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No More Sad Refrains
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Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
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At The End Of The Day

January 1971

The North Star Grassman & The Ravens 1971
Island ILPS 9165 1971

The North Star Grassman & The Ravens
Sandy Denny
Island ILPS 9165
Recorded at Sound Techniques, Basing Street and Air studios, May 1971.
Produced by Sandy Denny - Richard Thompson and John Wood.
Engineer: John Wood.

Sandy Denny (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano) /  Richard 
Thompson (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, accordion) / Trevor Lucas (acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, background vocals) / Jerry Donahue (electric guitar) / Buddy Emmons (pedal steel guitar) / Barry Dransfield (violin, background vocals) / Ian Whiteman (piano, flute organ) / Pat Donaldson (bass) / Gerry Conway, Roger Powell (drums) / Royston Woods, Robin Dransfield (background vocals).

Following her celebrated first stint with Fairport Convention and the dissolution of the short-lived folk rock super-group Fotheringay, Denny recorded a run of fine solo albums during the '70s. The Northstar Grassman and the Ravens, the first of those solo albums, was co-produced and engineered by the ever-reliable John Wood. It's business as usual as far as participating musicians go. Denny's former Fotheringay companions are present, and ex-Fairport guitar prodigy Richard Thompson is all over the album. Freed of the compromises of a democratic group, Denny is able to concentrate on her own material. However, she also finds room for a fine arrangement of the traditional "Blackwaterside," a dip into her beloved rock & roll on "Let's Jump the Broomstick," and the obligatory Dylan cover, "Down In The Flood." But it is the quality of the original material that marks this album. Finest are the plaintive "Next Time Around," with a delicate string arrangement by Harry Robinson, and the moody "Late November." "John the Gun" is vintage folk rock, featuring fiddler Barry Dransfield, who is joined on stirring backing vocals by brother Robin and by Royston Wood (ex-Young Tradition).

 
The North Star Grassman and the Ravens
 
They stood upon the deck
As the ship went out to sea.
The wind it took the sails
And left the land a memory.
All upon the shore for
To wonder why the sailor goes.
All to close their eyes
And wonder what the sailor knows.

That is you to them,
That is how they think you are.
Never on the land,
But sailing by the North Star.
 
To the tower and to the ravens
And the tale that hopes they'll never leave.
What if they should go?
We always dread to think of them.
I wonder if they flew one day
And no-one ever knew they'd gone
To circle over ships at sea,
Claiming yet another son.

That is you to me,
That is where I think you are.
Never on the land,
But gone to find the North Star.
 
[Sandy Denny]
 
(Copyright 1971 Warlock Music)

 side one
 
1 . Late November
 
2. Blackwaterside
 
3. The Sea Captain
 
4. Down In The Flood
 
5. John The Gun
 
side two
 
1. Next Time Around
 
2. The Optimist
 
3. Let's Jump The Broomstick
 
4. Wretched Wilbur
 
5. The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
 
6. Crazy Lady Blues

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