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FAIRPORT CONVENTION

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Fairport Convention picture
Fairport Convention biography
Founded in London, UK in 1967 - Recording hiatus 1979-1984 - Reformed in 1985 and still active as of 2018

FAIRPORT CONVENTION was formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson (guitar & vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar & vocals, viola), Ashley Hutchings (bass), Judy DYBLE (vocals) and Shaun Frater (drums). Before the release of their first record Shaun Frater was replaced by Martin Lamble and Ian (Matthews) Mc Donald (vocals & guitar) joined the band. FAIRPORT CONVENTION plays Folk-Rock influenced by British-Folk, American-Folk-Rock, Blues, Country, Cajun and American songwriters like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Tim Buckley and Joni Mitchell.

In 1968 they made their first recording 'Fairport Convention' for Polydor with Joe Boyd as producer. The record was mainly influenced by American-Folk and contained covers of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Later that year they signed to 'Island Records' and the departing Judy Dyble was replaced by Sandy Denny (Ex-STRAWBS) who would compose some of the band's finest compositions. In 1969 FAIRPORT CONVENTION released their second record 'What Did We Do On Our Holidays' introducing for the first time Traditional-Folk and the beautiful 'Fotheringay' by Sandy Denny. Their third record 'Unhalfbricking' (1969) concentrated more on acoustic arrangements and contained a French-sung version of Bob Dylan's 'If You Gotta Go' and the Sandy Denny signature song 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes?'. The record introduced later fulltime member Dave Swarbrick on fiddle. After the recording the band was struck by tragedy when Martin Lamble was killed in the crash of their tour van. With their fourth record 'Liege and Lief '(1969), that contained mainly Traditional-Folk-Songs, the band moved into the field of British-Folk-Rock. After the recording Sandy Deny left to form FOTHERINGAY, while Ashley Hutchings left to form STEELEYE SPAN. With Dave Pegg joining on bass the band recorded 'Full House' (1970), another classic FAIRPORT CONVENTION record and the last with Richard Thompsonbefore he left to become a solo recording artist. In 1971 they recorded 'Angel Delight' and the concept album 'Babbacombe Lee'. For the rest of the 70's the band went through a constant change of musicians. In 1974 Sandy Denny rejoined the band for a tour that is documented on the live recording 'Live Convention' (1974). Sandy Denny stayed with the band to record another studio-record 'Rising Fo...
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FAIRPORT CONVENTION discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FAIRPORT CONVENTION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 68 ratings
Fairport Convention
1968
3.61 | 91 ratings
What We Did On Our Holidays
1969
3.72 | 110 ratings
Unhalfbricking
1969
3.82 | 149 ratings
Liege & Lief
1969
3.67 | 79 ratings
Full House
1970
3.17 | 46 ratings
Angel Delight
1971
3.74 | 59 ratings
'Babbacombe' Lee
1971
2.38 | 41 ratings
Rosie
1973
2.91 | 40 ratings
Nine
1973
3.37 | 46 ratings
Rising For The Moon
1975
1.56 | 28 ratings
Gottle O' Geer
1976
2.51 | 25 ratings
The Bonny Bunch Of Roses
1977
3.03 | 23 ratings
Tipplers Tales
1978
3.16 | 15 ratings
Gladys' Leap
1985
2.16 | 12 ratings
Expletive Delighted !
1986
3.44 | 17 ratings
Red & Gold
1988
2.94 | 17 ratings
The Five Seasons
1990
3.75 | 20 ratings
Jewel In The Crown
1995
2.90 | 10 ratings
Old New Borrowed Blue
1996
3.66 | 17 ratings
Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
1997
3.12 | 15 ratings
The Wood And The Wire
1999
3.74 | 12 ratings
XXXV - The 35th Anniversary Album (1967 / 2002)
2001
3.30 | 15 ratings
Over The Next Hill
2004
2.55 | 11 ratings
Sense Of Occasion
2007
2.46 | 11 ratings
Festival Bell
2011
4.00 | 8 ratings
By Popular Request
2012
3.32 | 10 ratings
Myths And Heroes
2015
2.75 | 4 ratings
50:50 @50
2017

