Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned for 21* years in the castle of Fotheringay, on charges of conspiring to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I, until she was executed in 1587.

* This time figure varies in different accounts. 19 years may be the correct figure, with 21 a folklore-ish exaggeration.


Fotheringay, Sandy Denny's first group after leaving Fairport Convention, had a less rocking but more electric sound than Fairport, and went on to be loved more by the folk-rock sub-cult than the rock tastemakers who had embraced Fairport. Only one album, Fotheringay (Island, 1970; reissued on the Carthage and Hannibal labels), was issued.

The line-up:

  • Sandy Denny: piano, guitar, vocals
  • Trevor Lucas: guitar, vocals
  • Jerry Donahue: lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Gerry Conway: drums, backing vocals
  • Pat Donaldson: bass, backing vocals

Fotheringay's BBC sessions are available on a terrible-sounding bootleg called Poems from Alexandra; missing from this set is a BBC "Wild Mountain Thyme" (Traditional), which is traded among collectors. A few live tracks are also included on the Sandy Denny box-set Who Knows Where The Time Goes. Work on a 2nd Fotheringay album was started in Autumn of 1970, but never finished; only "Late November" has been released from these sessions, also appearing on Denny's box-set.


Fotheringay's self-titled debut album was recorded in the Spring of 1970 with producer Joe Boyd. It is easily Denny's best work after leaving Fairport. It also features a few lead vocals from Sandy's significant other, Trevor Lucas. When Trevor sings, Fotheringay sound way too much like The Band, but he does pull off a snappy cover of the Gordon Lightfoot song "The Way I Feel" (not as poignant as the original, but uptempo and rocking). Sandy's memorable cuts here include "Nothing More" and "The Banks Of The Nile". Most of the music (all of the Denny tracks) is slow and melacholy; however it rises above the sluggishness that dogs Denny's later work, and the band are muscular without being unduly heavy.

  1. Nothing More (written & sung by Denny)
  2. The Sea (written & sung by Denny)
  3. The Ballad of Ned Kelly (written & sung by Lucas)
  4. Winter Winds (written & sung by Denny)
  5. Peace in the End (Denny/Lucas)
  6. The Way I Feel (written by Gordon Lightfoot & sung by Lucas)
  7. The Pond and the Stream (written & sung by Denny)
  8. Too Much of Nothing (written by Bob Dylan, sung by Lucas)
  9. Banks of the Nile (Traditional, sung by Denny)
  10. Two Last Weeks in Summer (written by Dave Cousins, sung by Denny)
  11. CD only
  12. Gypsy Davey (Traditional, sung by Denny)
  13. CD only

The song "Fotheringay" is a Sandy Denny composition imagining Mary, Queen of Scots on the eve of her execution.

Released versions include:

  1. home demo, on The Attic Tracks Vol. 3. Sandy plays guitar.
  2. first official release on the Fairport Convention album What We Did On Our Holidays. Acoustic guitar: Denny & Richard Thompson; autoharp: Simon Nicol; bells: Martin Lamble; bass: Ashley Hutchings; backing vocals: all. Compilation appearances include The History Of Fairport Convention & Meet On The Ledge: The Classic Years 1967-1975 (both Fairport Convention), Sandy Denny No More Sad Refrains, and Ashley Hutchings The Guv'nor Vol 4.
  3. BBC Top Gear session 26 August 1969, on A Chronicle Of Sorts (bootleg) and the Fairport unConventioNal box-set.
  4. "Symonds on Sunday" (Piccadilly Radio), recorded February 4, 1969, on Fairport Convention album Heyday, and the earlier fan-traded bootleg tape of the same name.

Cover versions: Vikki Clayton It Suits Me Well (1994), Marja Mattlar "Olipa kerran" single (1994), Wendy Stewart About Time 2, Still No Bagpipes Still No Bagpipes. Sandy Denny's band of the same name is not known to have performed this song.

Transcription from Fairport Convention Songbook 2 / Jan Hauenstein

Intro: Am Dm/F Em Am Dm/F Em Am
       
C         G             F                   Am
How often she ...
Em                       Am      G                  Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
        Dm  Em          Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA

Dm/F Em Am
       C           G              F                    Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
Em              Am      G                    Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
        Dm   Em                     Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA

Dm/F Em Am
       
C           G                 F                Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
Em                     Am    G                Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
          Dm  Em            Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA


Instrumental: E4 E A Dm G C F E4 E Am F E4 E A Dm G C F E4 E Am F E4 E A
       
C                G     F              Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
Em                      Am
lyrics deleted to comply with DMCA
       G      Am
... the lonely Fotheringay
       
Am/G Am/F# F Am Dm/F E4 E A Dm G C F E4 E Am F E4 E A

Sources: AMG All Music Guide, http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/sandy.denny, and liner notes from the abovementioned albums.

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