fall with a naturalness that no modern writer can possibly match. She sang the song with dazzling attack, as alive to its theatrical force as she was deaf to its lesson.

On Fotheringay (1970) her voice has begun, in good earnest, to do its own writing, and the writing has begun the destructive process of turning into a mere pretext for exercising the pipes. "The Sea" and "Winter Winds" are two of her loveliest melodies, however, and eminently listenable even when one has abandoned all attempts to find the lyric substantial. "Don’t you know I am a joker/A deceiver?" she sings in "The Sea" and it’s to become of recognisable modern English that it to become all too rare. In "Winter Winds" her leading tricks of syntax are well established.

Winter winds, they do blow cold
The time of year, it is chosen...

There folksy constructions were to become a besetting vice. Nor is the song’s structure anything better than slapdash, submetophysical arguments being advanced as if self-demonstrating. "He who sleeps, he does not see/The coming of the seasons" Fulfilling of a dream/Without a time to reason." The song didn’t care about clarifying itself along its length, and on the other hand couldn’t be called fruitfully complex: it was a bung-it-down lyric, naked and unashamed. Also becoming apparent -a disease soon to be rampant- was her reliance on a very restricted range of props. Sea-captains, birds, lonely shores: these were her belated contribution to a folk kitty already bulging with witches, blacksmiths, gibbets and butter-churns. But the awkward truth is that to separate yourself from contemporary life is no guarantee of achieving timelessness.

The North Star Grassman and the Ravens (1971) was a solo album in the strict sense, with Sandy Denny’s name and image dominating the cover. Witchseason Productions had given way to Warlock Music, and the fairy princess was to be seen busy among her herbs and simples. To my ear, the music which had always seemed limited to a certain kit of intervals has by now become familiar to the point of monotony, and the linguistic mannerisms are out of control. "The wine, it all was drunk/The ship, it was sunk" she sings in "Late November", and in (guess what) "The Sea Captain" we hear her declare: "From the shore I did fly/... the wind, it did gently blow/For the night, it was warn" etc. After a few tracks of such relentless syntactical fidgets, the listener’s patience, it is exhausted.

"Next Time Around" convincingly demonstrates that a strophic form can’t be sustained even by the most scrupulous singing unless either (a) the argument advances, or (b) the imagery varies. And her imagery -in the title track, to take one especially disabling example- is by this stage all too predictable. Birds and sea show up in every song. Only two songs show signs of originality: "Next Time Around", which is spoiled by its "the winter it is long" constructions beyond the ability of the tactful Harry Robinson strings to save it, and "John The Gun", which has at least one fine throwback to her early style.

... so I will teach your sons
And if they should die before the evening
Of their span of days
Why then they will die young.

"Span of days" -that really is timeless language, the very sort of ordinary/extraordinary speech she should always have been plucking out of the air, instead of drowsily half-recalling all that daft chat about sea captains.

Benefit of the doubt must be given to Sandy (1972), in which she is clearly resting on her laurels. "It’ll Take A Long Time" has its full complement of sailors, storms and sea, with a chorus which owes its sentiment to Crosby, Stills and Nash. "There is no need for rules/There’s no-one to score the game" she sings -a non-writer’s idea of profundity which would be understandable coming from one of our more notorious fake lyricists but is merely incongruous coming from her. Some lines in "The Lady" could easily provide this article with an ending:

The lady she had a silver tongue
For to sing she said
And maybe that’s said

But the conclusions I prefer to reach are very different. First of all, her upcoming album (which at the time of writing I have had no opportunity to hear) might do the unexpected and show her embarked on a different course. Second, she is more than just a singer. In a far more interesting sense than rock stars like Carole King or Carly Simon, she is a songwriter -her gift for language is unmistakable. That so marked a gift can become a casualty seems to me a fundamental problem. Is it just that the rock audience can’t tell chalk from cheese, and so discourages those who can from going on caring about the difference? Or is it that the beautiful singer, lacking limitations, is turned aside from art by having no obstacles to overcome?

