Pentangle Connection

From: Philip Ward, December 13, 2008

Mandy Morton's programme on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, The Eclectic Light Show, 10th December, had a one-hour special feature on Sandy...

She seems to have conducted new interviews with Ashley Hutchings (talks about "The Pond and the Stream"), Jerry Donahue (confirms Sandy's version of breakup of Fotheringay), Jacqui McShee, Simon Nicol, Judy Collins (recalls the gift that Sandy gave her) and Maddy Prior (recalls the funeral).

Beats me why they put out something like this on a local radio station where hardly anyone will hear it.

The Woman's Hour feature (with Bob Harris and Chris While) is now archived on the BBC site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/04/2008_48_tue.shtml Don't know if that is accessible outside the UK. Perhaps someone can report back?
From: Philip Ward, December 14, 2008

Hi Steve. No revelations from Jacqui but it's clear they knew each other pretty well 1966-8, then met infrequently after that. She said:

First met around 1966. Sandy was phenomenal, bubbly, smiley. Vulnerable –never satisfied with herself, looking for something else, felt something lacking in herself. Jacqui was very fond of her. Lost touch when Sandy joined Fairport Convention and Jacqui joined Pentangle. After that just waved at each other at festivals. Jacqui remembers their early days in folk clubs, Sandy standing up to sing, everyone spellbound. Shame there weren't more people around to give her support. She was a very wilful lady, knew her own mind. Shame she was on her own when it happened. Jacqui didn't know Trevor very well. She seemed happy to be with him… to start with. It's just that voice. There is nobody else like her. People try to imitate her but wherever you are on the planet, you know it's Sandy.

I recall you don't like Heylin's book, Steve, but he does devote a page or so (p59) to the Sandy-Pentangle connection, claiming that Pentangle's manager Jo Lustig wanted Sandy to be the Pentangle singer but the boys (Jansch/Renbourn/D.Thompson) vetoed it.
From: Philip Ward, December 14, 2008

"The Horseshoe Club's apogee was Christmas Eve 1967. Wizz Jones, Alexis Korner and Sandy Denny were all guests. It was Jacqui's birthday the next day and she and Sandy, the worse for wear, sang `Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor' – and fell over." (Colin Harper's biography of Bert Jansch, p217.)

Not quite the duet you were dreaming of, perhaps?
From: Stephen Shutt, December 14, 2008

Dear Philip,

Thanks so much for taking time to transcribe Jacqui's remarks and add the delightful snippet from the book about Jansch. I am now intrigued as to who specifically in Pentangle didn't want Sandy. I can see Thompson, from what I know of him (excellent bass player, of course) clashing with Sandy, two very independent people. I know next to nothing about Jansch and Renbourn so for all I know they couldn't get on with her either.

It may simply have been a difference in temperament and style, plus there is the perception that when Sandy was singing on stage, the other people involved were "Sandy's current band" rather than possessing an identity of their own! I can't blame people for thinking this, of course.

This is all just me idly musing. I wasn't there and I doubt whether I will ever know one way or the other.

Again, my thanks. Another member was kind enough to send me a link for the full programme but I am dashing about like a March hare at the moment and have no means to download or do the "burn a disc" thing, so it will probably just fade out there in the astral. I have really been enjoying the off-air recordings of Sandy that were included in the latest BBC box set, particularly one session that I think was a Sundy afternoon programme where she's chatting between the songs with some nice friendly sounding chappie. Love the performance of "It suits me well" on there--always a favorite song of mine.
Jamie Taylor, 15 December, 2008

Sandy & Danny Thompson had an eighteen-month affair which they had to keep quiet as he was married at the time. Jacqui McShee says that when Pentagle had their first performances at The Horseshoe in Tottenham Court Road, Sandy was always crying on her shoulder about Danny. That would have been one reason why she wasn't wanted in the band, plus Jansch had previously had a fling with Sandy, and Renbourn knew her as a long-term friend so would have been well aware how demanding she could be I suspect.
From: Stephen Shutt, December 15, 2008

Wow. I'd always heard these vague hints at how much Sandy supposedly slept around back in the day, but ... I'm impressed! Go Sandy!

I don't recall having heard about either Danny Thompson or Bert Jansch as "interests" of hers in the past. Heylin may have covered this territory but perhaps not since people involved are still living and may not care to have their long-ago laundry aired. Thanks and Cheers!
From: John Davey, December 15, 2008

Remember dear chap. It was the "sixties" (and seventies) and everyone concerned were very young!

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