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FAIRPORT CONVENTION

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Fairport Convention biography
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 For The Moon' in 1975 before going solo again, but she died tragically in 1978. FAIRPORT CONVENTION recorded a Farewell - Live -Album in 1979, 'Farewell, Farewell', but continud to record thro...
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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)

3.30 | 53 ratings
Fairport Convention
1968
3.66 | 72 ratings
What We Did On Our Holidays
1969
3.58 | 82 ratings
Unhalfbricking
1969
3.76 | 110 ratings
Liege & Lief
1969
3.61 | 61 ratings
Full House
1970
2.91 | 34 ratings
Angel Delight
1971
3.73 | 42 ratings
'Babbacombe' Lee
1971
2.19 | 27 ratings
Rosie
1973
2.86 | 31 ratings
Nine
1973
3.12 | 35 ratings
Rising For The Moon
1975
1.55 | 20 ratings
Gottle O' Geer
1976
2.52 | 18 ratings
The Bonny Bunch Of Roses
1977
3.06 | 15 ratings
Tipplers Tales
1978
3.07 | 10 ratings
Gladys' Leap
1985
2.23 | 7 ratings
Expletive Delighted !
1986
3.51 | 13 ratings
Red & Gold
1988
2.98 | 13 ratings
The Five Seasons
1990
3.78 | 15 ratings
Jewel In The Crown
1995
3.00 | 6 ratings
Old New Borrowed Blue
1996
3.72 | 12 ratings
Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
1997
3.41 | 11 ratings
The Wood And The Wire
1999
3.96 | 8 ratings
XXXV - The 35th Anniversary Album (1967 / 2002)
2001
3.26 | 8 ratings
Over The Next Hill
2004
3.00 | 5 ratings
Sense Of Occasion
2007
2.47 | 6 ratings
Festival Bell
2011
4.25 | 4 ratings
By Popular Request
2012
3.27 | 6 ratings
Myths And Heroes
2015

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

3.15 | 19 ratings
Live Convention
1974
3.96 | 17 ratings
House Full
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
4.00 | 1 ratings
25th Anniversary Concert
1993
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Cropredy Box
1999
4.00 | 2 ratings
From Cropredy to Portmeirion
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
Festival: Cropredy 2002
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2
2005
4.50 | 4 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.50 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
2008
3.67 | 3 ratings
Dirty linen / Live At The Marlowe Theatre
2010
3.09 | 2 ratings
Ebbets Feild 1974
2011
2.82 | 2 ratings
Live At My Father's Place 1974
2014

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Cropredy Festival 2001
2001
3.17 | 5 ratings
Live At The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (DVD)
2003
4.67 | 3 ratings
The 35th Anniversary Concert
2003
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2007

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

3.91 | 20 ratings
The History Of Fairport Convention
1972
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
3.17 | 7 ratings
Fame And Glory
2009

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

5.00 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
1968
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
 Liege & Lief by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 110 ratings

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Liege & Lief
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Quinino
Special Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #9

I have to confess my partiality right from the start ' I grew up listening repeatedly to this wonderful music and it grew up in me to the point I became addicted to Sandy's voice up to this day.

Unfortunately when finally got the chance to see the band live in'79 she was no longer with them nor alive, having sadly departed the year before.

Global Appraisal

I love FP early days work and I LOVE all Sandy Denny has done as a singer/songwriter, not only her voice; nothing too strange then that I value so high this major album where these talents so effectively but briefly came together (it would be the last of 3 albums SD stayed with FP, just before going solo and being voted 2 years in a row Best Female Singer by the MM readers).

Goodies

The interplay of Dave Swarbrick's violin, Richard Thompson guitars and the exceptional voice of Sandy is the driving force behind the whole dynamics of this folk-rock combo, only two years after the inception but already with 4 albums under their belt.

On this one they perform a majority of traditional british folk songs.

 Who Knows Where The Time Goes? by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.72 | 12 ratings

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Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars The last of my later day Fairport Convention album reviews concludes with this gem from 1997. Who Knows Where The Time Goes is a transitional album that ushered in new man Chris Leslie before he put his own indelible stamp on the band's sound with own songwriter and lead vocals. This is also the last album to feature the mighty Dave Mattacks on drums and I don't think that it's a coincidence that album still maintains the more rocking sound that has a been a hallmark of the band's sound since he joined the FC for the Liege And Leif album way back in 1969. His energy seemed to invigorate the band, especially rhythm mate bassist Dave Pegg who is clearly animated on many of the albums tracks when it's appropriate.