Sandy Denny is a pleasant representative of the most pleasant scene in British rock- the well-bred, well brushed, clean-edged and gently lyrical constellation of electro-folk. Violins and guitars and Maddy Prior step-dancing: it’s a world of its own, an acquisition, one of the undeniably good things to have happened in British music. In a very British triumph of continuity, pop has been joined to the past. But Sandy Denny could have done, and might still do, that dangerous some thing extra, taking the full resources of contemporary speech and turning them into song.
From: Helge Gundersen, 9 December 1997

I've been subscribing to this list for a few months, and discovered Sandy Denny not too long before that. I venture to say that there is little analysis and appraisal of Sandy's music and lyrics in (on?) this list (even if Emmanuelle touched on something the other day). Maybe it takes more time to come up with that than discographical and biographical details... (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with topics like those). Anyway: One of my favourites of Sandy's tunes is After Halloween. The demo version (haven't heard the other one) is superbly sung, and the guitar accompaniment is really all she needs. The quite distinctive music must be some of the most lyrical she wrote, and the same could be said for the lyrics (given below, stolen from the music transcription section at the web site).

I wondered if any of you are willing to act as literary analysts. The lyrics look meaningful, but I feel I don't quite grasp its meaning. (Not exceptional! ...but I like this song so much that I'd like to go further.) In particular (but not only), the function of "the sea" is too unclear to me. What is it about the reality of the sea? And how is the relationship between the tears and the sea? Etcetera.

Interpretations, anyone...? Helge (Oslo, Norway)

Red and gold and halloween have passed us by,
The charcoal branches lean against the rosy sky,
You are so far away and I could touch you if I may,
But don't you worry now, I'm only dreaming anyway.
You may be lonely, you may be just on your own.
It could be anywhere, some place that I have known.
But who am I and do we really live these days at all,
And are they simply feelings we have learnt and do recall.
Oh the sea has made me cry,
But I love her too, so maybe I love you.
Tears are only made of salt and water,
And across the waves the sound of laughter.
October has gone and left me with a song
That I will sing to you although the moment may be wrong.
Could it be the sea's as real as you and I?
I often wonder why I always have to say I'm only dreaming anyway.
Could it be the sea's as real as you and I?
I often wonder why I always have to say I'm only dreaming anyway.


From: Emmanuelle, 11 December 1997


Gundersen wrote:
I've been subscribing to this list a few months, and discovered Sandy Denny not too long before that. I venture to say that there is little analysis and appraisal of Sandy's music and lyrics in (on?) this list (even if Emmanuelle touched on something the other day).


I feel just a little bit more safe for what you say about my attempt for get a deeper attention on what are ( or were) these people who thouch me so deeply through their songs and music. Those who know me a little more than "good bye and hello, and how does the time go?..." may think this is a hobby for me but it's more serious: it's the only way of feeling I'm able in each encounter in my life. So, happy to find somebody to talk with about those immaterial but eternal tracks of one happening soul in a so moving and fragile woman She (Sandy) seems to me !

One of my favourites of Sandy's tunes is "After Halloween". The demo version (haven't heard the other one) is superbly sung, and the guitar accompaniment is really all she needs. The quite distinctive music must be some of the most lyrical she wrote, and the same could be said for the lyrics (given below, stolen from the music transcription section at the web site). I wondered if any of you are willing to act as literary analysts. The lyrics look meaningful, but I feel I don't quite grasp its meaning. (Not exceptional! ...but I like this song so much that I'd like to go further.) In particular (but not only), the function of "the sea" is too unclear to me. What is it about the reality of the sea? And how is the relationship between the tears and the sea? Etcetera.

This song is one of my favourite too, and I did wonder too about the meaning of the sea, in this one and in the others, as more as she said that may be she didn't gave any sense only she likes the sea and likes to be moved by the sea. In "After Halloween" I think the sea couls symbolise the way she loosed her lover as if he was a sailor ( like in a lot of traditional songs). What is outstandingly well evoked in this song, I think, is the quiet sway of mind between dream and reality, between hope and acceptance, when one does want to trust life and fate whatever could have happened. What touchs me so much that I can't explain it in a few words is the way she uses to say as simply as if it was so simple that you can touch anybody you love anywhere he could be, if only you could make your dream be reali ty. Well, it may seem strange to explore that kind of feelings in an english song for a french girl who can't lay claim to any acknowledged ability on that as long as I need to compare the two or three or five... possible senses of each word I use here... May be I dreamed that I met somebody who could understand what I mean...