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 22 ratings
Live Convention
1974
3.96 | 19 ratings
House Full
1977
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live at the L.A. Troubadour
1977
3.17 | 10 ratings
Farewell, Farewell
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Airing Cupboard Tapes '71 - '74
1981
3.67 | 6 ratings
Moat on the Ledge
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
In Real Time (Live '87)
1987
4.00 | 1 ratings
25th Anniversary Concert
1993
4.50 | 3 ratings
The Cropredy Box
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Before the Moon
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
From Cropredy to Portmeirion
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
Festival: Cropredy 2002
2003
4.83 | 3 ratings
Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2
2005
4.50 | 4 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
2.00 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
2008
3.00 | 3 ratings
Dirty linen / Live At The Marlowe Theatre
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ebbets Feild 1974
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Babbacombe Lee - Live Again
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At My Father's Place 1974
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Finland -1971
2016

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Cropredy Festival 2001
2001
3.12 | 6 ratings
Live At The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (DVD)
2003
4.00 | 4 ratings
The 35th Anniversary Concert
2003
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2007

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 20 ratings
The History Of Fairport Convention
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fairport Chronicles
1976
3.03 | 13 ratings
Heyday BBC Radio Sessions 1968-1969
1987
3.18 | 2 ratings
The Woodworm Years
1991
4.05 | 2 ratings
Fiddlestix, The Best of Fairport 1972-1984
1998
4.98 | 6 ratings
Meet on the Ledge - The Classic Years 1967-1975
1999
4.50 | 4 ratings
Then & Now 1982-1996 The Best Of Fairport Convention
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fairport Unconventional
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chronicles
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Who Knows? The Woodworm Archives - Vol. One
2005
3.19 | 8 ratings
Fame And Glory
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Come All Ye: The First Ten Years
2017

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
If I Had a Ribbon Bow
1968
2.00 | 1 ratings
If (Stomp) / Chelsea Morning
1968
4.00 | 1 ratings
I'll Keep It with Mine
1969
4.50 | 2 ratings
Si Tu Dois Partir
1969
5.00 | 2 ratings
Now Be Thankful
1970
5.00 | 1 ratings
John Lee
1972
5.00 | 1 ratings
Rosie
1973
5.00 | 1 ratings
White Dress
1975
5.00 | 1 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
1987

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Rising For The Moon by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.37 | 46 ratings

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Rising For The Moon
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rising For the Moon was a last roll of the dice for Fairport Convention; they'd got Sandy Denny back, giving a welcome additional dimension to the band which had been missing since Liege & Lief (they'd done no less than five albums between that and this without female vocals at all), and they shifted style accordingly, moving away from the comparatively straightforward Brit-country of Rosie and Nine in favour of a taste of their classic electric folk approach comprehensively updated for the mid-1970s. In short, it was their big bid for a commercial breakthrough of the sort which their offshoot, Steeleye Span, had already accomplished.

On that level, it didn't work; it found its way into the UK album charts, for sure, but nowhere near the level that Steeleye had been accomplishing with albums like Now We Are Six, Commoners' Crown, or All Around My Hat, and after peaking at number 52 it faded away. And to some, the classic era of Steeleye Span faded away with it. Sandy Denny left again and after putting out her final solo album (Rendezvous) would die tragically young, perpetually closing the door on further reunions.

The band staggered on, with further departures hitting the lineup, and after knocking out Gottle o' Geer - one of those contractual obligation albums where the artists can't even be bothered to sound enthusiastic - they would sign to Vertigo, producing a couple of releases so tepidly received that eventually the label bought them out of their contract rather than insisting on them producing the four studio albums they'd signed on for. Patchy reunions here and there led to the group eventually re-coalescing, but to some listeners the magic had gone away, at least as far as their studio releases went, and it's certainly the case that none of their latter-day albums have really seemed as musically important as their run from the debut to this.

