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Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.78 | 134 ratings

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4 stars Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)

As my search for pleasant or progressive folk rock continues and can't help stumbling apon Fairport Convention's Liege and Lief. This particular album of the band is been referred to as a starting point for a lot of conventional folk influenced folk-rock. Even in my home- country one can it's influence in the wave of Dutch folk that came to being after '75 with bands like the Frisian Irolt (recommended to folk collectors!).

Though folk-rock already existed, it had largely been focussed on the song-writing styled folk-song like Donovan or Pearls Before swine (among many others) would make in the second part of the sexties. Fairport Convention has build a bridge between the authentical folky compositions with recognisable guitar patterns, flutes and violins and the still blues influenced rock music of the time (we're talking about '69 here). The strong use of folky rhythmical patterns and 'church'-scales really help to create a soothing, warm, non- threathning atmosphere that might even attract some of your non-prog and female friends. Furthermore, the female vocals of Sandy Denny prove to be a daring but successful addition to the atmospheres the band creates. As Bonnek states, it's not that easy to find rock-styled bands with convincing female vocals.

It is noteworthy the production of this record is kind of brilliant for it's time of release. Though the violins could have been recorded a bit more directly for my tastes, I must admit the album has a full and acceptable polished sound. The sound hasn't dated that much and I was kind of suprised when just read this album was from '69, I would have put money on saying it was released during the '73-'74 period.

The album has ten tracks that all fit in nicely. The instrumental piece Medley stands out as a bit too conventional with it's pint-bar instrumental atmosphere. The ballads with long rests in the instrumenal department really show the vocal capabilities of Sandy Denny, whilst some of the instrumental parts during other tracks remind us of the prog-folk that was soon to come in the beginning of the seventes progressive period. Some rock-guitars with gentle distortion are a welcome distraction, though in most songs the musical accents are made with a powerfull rock worthy sound.

Conclusion. Ground-braking, yet non-bombastic folk rock with an traditional approach to composition and song-writing. A great album for '69 and still a soothing folk record today. The progressive part of folk-prog isn't the focus here, but one can hear other prog-folk bands are inspired by this release. Three and a halve stars, but I think I'll extend them to the upper end. Recommended to fans of folk-rock, those interested in the development of the genre and people searching for relaxing, soothing music.

friso | 4/5 |


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