Helge, yesterday I was wondering about a probable link between tears and the sea in the song "The Sea". Is that a simple coincidence or is there here one kind of trail? One could ask too about the dream meanings... ("After Halloween", "I'm A Dreamer", "Winter Winds"...) One could ask about impossibility of sharing the understanding of life... ("Solo", "The Sea", "Nothing More"...)

Two weeks ago, I have been very happy to meet and drink a beer, speaking of music and people, with the Fairport Convention actual members, after one hearty joyfull excellent concert in Belgium. They are men like we are but they have so much fair music and intemporal images... despite of being as human as us, poor and glorious, glorious and poor. That's what interest me. Sandy is a great people, that's why I am here. But the one who stones me is Richard Thompson... Would anybody be interested on discussion and comparisons in that way of analysis about those people and what they did?

If not,

I'm sorry for taking so much of your space
I'll be taking my business elsewhere

All my regards to everybody d.chum, Emmanuelle
From: John Russell, 16 December 1997

Helge and Emmanuelle have gotten me thinking about the sea now too. Part of "After Halloween" seems to be in the same vein as The Music Weaver - a story about longing and the melancholy of being alone: perhaps After Halloween is about missing Trevor when he's off on tour and she home alone? "The Sea" then is this vast distance, this body which separates and isolates and which surrounds her -she lives on an island after all- but is also something that can be overcome, because tears will end and the sea is just a whole bunch of tears, just salt and water, and the loneliness will end. It's a very melancholy song and think some of the images are just impressions of that melancholy, images to give a feeling of melancholy and of longing: the first stanza is perfect in that regard - it sets up a bleak landscape. I really liked Emmanuelle's idea of Sandy expressing the impossibility of sharing the understanding of life - Sandy's songs seem often to be expressing feelings about how there can be so much distance between people, that there is so much that can't be conveyed. Not in the sense of absolute alienation of someone like Nick Drake, but conveying an uncertainty about getting people to understand - "Maybe I dreamed that I met somebody who could understand what I mean..." as Emmanuelle put it.

Well, enough fun; I've got to get back to writing a paper.

John Russell, Boston College
From: Emmanuelle, 17 December 1997

John Penhallow wrote: In French, not only does Sandy sing the song for a mature expanded world market audience but it just sounds so more sensitive, how that never got release on the Continent I'll never know..... or did it??

Well, well, as a french speaker, I must admit I am not too convinced about Sandy's spelling. I am not surprised it was never released in France. BTW, "Si Tu Dois Partir" may also sound excitingly exotic to British listeners but not exactly french to french ears. I don't know what Emmanuelle thinks of this. I definitely would not include any of these two in my Sandy playlist.

I can't tell my opinion about "Ecoute, Ecoute" as long as I don't know the version ( still hoping some body will tell me on what record it has been released ). What I think about "Si Tu Dois Partir" : it sounds exotic to me too, because of the so english accent. I take the song for what it has been, I think : a trying of special hommage to Dylan and Cajun music, in a special cheerful ( possibly cheers-full too, if I dared a guess, paying attention of accidental percussions noises in the song) moment... A funny wink from an english folk band to french folk's "amateurs" listeners... It is not in my play list neither in yours but I don't dislike to listen it, for the fun.

Thanks too, Levent. I agree with the special attention on the "living" modern language Sandy she uses in her songs. It gives a kind of wave movement to the verses: the sea again...

John Russell wrote: Helge and Emmanuelle have gotten me thinking about the sea now too... I really liked Emmanuelle's idea of Sandy expressing theimpossibility of sharing the understanding of life - Sandy's songs seem often to be expressing feelings about how there can be so much distance between people, that there is so much that can't be conveyed. ot in the sense of absolute alienation of someone like Nick Drake, but conveying an uncertainty about getting people to understand - "Maybe I dreamed that I met somebody who could understand what I mean..." as Emmanuelle put it.