The album starts off with a deft retelling of the Traditional song John Gaudie that's sung by new man Leslie and features many Trad. instrumentals as well as a catchy manic chorus. The evergreen Simon Nichol picks up vocal duties for now on starting with another Trad. tune reimagined in Fairport's image, but it's a fine ballad this time around titled Sailing Boat before the band cover's yet another great song from contemporary songwriter Steven Tilston before exploding into a wonderful jig penned by the ever enthusiastic Ric Sanders called The Bowman's Retreat. This song was written to feature both Sanders and new man Leslie trading violin leads which are done with speed and beauty.

The album also features one of the bands last hard rocking songs, Spanish Main, that feature both Nichol and Leslie on dealing electric guitars on the songs brief but stunning coda! It's that type of album.

As a bonus, the album includes and incredible live performance of the band doing a cover of the Motown standard Heard It Thru The Grapevine that's song with aplomb by former member Richard Thompson with horn accompanist and soulful female backing vocals on the chorus.

As if that wasn't enough, the album closes with a moving live edition of the Sandy Denny classic Who Know Where The Time Goes sung beautifully by Nichol. This is not a song he has sung live often, given the requirements of it's vocal range. I can only assume that this is a rare performance of the song performed by Nichol in which he absolutely nails it, as he pitch perfect.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes is another testimony to FC's eighties and nineties creative and performing resurgence and, more than that, it's an album that should be in the possession of every fan of Fairport Convention. 4 stars.

 The Five Seasons by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.98 | 13 ratings

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The Five Seasons
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

3 stars Another solid Fairport album from the group's Maartin Allcock era (1985-96) which starts off with a bang with a great hard rocking arrangement of the traditional song Claudy Banks that packs great vocal and musical hooks as well as loud killer drums from the always impressive Dave Mattacks (why a metal band never sought out his talents is a mystery, at least bands like XTC did) and a great vocal from Simon Nichol that keeps you glued to this six minute track.

The band returns to more familiar musical ground on excellent songs like Gold and Rhythm Of The Time, along with the instrumental romp Mock Morris '90, before the band stumbles into the album's only mistake, a hard rock song with corny lyrics titiled Sock It To Me.

The band make up for that one blunder with the album's mock orchestral closing song the emotionally moving The Wounded Whale, which just might be FC's only true progressive rock song ever recorded.

Not quite as good as the albums Red And Gold or the exceptional Jewel In The Crown which followed, The Five Seasons easily continued FC's eighties and nineties musical renaissance. 3 stars.

 Live At My Father's Place 1974 by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Live, 2014
2.82 | 2 ratings

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Live At My Father's Place 1974
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

3 stars Live At My Father's Place 1974 is another Sandy Denny and Fairport "reunion" concert that was probably taken from a sound board recording and is not as clean sounding as the Ebbet's Field 1974 live recording which had all extraneous noise such as tape hiss removed from the sound mix, but this live outing presents a more balanced sound mix with the great Miss Denny placed upfront and center of the soundstage. The song listing is more or less the same as the Ebbet's Field album with the exception of the Fatheringay song Ned Kelly replacing Sloth. But song's are great, though.

Live At My Father's place is probably superfluous if you already have the live Ebbet's Field album, but I think that Live At My Father's Place makes a good couplet with Ebbet's Field. 3 stars.

 Ebbets Feild 1974 by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Live, 2011
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Ebbets Feild 1974
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

3 stars A mostly good sounding earlier FC live album that features the incredible Sandy Denny back with the band a few months before recording the fantastic Raising For The Moon studio album.

Standout tracks include a rare outing of Sloth from the Full House album that captures the band in great form and acts a rarely heard showcase for bassist Dave Pegg who absolutely prog ballistic on this and several more of the album's tracks. The only drawback is some murky sounding vocals from Denny on the first two tracks and the fact that, with the exception of Matty Groves, most of the songs are off of Denny's solo albums and causes the album to sound more like a Denny solo outing than a full fledged FC reunion concert. Still, it's a worthy addition to any FC collection as great strides were made be original performing guitarist Jerry Donahue to clean up and remaster the sound. 3.5 stars.

 Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2 by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Live, 2005
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars An sadly overlooked or mostly unknown gem.

Acoustically Down Under is FC's acoustic tour recorded while they were in Australia in 1996, after just releasing the semi live acoustic album Old, New, Borrowed and Blue (and renders that album superfluous.) This tour was also the last for long time guitar wiz Maartin Allcock (who spells his first name with two As) and this version of the band was determined to go out with a bang.

For those that don't know, this Allcock era of FC featured a virtual renaissance in quality album releases that encompassed The Five Seasons, Red and Gold and their near masterpiece from 1995 The Jewel In The Crown. The band, sans drummer Dave Mattacks, were also in top performance mode, having played together for almost twelve years.

The key to the band's resurgent album quality was their incredible knack for gleaning top flight songs from outside songwriters such as the great Steve Tilston, and future FC member Chris Leslie.

The remarkably long selection of quality songs, which includes Slip Jigs And Reels, Frozen Man, the incredible The Naked Highwayman, Portmerion, and Lolla Rookh are only the tip of the iceberg. There's also an encore (at least on this album's song tracking) with the great Dave Swarbrick making a guest appearance on his own signature song Rosie, as Swarbrick was residing in Australia at the time.

A remarkably clear recording and vibrant really brings this album to life as does the incredible playing by Allcock (who does fabulous turns on nylon string guitar), Ric Sanders on violin and Dave Pegg on bass is easily matched the better than ever vocals of Simon Nichol who displays emotion, range and projection on hinted at on the previous studio albums.

Released in 2005, this album seems to coincide with the release of the Acoustic Strawbs' Baroque And Roll album from 2003 and Horlips' acoustic homage Roll Back album from 2004 and makes an incredible triumvirate with those two stellar acoustic releases from Prog Folk /Folk Rock groups of the same caliber and rich history. 4.5 stars.

 Myths And Heroes by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.27 | 6 ratings

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Myths And Heroes
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

3 stars Fairport Convention are more of an historical institution to some than a music group, so it's easy to give the band a pass based on sentimentality rather than merit. However, this latest incarnation of FC, like the many that preceded it, are still world class musicians with the desire to produce world class Folk Rock music.

Being devoid of an a top flight electric lead guitarist for almost twenty years has caused this current version of the band to focus their music around a very acoustic based sound that features Chris Leslie on either mandolin or bouzouki, Ric Sanders' on his ever present violin, and Simon Nichol on either acoustic and, occasionally, electric rhythm guitar. So, the group's sound is more of a slow burn then the occasional rapid fire explosions as in the past.

The album gets off to swift gallop on the rock and roll beat of the title track, Myths And Heroes, before slowing down to the now familiar trot that entails the following four songs, with the Simon Nichol's lead vocal on Clear Water being just one of the highlights.

Even though Leslie is an outstanding songwriter, as well as an impressive vocalist, the band still has the ability to find great songs written outside of the band and make them their own. On this particular album, these songs form a string of melodic introspective tunes with beautifully layered vocals, as found on the songs The Man In The Water, Grace and Favour, and Weightless/The Gravity Reel.

So the band's still got it and they still deliver in the present year of 2015. The only question that remains is if you like this very acoustic based version of the band, or do you require a little more spice in the sound mix. For me personally, after close to twenty years, I think the group's music could use a dash more spice in their future album endeavors. 3 stars.

 The Wood And The Wire by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.41 | 11 ratings

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The Wood And The Wire
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars One of the best later day Fairport albums by a country mile. Walk awhile with me and I'll tell you about it.

The Wood And The Wire is the first FC line up to feature the multi talented Chris Leslie and reunites the band with Fairport chum and ex Sandy Denny, Fotheringay and Cat Stevens drummer Gerry Conway, who took over permanently for the on again, off again Dave Mattacks.

