By the Time it Gets Dark


As noted in my End of the Road podcast, Yo La Tengo finished their Friday night headline slot at the festival with this, which has always been one of my favourite of their tunes.  Thing is, at the festival they announced it as a Sandy Denny song, which was the first I had ever heard of it.

I know most of you likely to be reading this are music obsessives the same as me, and need no introduction to Sandy Denny, but I thought I might as well explain who she is in the off chance you don’t know.  She worked briefly with Strawbs, before joining Fairport Convention in 1968.  She sung the lead on their legendary Liege & Lief album, but ultimately buggered off to do her own thing, until her considerable appetite for drugs and alcohol destroyed her relationships with pretty much every musician she worked with.  In ’78 she died of a brain haemorrhage.

So a sad little story really, but she had a truly glorious voice and By the Time it Gets Dark is just a gorgeous song.  If ever there was a short, poignant definition of what being in a family is all about it is this: the weariness with the outside world, and the desire to spend some time together doing not very much; the simple happiness of being with people you care about.  Fair brings a tear to my eye, so it does.

Sandy Denny – By the Time it Gets Dark
Yo La Tengo – By the Time it Gets Dark

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