Maartin Allcock (transcriber), The Complete Sandy Denny Songbook (Squiggle Records, 2005)

It has been 27 years since Sandy Denny died, but somehow her music seems more alive now than it ever has. Her old band, Fairport Convention, keep the flame alight by regularly performing her anthem, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes", and though she may not have reached the status of her contemporary Nick Drake to those mostly hooked up in the rock world, Sandy Denny is a legend in folk and folk rock circles.

There has been a well researched Sandy Denny biography, a number of CD collections and now the artefact we all have been waiting for, the songbook, is here. The book was transcribed by Maartin Allcock, a former Fairport member (though he joined seven years after Sandy's death, he has two Fairport songbooks to his name, and is working on three Richard Thompson songbooks). With the successes of the Fairport books, hopes were high for this one. After all the last Sandy Denny songbook was released in the early 1970s and has been out of print for more than 30 years.

Claiming to be a complete songbook, it holds all songs Sandy wrote, or co-wrote. There are songs from her two stints with Fairport, a few written for Fotheringay and a number of songs from her solo album. But the traditional songs she adapted and arranged are not indluded, so do not expect "The Banks of the Nile". But with 52 songs The Complete Sandy Denny Songbook is still an effort well worth your time and money. After all it holds such treasures as "Fotheringay", "Winter Winds", "Solo", "Late November" and "By the Time It Gets Dark".

Compared to the Fairport books the layout has improved. Most of the songs are laid out over one or two pages, allowing you to perform them without turnings pages. There are chord boxes for every chord, all intros and interludes are transcribed, and Allcock has used a smooth, easy-to-read font for the text.

The book is well illustrated with pictures, some previously unpublished, and for some of the songs Allcock has found Denny's own tales of how she wrote them. All in all you can feel Maartin Allcock's love of Sandy Denny's music straight through this book. And as a reader, or should I say singer or player, you are hooked by this love. I can not wait to finish this review to start playing the songs. And I must say I wait in anticipation for the forthcoming three books of Richard Thompson songs Allcock is currently working on.

And a piece of advice: Do not hesitate to buy this one. The print run is limited to 1,000 copies.

[Lars Nilsson]