The loss of multi instrumentalist Maartin Allcock (he spells his first name with two As) is immediately felt on this album as Leslie has resigned himself to being primarily a mandolin player who also dabbles on violin at times, and this brings a more folky acoustic sound to this already folk heavy band. Leslie is also a terrific songwriter and almost every song penned by him for this album is top notch with the title track and Heart Of The Song being among his best. The band also adheres to their great ability of finding and interpreting other writers material as his been their practice through the Allcock years and Western Wind, a traditional song sung by Simon Nichol, has that extra something added to it that only Fairport could provide it.

It's worth noting that original Full House album members, Nichol and Dave Pegg, somehow impart the FC aesthetic into the band's new music and make it feel as if it's it part of a larger whole with past albums like the great Liege and Leif and relatively newer releases like the stellar eighties album's Red And Gold and Jewel In the Crown.

Unfortunately, this heavy reliance on acoustic folk arrangements would wear thin after a few albums, but for the time being, The Wood And The Wire is Fairport Convention at one of their zeniths. Fantastic. 4 stars.

 Liege & Lief by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.76 | 110 ratings

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Liege & Lief
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I had seen Fairport Convention as an opening act for Jethro Tull, back in the early 80s and I certainly retain vivid impressions of what I saw and heard that night. Particularly, Ric Sanders terrific fiddle, which lashed out often and blazed a few memorable sonic trails. I always enjoyed British folk, as opposed to American country music, though it must be said that Fairport Convention is a different kettle of fish as it concentrates on traditional structures. On Liege and Lief, Sandy Denny, who has often been deified for dying young, a popular habit back in the 70s with a slew of superstars expiring (Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Wilson, Bonham & co) was of course a fundamental pioneer in the career of the Strawbs, a band I have a long standing love affair with. It must also be mentioned that the instrumentalists are equally first rate, no one more so than the enigmatic and genial Richard Thompson, but also the terrific Dave Mattacks on drums. The violin is held here by Dave Swarbrick .

This album is considered to be their finest hour, a glowing menu of brilliant melodies that perfectly capture the various styles associated with the nascent electric prog-folk scene, from old school traditional songs such as the instantly recognizable highlight tracks "Matty Groves", "Reynardine", "Sir Patrick Spens" and "Tam Lin" as well as more rollicking pub sing-along fare ("Come All Ye"). There is also an inspiring medley of jig related pieces that highlight the still revered British folk scene today, the fiddle leading the way in a style that spawned such current stalwarts as Iona or Loreena McKinnitt. There is even an epic 10 minute finale, the deliciously titled "Quiet Joys of Brotherhood" that stamps strong prog imagery onto the disc's powerful folk leanings. The rock element is conveyed by Thompson's energetic performance, a fluid and innovative guitarist with boundless expression and exuberance. His playing alone is worth owning this in a prog collection.

The focus is also clearly on Denny and her angelic delivery, and she really does not falter or disappoint. Particularly on the extended folk platforms "Matty Groves" and "Tam Lin", she glides dramatically over the dignified melodies with assurance and class. "Crazy Man Michael" is another mesmerizing ditty, full of rolling bass from Ashley Hutchings, some cool Swarbrick violin and Denny howling to the moon. The epic final track has a unique buzz, somewhat experimental in nature, very Iona-like actually, like some mist choked bog in the Highlands churning out some sheep farmer's lament. The hypnotic mood is atmospheric and ethereal, simplicity ruling the melody as it's egged on by the swirly fiddle. Pretty sure Enya and Clannad got their initiation on this incredible track. The only slight negative is the awful artwork, a typically drab pre-Woodstock cover, looking more like an old postage stamp.

4 tankards of ale

 Full House by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.61 | 61 ratings

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Full House
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With Sandy Denny departed for her Fotheringay project and Steeleye Span emerging to present a more traditional-sounding version of the sort of electric folk that was Fairport's forte, Richard Thompson and friends responded by steering Fairport in a slightly rockier direction this time around. There's just a shade more groove in their step and a dash more fuzz to their guitar than in the preceding albums which makes this an interesting one to round off Richard Thompson's tenure in the band. The lack of female vocals on the album - Fairport having turned into a boys' club at around this time - is a particular shift in their sound which demonstrates that, far from trying to reclaim the glory of the preceding three releases, they were intent instead on pressing on to find a new sound, which they just about grasp the coattails of here.
Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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