Song of the Day, April 6: The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood by Sandy Denny

SandyQuietJoysToday’s song is the finest version of a beautiful folk blend. Folk musician and poet Richard Fariña wrote The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood shortly before his death in a motorcycle accident in 1966. He intended to set it to the music of the Irish ballad My Lagan Love, and Pete Seeger recorded it that way on his 1966 album God Bless the Grass, remarking on the song’s “admiration for nature.”

Sandy Denny loved the song, and recorded a version with Fairport Convention for Liege and Lief. It didn’t fit the feel of the album and was shelved, finally emerging on the box set Who Knows Where the Time Goes a decade after her death. Sandy wouldn’t let it go, however, and crafted a mesmerizing version for her second solo album, Sandy. The track is the centerpiece of the powerful disc, lovingly crafted and hauntingly evocative. Denny multitracked her stirring vocals, creating an a cappella chorus of breathtaking beauty. The song slowly builds, capturing the majesty of Fariña’s lyrics, celebrating nature’s power and offering a warning if we treat it lightly. Long-time friend Dave Swarbrick provides a violin coda that wraps up the track on just the right note.

The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood is one of Richard Fariña’s finest lyrics, Sandy Denny’s most affecting vocals, and Dave Swarbrick’s most nuanced performances. That makes for true folk magic.

Enjoy this beautiful song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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