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John the Gun

[Sandy Denny]

Sandy Denny recorded several versions of John the Gun, which is one of her best known songs:

  1. The original recordings in late 1970 for the abortive second Fotheringay album finally found their way on the 2008 CD Fotheringay 2.
  2. A Fotheringay live performance at Grugahalle, Essen, Germany, on 23 October 1970 was included in 2011 on the concert recording Essen 1970.
  3. A Fotheringay performance filmed for “Beat Club” of Radio Bremen, Germany, in October 1970 wasn’t actually broadcast on that programme. It was included in 2015 on the DVD of Fotheringay’s Universal anthology Nothing More.
  4. A Fotheringay performance on BBC Radio “Sound of the Seventies”, hosted by Bob Harris, recorded on 15 November 1970 and broadcast on 21 December, was included in 2015 on Nothing More too.
  5. Sandy’s studio version appeared in 1971 on her first solo album, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, and was included in her 2CD anthology No More Sad Refrains. Sandy was accompanied by Richard Thompson, electric guitar; Pat Donaldson, bass; Gerry Conway, drums; Ian Whiteman, piano; Trevor Lucas, acoustic guitar and vocals; Barry Dransfield, violin and vocals; Royston Wood and Robin Dransfield, vocals. There is a “Guv’nor violin solo” by Barry Dransfield and angry guitar work by Richard.
  6. A live version recorded at the Paris Theatre, London, on 16 March 1972 for BBC “Radio 1 in Concert” and broadcast on 25 March 1972 was released in 1997 on The BBC Sessions 1971-73 and in 2007 on the 3CD+DVD set Live at the BBC.
  7. The Live at the BBC box set contains a further live recording from November 1972 for the BBC Radio 1 show “Sounds on Sunday”, hosted by Johnny Moran, and broadcast on 3 December 1972.
  8. A Fairport Convention live version (with Donahue, Lucas, Mattacks, Pegg and Swarbrick) was recorded on 26 January 1974 at the Sydney Opera House, Australia and appeared in the same year on Fairport’s Live album and in 1986 on Sandy’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes box set.
  9. Another Fairport performance live at the L.A. Troubadour, Los Angeles on 1 February 1974 was included in 2004 on the 5 CD Sandy Denny anthology A Boxful of Treasures.
  10. A third Fairport live performance from May 1974 at Ebbets Field, Denver, Colorado was released in 2002 on the bonus CD on Before the Moon.
  11. A live recording probably from 31 October 1975 at Brunel University, Uxbridge is on the 2004 Talking Elephant CD Who Knows? The Woodworm Archives Vol. 1.

Cover Versions

  1. Fairport Convention with Richard Thompson live at Cropredy 1984 on From Past Archives (1992)
  2. Fairport Convention live at Cropredy 1987 on the cassette The Third Leg - 1987 Fairport Reunion (1987)
  3. Richard Thompson with Christine Collister (vocals), Clive Gregson (guitar and vocals), Ruari McFarlane (bass) and Gerry Conway (drums) live at the Ark, Ann Arbor in March 1985; released on the fan club cassette Doom and Gloom II (Over My Dead Body) (1991) and on the charity album Georgia on Our Mind (1997)
  4. The Fatima Mansions on the anthology Peace Together (1993)
  5. Vikki Clayton on her album It Suits Me Well (1994)
  6. Jolene on their album Antic Ocean (2000)
  7. Bryony Holden on her album Across the Purple Sky (2013)
  8. Wilson & Swarbrick on their album Lion Rampant (2014)


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