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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 For The Moon' in 1975 before going solo again, but she died tragically in 1978....
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5 Classic Albums5 Classic Albums
Spectrum 2015
$13.85 (used)
Extra tracks · Reissued · Remastered
Island Uk 2003
$3.76 (used)
What We Did on Our HolidaysWhat We Did on Our Holidays
Extra tracks · Remastered
Island Uk 2003
$2.86 (used)
Full HouseFull House
Island Uk 2001
$3.78 (used)
Liege & LiefLiege & Lief
A&M 1988
$3.05 (used)
Heyday: BBC Radio Sessions 1968-69Heyday: BBC Radio Sessions 1968-69
Extra tracks · Remastered
Island Uk 2002
$2.13 (used)
Farewell FarewellFarewell Farewell
Edsel Records Uk 2019
$10.04 (used)
Across The Decades ( 2 CD Set )Across The Decades ( 2 CD Set )
$1.19 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FAIRPORT CONVENTION: The Word Has Surely Lost Its' Head / The Journeyman's Grac USD $12.00 Buy It Now
DAVE PEACE QUARTET Good Morning Mr Blues LP Original UK 1969 FAIRPORT CONVENTION USD $49.99 Buy It Now
Fairport Convention Liege and Lief 2 Extra Tracks Remastered CD NEW USD $12.79 Buy It Now
Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where the Time Goes USD $9.70 Buy It Now
Fairport Convention by FAIRPORT CONVENTION USD $7.85 Buy It Now
Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where The Time Goes (CD 1997) USD $9.70 Buy It Now
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - SHINES LIKE GOLD (New & Sealed) Folk CD USD $4.85 Buy It Now 46m 26s
Country Fairport Convention Si Tu Dois Partir 1969 7" Vinyl Single [WIP6064] USD $4.86 Buy It Now 46m 51s
Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention (CD) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 1h 24m
Fairport Convention Glady's Leap Very Good Vinyl LP Record Album WRoo7 USD $12.14 Buy It Now 1h 42m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION long live Fairports 1975 UK ARTICLE / clipping USD $12.08 Buy It Now 1h 54m
Fairport Convention - Si Tu Dois Partir - 7" Record Single USD $6.36 Buy It Now 1h 57m
Fairport Convention - Babbacombe Lee (CD) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 2h 8m
Fairport Convention - Live Convention (CD) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 2h 9m
Fairport Convention Rising For The Moon LP W/Insert ILPS 9313-A 1975 Vinyl VG+ USD $7.00 Buy It Now 2h 38m
Fairport Convention - Farewell, Farewell (Vinyl) USD $28.52 Buy It Now 3h 33m
Fairport Convention - 5 Classic Albums Vol. 2 (CD) USD $13.35 Buy It Now 3h 55m
The Beach Boys, The Moody Blues and Fairport Convention Tour Programmes  USD $6.07 [0 bids]
4h 13m
Fairport Convention - Self Titled first album UK LP VG+ USD $9.00 Buy It Now 4h 42m
4h 45m
Fairport Convention - XXXV : 35th Anniversary Album (2007) CD NEW SPEEDYPOST USD $4.80 Buy It Now 5h 16m
Tippler's Tales by Fairport Convention. USD $8.76 Buy It Now 5h 16m
Fairport Convention - Over the Next Hill (2004) CD USD $8.44 Buy It Now 5h 43m
Fairport Convention ?- Live At The L.A. Troubadour Vinyl LP - UK First Issue. USD $2.43 [0 bids]
5h 55m
Fairport Convention - The History Of Fairport C... - Fairport Convention CD PMVG USD $2.42 [0 bids]
FAIRPORT CONVENTION ~ Liege And Lief ~ Rare Remastered PROMO 8-track CD album USD $9.70 Buy It Now 6h 29m
Sandy Denny : Like an Old Fashioned Waltz CD (2005) Fairport Convention USD $2.73 [0 bids]
6h 34m
Fairport Convention - History of (1991) CD Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, USD $2.73 [0 bids]
6h 35m
Fairport Convention - Gottle O' Geer (CD) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 7h
2CD FAIRPORT CONVENTION "ACROSS THE DECADES". New and sealed USD $15.60 Buy It Now 7h 11m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION In Real Time Live '87 LP (VG+) ISLAND USD $5.97 Buy It Now 7h 12m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Then & Now 1982/1996 - METRRCD076 - CD Album - 2002 USD $2.42 [0 bids]
7h 18m
XXXV [Bonus Tracks] by Fairport Convention (CD, May-2007, Eagle Records (USA))12 USD $4.88 Buy It Now 7h 22m
Fairport Convention Rosie 1973 A&M SP-4386 Stereo Sterling Insert VG+ NM USD $15.00 Buy It Now 7h 37m
Fairport Convention Full House 1970 A&M SP-4265 Stereo VG+ VG+ USD $15.00 Buy It Now 7h 37m
Fairport Convention: Jewel In The Crown CD Green Linnet GLCD 3103 MINTY USD $4.00 Buy It Now 7h 43m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Now Be Thankful / Sir William B McKenzie.. ISLAND 1970 EX- USD $7.29 [0 bids]
8h 7m
Fairport Convention ?- Rare Broadcasts on CD & DVD SMCD2486 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 8h 7m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - John Lee / The Time Is Near ISLAND 1971 PICTURE SLEEVE VG+ USD $9.71 [0 bids]
