Richard and Linda Thompson – “Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?”

Hiya people! πŸ™‚

A very interesting song I have for you today. I got first fascinated and hooked on British folk rock I guess some time in 2015 and it was around then that I first became familiar with this couple’s music, both what they have recorded together and separately. My favourite British folk rock artist from the 70’s is unquestionably Sandy Denny (who almost managed to become one of my major faza people but even though it didn’t happen due to Vreeswijk still standing strong in the dominant faza position I still love her music very much) and thus all of the bands that she was a member of. One of those bands and probably one with which she’s most strongly associated was Fairport Convention, through which I’ve also become acquainted with Richard Thompson’s music, as he was one of the founders of the band, as well as the lead guitarist and songwriter for it. I think he’s a really good lyricist and there are a fair few songs by him that I like mostly because of interesting or otherwise captivating lyrics.

This is one of the very first songs by them as a duo that I’ve ever heard, thanks to Last.fm where I’d made my first British folk rock discoveries, and aside from appreciating Linda’s vocals and the arrangement in general, I got intrigued immediately by the lyrics and every time I listened to these lyrics afterwards I kept wondering, did she jump, or was she pushed? πŸ˜€ I don’t like crime novels, detective fiction books, I don’t even read a lot of mystery, I think a lot of it is horribly overrated and just not my thing, but I like lyrics which are like stories. Then later on I was wondering whether “she” was someone specific so I did a bit of research, and no, she’s not, I don’t think so, although in one interview Richard Thompson said that, after writing this, he realised that

“it could be about Sandy Denny”,

or some other people he knew. He didn’t say specifically that it IS, and I doubt he had a clear intention of writing a song about her specifically, also I haven’t heard of her death ever being suspected to be a murder, but, thinking about it in general, the similarity is a bit eerie. Sandy Denny had a lot of mental health issues, a lot of it sounds like she could be bipolar, and one way in which she regularly self-harmed, or, as some people say, tried to get attention, was by throwing herself down from stairs, which was supposed to be something like a party trick. She also abused alcohol and drugs so she experienced a lot of accidental falls due to that as well. One time she hit her head on concrete when falling down a staircase during holidays in Cornwall. She had a lot of headaches afterwards and was prescribed a painkiller which can potentially be fatal in combination with alcohol. In April 1978, she stayed at her friend’s house alone, and was eventually found unconscious at the foot of the stairs. She went into a coma due to brain haemorrhage and died in hospital a few days later. So upon discovering this connection, albeit so dark and eerie, between this song and Sandy, I grew to appreciate it even more.

This song comes from the couple’s last collaborative album before their breakup – “Shoot Out The Lights” – and is the only song on the album and I guess also the only or one of very few songs of the duo to which the lyrics weren’t written solely by Richard but co-written with his then-wife.

Fairport Convention – Crazy Man Michael.

Hi. πŸ™‚

I wanted to show you another of my favourite Fairport Convention’s songs today. This one was written by Richard Thompson, who is another important figure for English folk-rock. Before I heard this song sung by Sandy Denny, I knew this song in Eilis Kennedy’s arrangement, she is an Irish singer from Dingle and although she isn’t very widely known, and maybe because of that too, I really like her. I found the lyrics very interesting too, so when I’ve got to know Sandy’s and FC’s music I liked this song even more.

Fairport Convention – “Tam Lin”.

Hi. πŸ™‚

Today I have another Fairport Convention’s song, and it is also a traditional ballad. I just love it in their version. It is a Scottish ballad and I’ve been familiar with it for quite a while. When I was younger and at home, Mum often used to read fairytales for me, which resulted in my love for them and for all kinds of myths, legends and folklore stuff. And she had one book with Scottish fairytales which I particularly enjoyed, and there was a fairytale about Tam Lin, one of my favourites i that volume. So I was very happy to see years later that one of my favourite female singers – Sandy Denny – made it with her band.

Fairport Convention – Reynardine.

Hi! πŸ™‚

Haven’t posted any English ballads in a while, so today it’ll change. Here is an old English ballad, very popular in 19th century, of course known in very many interesting and less interesting versions, which is also one of the ballads in the Roud’s Ballads collection. I like it a lot. This version is my favourite and it is also one of my most favourite Fairport Convention’s, and Sandy’s, songs. In the next few days I suppose you can expect more music from Sandy Denny and the bands she collaborated with, I really think she deserves more attention, and not only in the UK.

Music Monday Blog Party – Fairport Convention – Fotheringay.

So now as I wrote all the belated posts from yesterday, time for theΒ Music Monday Blog Party

at the Bee’s, which is a lot of fun, so do join us if you’d like to.

As for my celebrations, I’ve had a rough couple of days recently with lots of anxiety and stuff, so today I’m recovering. And feeling better so far. I did have only one hour of sleep though, which is extremely weird because as I went to bed last night I felt incredibly sleepy and exhausted and I dozed off immediately, but woke up after an hour and that was it. So I got up very early, had coffee with Mum, we had a very yummy breakfast of shortbread with some creemy cheese. I spend the day just chilling out, well you don’t feel up to much after an hour of sleep, I actually feel quite groggy already and would most willingly go to sleep but try to be disciplined and think that if I’ll do it now I’ll be awake at night and get another Zombie day. My Mum has made split pea soup for lunch which is spicy and very yummy and we also have some cocoa yeast cake and Zofijka and me had a little piece of it and it’s yummy as well, so today I’m celebrating with chilling out and eating yummy things. And that would be it.

As for the music, the song of the day for today is by the classic British folk-rock group called Fairport Convention. I am a big big fan of their former vocalist Sandy Denny who unfortunately passed away way too soon, just in her early thirties. I got to know Fairport Convention and Sandy and other bands with whom she collaborated during my crush on Vreeswijk and I must say I was really sort of concerned that she’s gonna dominate him and become my strongest musical crush, same situation was with Emilie Autumn back in the day but none of them succeeded finally to get there and replace him at that moment. πŸ˜€ But I still absolutely adore her music. I’ve first heard about her quite a while after I’ve become familiar with the world of Celtic music and British folklore and British folk music so I was deeply surprised I still didn’t know her and then even more surprised to realise that it was she who wrote the lyrics to many songs I’ve already known from other artists and really liked, and I was happy it was she who made them, she’s just so fantastic. Sandy was one of the first British folk-rock musicians. She was the vocalist in Fairport Convention, also founded the band Fotheringay, and released a few solo albums. As so many other great artists, she didn’t have a good life, poor thing, she was oscillating between manic and depressive states so guess she was bipolar, and abused drugs and alcohol. She tended to self harm by falling down the staircases and stuff like that which indirectly led toΒ  her death, she had some very severe brain injuries.

To be honest I looked at all the other albums of Fairport Convention and of Fotheringay, without Sandy, and I don’t like them at all. I mean I like a lot of British classic rock or folk-rock or folk, but they’ve just become colourless without her.

The song I want to show you was written and composed by Sandy and it’s called “Fotheringay” after the Fotheringay Castle, or actually about Mary Queen of Scots who’d been imprisoned there. And Sandy’s band – The Fotheringay – was named so after this song.

I think it is so beautiful and moving, and I like it also because I find the history of Britain fascinating, and because I am always interested in women figures from the past like queens for example, and I find Mary Stuart a very interesting character, well most people do I think.