This song was recorded by Fotheringay (Sandy Denny, piano; Jerry Donahue, electric guitar; Pat Donaldson, bass; Gerry Conway,
drums; Trevor Lucas, acoustic guitar) in Autumn 1970 at Sound Techniques. The instrumental track served as the basis for three
- The first version to appear was released in 1971 on the Island sampler El Pea. It is a bonus track on the 2005 CD reissue
of The North Star Grassman and the Ravens and finally found its proper place in 2008 on the Fotheringay 2 CD.
- Sandy redubbed her vocals and Richard Thompson added guitar for the version released on her first solo album, The North
Star Grassman and the Ravens, on the compilation Listen, Listen, and on the 2CD anthology No More Sad Refrains.
- A version without Richard Thompson, but with the second vocal track appeared on the Who Knows Where the Time Goes? box set, on The Best of Sandy Denny and on A Boxful of Treasures, though all claimed to contain the El Pea version. Late editions of the WKWTTG box set identified this as an “alternate
A live studio recording from August 24, 1971 for the BBC Radio 1 show “Sounds of the Seventies”,
hosted by Bob Harris, was broadcast on September 6, 1971 and published both on the 1997 CD The BBC Sessions 1971-73 and on the 3CD+DVD set Live at the BBC of 2007. The latter box also has on its DVD Sandy's only remaining TV appearance, recorded September 15, 1971
for the BBC TV show “One in Ten: Sandy Denny”. This set included The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Crazy
Lady Blues, and Late November.
The wine it was drunk, the ship it was sunk,
The shot it was dead, all the sorrows were drowned.
The birds they
were clouds, the brides and the shrouds
And as we drew south the mist it came down.
The wooded ravine to the wandering
The serpent he moved, but no-one would say.
The depths of the waters, the bridge which distraught us
brought to me thoughts of the ill-fated day.
The temples were filled with the strangest of creatures
it by ear on the banks of the sea.
That one was found but the others they went under.
Oh the tears which are shed, they
won't come from me.
The methods of madness, the pathos and the sadness,
God help you all, the insane and wise.
black and the white, the darkness of the night,
I see only smoke from the chimneys arise.
The pilot he flew all
across the sky and woke me.
He flew solo on the mercury sea.
The dream it came back, all about the tall brown people,
sacred young herd on the phosphorus sand.