Album of the Week - Fairport Convention

Well two albums, actually. Unhalfbricking and Liege and Lief. Transition and Tragedy. That sort of sums up that bit of the Fairports' continuing evolution. Both released in 1969, the year of years for music, one before the death of Martin Lamble and one after. It could have all ended there, with the band's van crashing on the M1.

Fairport Convention is synonymous, for better or for worse, with the phrase "folk rock". During the course of these two albums, the tensions caused by this emerging genre caused a split - one of many - in the band and much debate about where it was all going. You ask who has been in Fairport Convention and the answer seems to be, "everybody". Not only that a good few of them have been members of Jethro Tull.

The light, beguiling and soulful voice of Sandy Denny, The strength of Richard Thompson's compositions and a freshness in the overall production made these albums the classics they are.

After Liege and Lief it could have all fallen apart once more with Ashley Hutchings and Sandy Denny moving on. Sadly, Sandy Denny died in 1978 after sustaining a head injury. In one shape or form Fairport Convention remains to this day, enshrined in British musical history as a core component, and living and breathing at the Cropredy Festival. As one wag put it, Fairport did for real ale what the Grateful Dead did for LSD.


a.c.t said...

Well you never fail to impress. I was brought up on the music of Fairport Convention. Sandy Denny's Who Know's where the time goes is one of my favourites and will haunt me for ever. I went to see them with my Dad last year at the Y-Theatre in Leicester - ageing rockers they were and they obviously missed a great female vocalist but certain songs such as the Hanging Song will always sound great....

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