So, even though strictly speaking this album wasn't the end for Fairport Convention or Sandy Denny, it's hard to listen to it now without feeling a sense of finality in the air. None of the participants knew it would be the last time Sandy would grace a Fairport album - indeed, everyone was hoping that it would be quite the opposite - but as a listener, knowing that it is only enhances the moody, melancholic, nocturnal atmosphere of the album.

Stylistically speaking, this sounds a lot like Steeleye Span - with the folk-rock dial turned closer to rock than was typical for Fairport Convention, and both the "folk" and "rock" sides of that equation sounding more like Steeleye's approach to those than Fairport. It's a subtle distinction, not least because Steeleye Span started out by building on the foundation laid by Liege & Lief, but if you compare the different routes Steeleye and Fairport's music took in the intervening six years or so, this feels more like the product Steeleye's musical evolution than it does a direct followup to Rosie or Nine.

It might be an imitation, but it's a damn good one - as you'd expect from musicians who understood the roots of this particular folk-rock sound better than anyone, because they had a direct hand in laying those roots to begin with. If this is the end of Fairport's golden age, this is as good a send-off as could perhaps be expected under the circumstances - and is certainly a big step up from Nine.

 Nine by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.91 | 40 ratings

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Nine
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fairport Convention's ninth album doesn't exactly put its best foot forwards; combining an unimaginative title with a zero-effort cover, you'd have every reason to expect to hear the band phoning it in when you put it on.

As it stands, though, I actually think it has a mild edge on its preceding album, Rosie. It helps that the group seem to be more unambiguously committing to the sort of Brit-country approach which they'd tested in a slightly lukewarm fashion on Rosie.

Is it the style listeners typically look to Fairport Convention for? No, not really, but it's an interesting attempt at something related but different and the band at least seem to have a bit more enthusiasm and verve this time around.

 Rosie by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.38 | 41 ratings

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Rosie
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After Fairport Convention rekindled their ambitions with "Babbacombe" Lee, it's unfortunate that they should have followed it up with such an unambitious release as Rosie. It's not that it's flat-out bad, it's just that it's a little bland - why, even the cover art suggests mediocre wallpaper in a mid-range suburban cul-de-sac house. The performances are good, but the material feels awfully simplistic.

At its best, the simplicity feels like part of the point - Fairport almost hitting on a "Brit-country" style. Nonetheless, it still feels like their weakest effort since their self-titled debut album, but whereas that falls slightly short due to the band not having hit on their sound yet, Rosie falls down because of the band getting just a little too comfortable with their sound.

 'Babbacombe' Lee by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.74 | 59 ratings

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'Babbacombe' Lee
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After several albums hit by lineup shifts, "Babbacombe" Lee came amidst a period of comparative stability for Fairport Convention, with the same four members recording this as had put together Angel Delight. Whilst the previous lineup had seen them not progressing their music that much, bar for gaining a little more confidence as vocalists, this finds them recovering their ambition, undertaking their first narrative concept album.

There's a touch more rock in their folk-rock formula this time around (usually it leans much more towards folk), perhaps as a consequence of them taking a deliberate "rock opera" approach, and by and large the band do a good job of putting together the compelling narrative of "the man they couldn't hang", with solid original material and well-chosen traditional songs putting together the narrative.

Consisting of five clutches of songs - one for John's boyhood, one for his naval days and him finding employment as a household servant, one to cover the discovery of the murder for which he was accused, one for his trial and imprisonment, and one to tell the tale of how his failed execution led to his sentence being commuted to life - the album reveals that despite any fears to the contrary, Fairport Convention still had something to contribute in the world of British folk rock in the early 1970s, despite acts like Steeleye Span having largely gained more momentum.

 Angel Delight by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.17 | 46 ratings

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Angel Delight
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Just as Full House saw Fairport Convention adjusting to the departure of Sandy Denny, so too did Angel Delight see them adjusting to the departure of Richard Thompson - though he does get writing credits on The Journeyman's Grace and the lively album closer, Sickness & Diseases.