8h 10m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Rosie / Knights Of The Road - ISLAND 1973 EX+ USD $9.71 [0 bids]
8h 11m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - White Dress / Tears - ISLAND 1975 EX USD $7.29 [0 bids]
8h 13m
Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief UK LP + Innerbag /5* USD $16.49 Buy It Now 8h 21m
Trevor Lucas - Live At The Troubador Fairport Convention [CD] USD $24.27 [0 bids]
8h 53m
Fairport Convention-Who Knows Where The Time Goes? The Essent (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $6.23 Buy It Now 8h 53m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION : Angel Delight -Poster Size NEWSPAPER ADVERT- 1971 USD $1.82 [1 bids]
9h 12m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION : Rising For The Moon -Poster Size NEWSPAPER ADVERT- 1975 USD $1.82 [1 bids]
9h 13m
Fairport convention heyday cd folk great condition USD $2.79 [0 bids]
9h 15m
Fairport Convention Nine 1973 Vinyl Album Lp Gatefold Island Records Pink Rim USD $12.08 Buy It Now 9h 31m
F2-35 FAIRPORT CONVENTION Full House ... 1970 ... GGLP-4417 ... CARTHAGE RECORDS USD $21.95 Buy It Now 9h 32m
Fairport Convention - Full House [CD] USD $7.93 Buy It Now 9h 37m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION (UK Concert Flyers x 4) 2008 & 2010 & 2011 & 2012 USD $2.13 [0 bids]
9h 59m
fairport convention double rock vinyl album USD $2.42 [0 bids]
10h 5m
Flyer: Fairport Convention Rare Winter 2006 UK Tour USD $3.63 Buy It Now 10h 24m
A history of fairport convention cd New sealed nap import obi USD $3.04 [0 bids]
10h 26m
Fairport Convention - 5 Classic Albums Vol 2 [New CD] UK - Import USD $15.35 Buy It Now 10h 27m
Fairport Convention - What We Did on Our Holidays [New CD] USD $18.49 Buy It Now 10h 30m
Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief ORIG UK PINK 'i' Island A1 B1 LP! Sandy Denny USD $6.30 [2 bids]
10h 34m
Fairport Convention - History of (1991) CD USD $1.20 [0 bids]
10h 42m
A history of fairport convention cd USD $2.79 [0 bids]
10h 49m
Fairport convention what we did on our holidays cd USD $3.04 [0 bids]
10h 49m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - little hadham USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - dencleve - sandy denny USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - knightroad - sandy denny USD $21.85 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - late grace - sandy denny USD $21.85 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - camagain - sandy denny USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - early grace - sandy denny USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - harlow - sandy denny USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION first album what we Unhalfbricking Liege Lief Fu USD $12.13 Buy It Now 10h 52m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - uninott - sandy denny USD $16.99 [0 bids]
10h 53m
fairport convention rising for the moon LP USD $14.95 Buy It Now 11h
Fairport Convention Farewell Farewell LP Simons GAMA1 EX/EX 1979 Farewell Farewe USD $30.36 Buy It Now 11h 3m
11h 8m
11h 9m
Fairport Convention Liege & Lief Vinyl Lp Album Island Pink Rim Record 1969 9115 USD $35.21 Buy It Now 11h 28m
fairport convention full house LP sealed USD $14.95 Buy It Now 11h 29m
Fairport Convention ?- Liege & Lief LP . UK 1970 Island pink rim USD $20.64 Buy It Now 11h 42m
Fairport Convention - Old New Borrowed Blue - CD GLCD3114 Green Linnet USD $11.51 Buy It Now 11h 42m
Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where The Time Goes - CD GLCD3122 Green Linnet USD $11.51 Buy It Now 11h 43m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - 24th February 1998 - Parr Hall Warrington - Ticket Stub USD $12.08 Buy It Now 11h 46m
Fairport Convention - Meet on the Ledge (The Classic Years (1967-1975), 1999) USD $3.64 Buy It Now 11h 49m
SALMONTAILS Private UK FOLK TRIO LP Traditional DAVE PEGG Fairport Convention USD $24.99 [0 bids]
12h 21m
RICHARD THOMPSON - The Best Of The Capitol Years (19 trk CD) Fairport Convention USD $4.24 [0 bids]
12h 30m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION LP Full House 1970 A+M USD $8.00 [0 bids]
12h 33m
Fairport Convention Liege & Lief LP EX+ vinyl gatefold A&M Sandy Denny USD $8.37 [10 bids]
12h 35m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION LP Unhalfbricking 1969 A+M USD $8.00 [0 bids]
12h 40m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION-Farewell. Farewell CD NEW USD $14.18 Buy It Now 12h 57m
13h 10m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Angel Delight LP (RARE UK Import on ISLAND w/Gatefold Cvr) USD $34.99 Buy It Now 13h 50m
FAIRPORT CONVENTION Vinyl LP ( Babbacomb Lee ) UK 1971 USD $9.11 Buy It Now 14h

