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Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief CD (album) cover

LIEGE & LIEF

Fairport Convention

 

Prog Related

3.62 | 79 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Liege & Lief is the fourth studio album from UK folk/ rock act Fairport Convention and itīs the third album the band would release in 1969. Itīs also the third and last album with Sandy Denny ( She would return a couple of years later, but thatīs another story). The first being What We Did On Our Holidays and the second being Unhalfbricking. Liege & Lief was written and recorded during the summer of 1969. Producer Joe Boyd has installed the band in a large English country house and the band had set up their rehearsal gear in one of the large downstairs livingrooms. In the spring of 1969 the band had been struck by tragedy when drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompsonīs girlfriend Jeannie Taylor were killed in a car crash and the band was at that time unsure if they wished to continue. After a while the band got the pieces together and set out to record their next album. A new drummer Dave Mattacks and Violinist Dave Swarbrick ( who had guested on Unhalfbricking) were added to the lineup.

It was decided that they would start from scratch to prevent them from being reminded about the dead too often. This means that many of the songs on Liege & Lief are traditional british folk songs which has been re-arranged by the band. In fact only three out of the eight songs on the original release were written by members of the band and thatīs come All Ye, Farewell, Farewell and Crazy Man Michael. That doesnīt mean that the music has changed that much since Unhalfbricking IMO. Unhalfbricking was also pretty folky if you ask me.

The difference is the mood on Liege & Lief which I think reflects the sad mood the members must have been in at the time. There are some truly beautiful songs on the album and Iīll mention the powerful Matty Groves as my favorite, but also songs like The Deserter, Tam Lin and Raynardine are excellent. Only Medley : The Lark In The Morning/ Rakish Paddy/ Foxhunter's Jig/ Toss The Feathers is below standard and thatīs just because it doesnīt suit my taste. I just canīt stand the dirtkickin`, leather jiggin` violin led piece.

The two bonus tracks which has been added to the CD re-release are also great songs. I especially enjoy Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood. Fairport Conventionīs version of The End.

The musicianship is excellent. Sandy Denny is a strong female vocalist. She really gave Fairport Convention their identity in that period. I also enjoy the great interplay between the two guitarists.

The production is really well done. It suits the music perfectly. Warm and pleasant.

Liege & Lief is a notch better than Unhalfbricking IMO and deserves a 4 star rating. I canīt claim that this is music I listen to very often but this exact album ( and the debut) has something special that canīt be taught or practised. Itīs got real emotions. Out of the three Sandy Denny led albums this is by far my favorite from Fairport Convention. Sadly Sandy and bassist Ashley Hutchings would leave the band shortly after the recording of the album.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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