To a certain extent, this is Full House Part 2, with the male vocalists continuing to work on stepping into the gap left by Sandy Denny, and their increased confidence in this realm helps compensate for a comparative lack of musical development over that album. If you enjoyed Full House and fancy more with a similar sound, this won't disappoint - but if you're disinterested in Fairport without Sandy Denny, then this is unlikely to win you over.

 The History Of Fairport Convention by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1972
4.02 | 20 ratings

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The History Of Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Lupton

5 stars First of all I would strongly urge anyone wanting just one album by Fairport Convention to get the recently released Japan double CD which included ALL the tracks off the original double LP.

This album is a perfect introduction to this great band's first era on Island Records and as close to a one-stop-shop as is available.Not all their albums are must-have Classics and this album does an excellent job of cherry picking their most important and enduring tracks.Even with the omission of the "Medley" and "Crazy Man Michael" (both from Liege and Lief-maybe the CD compilers assumed even the casual fan would buy that album anyway- I digress) the album is an immensely enjoyable listen.get this album Liege and Lief and you have pretty much all you need. Well maybe Angel Delight too or the first Folk Rock Opera that is Babbacombe Lee.....

Five stars

 Angel Delight by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.17 | 46 ratings

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Angel Delight
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Lupton

5 stars "Let's Split"

With all the original stars (Sandy Denny,Ashley Hutchings,Richard Thompson) gone it would be fair to assume that Fairport Convention's day would be numbered ar at least the quality would drop dramatically.As it turns out neither happened and The band simply carried on a a four piece with the addition of Dave Pegg on bass. I am going to say straight up that as far as I am concerned, Dave Pegg is a vastly superior bass player to Ashley Hutchings.I will also say that Simon Nicol is a most underrated guitarist and singer.Suddenly the four piece line-up are up to the task.

I might raise the ire of other Fairport Convention fans but much as I love the sheer bravura of Liege and Lief, I actually think Angel Delight is a far better production overall.The performances are tighter, the arrangements leaner without losing their inherent sophistication and the recording is cleaner.They are also more concise and punchier -no drawn out dirgy work outs here.I am not going to give a track by track assessment- just an overall comment that like preceding albums, this album comprises a hugely enjoyable mix of Rocked-up instrumental medleys of Traditional tunes , some elaborate arrangements of traditional songs and a few excellent originals. I really love this album

I know I am going against the grain with this one but I am giving this one five stars

 Liege & Lief by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.82 | 149 ratings

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Liege & Lief
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Lupton

5 stars "A holiday,a holiday and the first one of the year"

In the same way that King Crimson effectively set the template for Progressive Rock with their debut, Fairport Convention effectively set the template for English Folk Rock.It is almost impossible to overstate just how important and influential this album was when it was released.Fairport had dabbled with electrifying English Folk on their previous album with A Sailor's Life". However Leige and Lief almost entirely comprises English Folk songs and tunes with the exception of three songs all of which were played in the same Folk-Rock style.

Particularly impressive is the way the group presents the music.For example with the second track "Reynardine", rather than simply providing a rock beat they provide a haunting atmospheric backing. The first real "rocking" traditional song is "Matty Groves" which features some wild fiddle playing by Dave Swarbrick and the end of the song leads into an energetic instrumental workout.This track is probably the best known track on the album and is still performed over fifty years later.The other "Epic" is Sandy Denny's rousing version of the Scottish song"Tam Lin"signing all twenty verses.

The only purely instrumental track is a medley of traditional tunes including "Rakish Paddy, "Foxhunter's Jigs and Toss the Feathers all performed with fiddle plus electric guitars and bass and the all important full drum set providing the all important rock beat.If any track can claim to "invent" English Folk Rock" it is surely this track.I simply cannot think of an earlier recording of traditional tunes being presented like this.I do not think it would be exaggerating to state Fairport invented English Folk Rock.

Even the originals like the album opener Sandy Denny's "Come All ye" are played in a similar Folk-Rock style so blend in perfectly with the traditional numbers.

Production wise , I would be the first to admit it is a little flat in places and I actually think they improved as a playing entity on later albums especially "Bonny Bunch Of Roses" and "Tippler's Tales" but this album is where it all really began.Neve the less it is still an enjoyable album all these decades later.