Thank you, John, for your ideas about "After Halloween". I think you must be right. Happy to meet somebody who seems to understand what I mean... although we aren't speaking about our own personnal understanding of life. Speaking of others is a beginning of sharing that, I think, that's why some are writing songs may be...

d.chum Emmanuelle
From: Helge Gundersen, 17 December 1997

Emmanuelle, John, and you others,

I was first thinking of the same as John, "The Sea" as something vast which separates people (like "My Bonnie is Over the Ocean", ha-ha). But if I understand Emmanuelle correctly, she suggests we have an allusion to the way sea takes away people (they drown), for instance the fate of many fishermen. Maybe this isn't crucial; "he" is in some way "gone" in any event, and death can simply symbolise "not near" (but perhaps a certain permanence in this separation?). She (or "I") is singing this after Halloween, when, as far as I understand (I live in a very protestant country...) the dead souls are remembered and honoured. The landscape, as John points out, does evoke melancholy. But we may perhaps more specifically add that the branches look like burnt, and the leaves are dead and gone (did they glow red and gold like embers?).

But is also something that can be overcome, because tears will end and the >sea is just a whole bunch of tears, just salt and water, and the loneliness will end.

A-ha, this looks interesting. Emmanuelle wrote something about the sway between dream and reality, hope and acceptance, and it seems like if it's so that the loneliness will end, it will be as an acceptance of the "gone-ness", not that the two people will physically meet. Or what?

She obviously loves the sea, and to me this just seems like a fact in this song (I don't know why she does). But why should she maybe love him because she loves the sea? (I'm thinking aloud now.)

Possibly the song can be taken on more than one level: picturing a personal relationship between two people, and more general relationships between people. I agree that Emmanuelle's idea of understanding between people is interesting.

Helge, yesterday I was wondering about a probable link between tears and the sea in the song "The Sea". Is that a simple coincidence or is there here one kind of trail? One could ask too about the dreammeanings... ("After Halloween", "I'm A Dreamer", "Winter Winds"...) One could ask about impossibility of sharing the understanding of life... ("Solo", "The Sea", "Nothing More"...)

This certainly looks like worth looking into. But I don't think I've much to deliver myself in this respect at the moment (maybe you have?). Just some general thoughts: When an author often returns to a motif, like the sea, or dreaming, she may do so in more or less different ways in different poems or songs. I don't remember the lyrics for "I'm a Dreamer" now, but isn't the dream motif in "After Halloween" on a more personal level than in that song?

I haven't looked much at the lyrics for "The Sea", but so far I can't see how tears come in. But do tell me what you think. The music of "The Sea" is great, and the whole band plays it soooo beautifully. I'm a bit unsure about the lyrics. But immediately it looks like "After H." comes more straight out of Sandy's heart, while "The Sea" is slightly mannered. And what does the song really convey? Maybe "hiding from the island" is a clue? The people think the sea is doing that, while she is really doing quite the opposite (taking land). But why? But it may very well be me, and not the song!

This is more than a nice change of pace from the acetate matrix numbers and exact marriage dates... (friendly smile).

Cheers, Helge


From: Emmanuelle, 17 January 1998


Thinking about the Sandy's lyrics evolution through the years.

I've listened the Fotheringay album a lot these times... (I love it a lot). Then I remembered our view exchanges about the sea in Sandy's songs. What about "The Sea", in Fotheringay?

I told you my feeling that there was a link between tears and sea in this song, as it appears more evidently - I concede - in "After Halloween". Going more far into this feeling that seemed first so tenuous and inexplicable, I got the clue as standing out the flow (and look, I'm trying here a double sense image...) because it's actually this word that evoked me tears. But why?

OK! She seems to have some reproaches counter to people who didn't understand or didn't care about what she felt or thought or did. Tears are never so far when you feel that way, isn't it? And as tears flow, seas grow... Nobody knows, and you feel angry because they only can't see, thinking you're hiding because they only see a shell that could be empty. Then the anger grows, as the flow is growing, and should they be all drowned in the downpour...

Tears, sea, and downpour. Well, you could think it's late at the end of the week and I must be exhausted by taking care about people's feeling and understanding of life as doing my job too seriously and may be in vain utopia hopes but... I really see her waiting for the land, after the sea will end...

I come again in the dream'n'reality sway point. I think this is why I love Sandy although her voice and singing are so moving. She is like a little girl (a psychologist would have say "a child" but I prefer "little girl" as I'm one too I think) still owning this marvellous chilhood's magic thought...

By the way she seems to be, at the Fotheringay period, in a constructive view, looking back with a kind of serenity: no matter of past errors, they were fallacy as all is vain, just believe and wait, trust your dream ...