A solid five stars

 If (Stomp) / Chelsea Morning by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
2.00 | 1 ratings

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If (Stomp) / Chelsea Morning
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Before becoming one of the leading acts of the British folk rock movement of the late 60's and absorbing a great deal of their repertoire from the British traditionals, Fairport Convention were heavily oriented to the contemporary American folk rock. Founded in 1967, the group at first had a setlist dominated by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, and a sound that earned them the nickname "the British Jefferson Airplane". Vocalists Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews (whose original name happened to be Ian Matthews MacDonald, ie. almost the namesake of the person that was introduced to Giles, Giles & Fripp by Judy Dyble, thus helping the birth of King Crimson) joined a bit later when it was time to record the eponymous debut album. Both songs on this single are from that album released in June 1968.

'If (Stomp)', co-written by MacDonald with guitarist Richard Thompson, has a country feel not very different from the style of Matthews Southern Comfort that he founded after leaving Fairport Convention in 1969. This light-hearted song features male vocals only. There's a slight humorous air comparable to the lesser Beatles songs such as 'Octopus's Garden', although it lacks the similar bemusing happiness and strong melodies. Not very interesting, to be honest.

'Chelsea Morning' was recorded by its writer Joni Mitchell for her second album Clouds (1969), so this version preceded that. Indeed the sonic reference to Jefferson Airplane is justified. Judy Dyble sings the lead, occasionally replaced by treated male vocals, and the playing has a psychedelic edge. Some traffic sounds are added at the end.

Judy Dyble (1949-2020) was a charming artist, but it was her replacement, lovely Sandy Denny (1947-1978) who really made Fairport Convention what it was to become. There are some better songs on the debut album, so two stars will do for this single.

 I'll Keep It with Mine by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.00 | 1 ratings

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I'll Keep It with Mine
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Legendary British folk rock band Fairport Convention released one album in 1968 with their original female vocalist Judy Dyble (who then made some recordings with the pre- King Crimson camp and founded the onetimer folk rock group Trader Horne) before she was replaced by Sandy Denny.

For me, Sandy Denny is one of the dearest voices in popular music. Her ethereal voice is warm and intimate like no one else's. [ Well, I once played 'Verdi Cries' (1987) by 10,000 Maniacs in a gathering of friends, and my friend mistook Natalie Merchant for Sandy Denny. Yes, Natalie's voice resembles slightly of Denny's, but is a bit higher and less soft and translucent. ] Fairport Convention did not only get a wonderful new vocalist -- and musician -- , for Sandy Denny also proved to be a gifted songwriter. In fact the second album What We Did On Our Holidays (1969) starts with Denny's 'Fotheringay', which is placed on the B side of this single. But first the A side.

'I'll Keep It With Mine' continued FP's habit of covering songs of various singer-songwriters -- the eponymous debut album had featured e.g. two Joni Mitchell songs. Perhaps better known of FP's Bob Dylan covers is the French- language 'Si tu dois partir' (= 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now') on their next album Unhalfbricking (1969). I'm not fond of that one, but Fairport Convention's version of 'I'll Keep It With Mine' with Sandy Denny's lead vocals sounds very nice. Although it's not as slow and ethereal as Denny's well known song 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' (on Unhalfbricking), there is a similar air to it. Without a better knowledge one could presume the song to be written by Denny. It also was taken from What We Did On Our Holidays; the single version is shorter.

For her song 'Fotheringay' Sandy Denny was inspired by the fate of Mary, Queen of Scots (16th century), who was executed in the Fotheringay castle in 1587. I love this melancholic song, it's definitely one of the most beautiful folk rock songs ever written. Her voice is pure magic here, and the band supports her with a perfect delicacy, both for the playing and the backing vocals.

In 1970 Sandy Denny departed Fairport Convention and founded a short-lived folk rock group called Fotheringay. After their self-titled album Sandy Denny started her solo career which lasted till her tragic accidental death in 1978. R.I.P.

Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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