One guitarist listmember asked before Christmas about if Sandy was depressive or not. I think people like her become depressive when they loose their natural hability to question life and I think alcool (that we know she used a bit) is a way for some to entertain this way of thinking , in opposition of those who prefer to watch life as drawned in the marble of certainty and become depressed when questions appear (then, alcohol becomes a symptom, isn't it doctor?).

Well it's late, really! and I have some more message to send.

So, cheers to you all.

Emmanuelle (french but not dumb)


From: Emmanuelle, 18 January 1998


Thinking about the Sandy's lyrics' evolution through the years. [About the sea] I really see her waiting for the land, after the sea will end... By the way she seems to be, at the Fotheringay period, in a constructive view, looking back in a kind of serenity: no matter of past errors, they were fallacy as all is vain, trust your dream...

Then, Helge and I had an exchange about the images weared by the sea in After Halloween. And thinking about what we said I reminded having red something in a Sandy's interview on the absolutely welcomed "golddust" site ( Interview by Jerry Gilbert in Sounds, 08/09/73)

(... about a preoccupation with sea, in her earlier solo albums ..) ...I dunno, I just love things like that. When I write songs I often picture myself standing on a beach or standing on a rock or promenade or something like this (...) and I find myself describing what I am looking at and often it's the sea. (...) I really can't anywhere that's nicer than that.

So when she says, in "After Halloween":

Oh the sea has made you cry
And I love her too
So may be I love you too.

I think it may be a private reference to her personal life and the easier guess is about Trevor and her ( then, I join here John Russel, and it's becuase I tried to crosscheck the dates I had here or there about Sandy's life and recording ). It's possibly a reference to a real event of their life and remember the Fotheringay had been recording just one year before : "Late November" in automn 1970, ( AH recorded in spring 72 must have been wrote in autumn 71). Looking back to her airplane fear wich she recognizes to be the source of Late November, can't we imagine that the sea, wich is in the heart of this song too, remains her in this alone anniversary of Halloween 71 (Trevor's with FC in US, isn't he? Please correct me if I mistake) all they share a year before. May be they laughed about this fear...

across the waves the sound of a laughter...

Now, alone she thinks about it, and about the sea can separate people so definitively sometimes even if the era of shipping is ended because airplanes can fall as ship could sink...

Ultimately, this song is a real love song about wondering what IS love. Is it when you miss somebody as a kind of jealous asking - "does he think about me just now?". Is it when you're move by those leasts remindings ? Does she know ?

I come again in the dream'n'reality sway point.

I think this is why I love Sandy although her voice and singing are so moving. She is like a little girl (a psychologist would have say "achild" but I prefer "little girl" as I am one too I think) still owning this marvellous childhood's magic thought...

At this time she seems to be in another mood than serene secure feelings. Life gave her some grain to mill... But she stays so cristalline for all that... So lovely... I think now to her two first solo albums... Well, enough words for today.

So, cheers to you all.

Emmanuelle (french but not dumb - oh! God what a chatter!)


From: Ellie Leonard, 6 May 1998


I thought I'd mail you all to see what you thought of something I've been thinking about a lot recently. I know Sandy said herself that the meanings of her songs are meant to be obscure, and that it's very hard for us now to appreciate why and how she wrote them. But I was interested in hearing how other fans have interpreted her songs in a personal way. I don't mean by trying to guess what she meant in the first place, but by applying them to personal situations. I'd be especially interested to hear from people who have been helped by the strong positive meanings in some of the songs. So I guess I ought to start the ball rolling...

To me, "No More Sad Refrains" spoke about thinking more positively, and encouraged me to make an effort to recover from a couple of bad depressions. On a bad day it seemed like there was no way out and that thinking positively wasn't going to help, but on the better days the message of this song ("I won't linger over any tragedies...") seemed so relevant and full of hope.

"Full Moon", although directed at someone identified only as "lover", has connotations of a spiritual discovery and I found this quite positive too, that we never need be alone.

During one of my worst times, I made a compilation of favourite songs (mostly Sandy, FC & Runrig), starting with slow reflective ones like "Sloth" and a couple of my more gloomy self-compositions, and working towards these songs which I found to be very positive. This tape helped to improve my mood every time I listened to it.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Ellie, (currently in the middle of finals, but just rediscovered "Heyday"

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