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

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

3.31 | 56 ratings
Fairport Convention
3.66 | 80 ratings
What We Did On Our Holidays
3.59 | 91 ratings
3.78 | 123 ratings
Liege & Lief
3.66 | 68 ratings
Full House
2.93 | 39 ratings
Angel Delight
3.73 | 51 ratings
'Babbacombe' Lee
2.25 | 32 ratings
2.90 | 35 ratings
3.28 | 41 ratings
Rising For The Moon
1.54 | 24 ratings
Gottle O' Geer
2.51 | 23 ratings
The Bonny Bunch Of Roses
3.03 | 18 ratings
Tipplers Tales
3.24 | 13 ratings
Gladys' Leap
2.21 | 10 ratings
Expletive Delighted !
3.49 | 15 ratings
Red & Gold
2.97 | 15 ratings
The Five Seasons
3.75 | 17 ratings
Jewel In The Crown
2.88 | 8 ratings
Old New Borrowed Blue
3.69 | 14 ratings
Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
3.37 | 13 ratings
The Wood And The Wire
3.86 | 10 ratings
XXXV - The 35th Anniversary Album (1967 / 2002)
3.61 | 13 ratings
Over The Next Hill
2.35 | 8 ratings
Sense Of Occasion
2.49 | 9 ratings
Festival Bell
4.00 | 6 ratings
By Popular Request
3.24 | 8 ratings
Myths And Heroes
3.50 | 2 ratings
50:50 @50

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

3.11 | 19 ratings
Live Convention
3.96 | 17 ratings
House Full
3.14 | 9 ratings
Farewell, Farewell
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Airing Cupboard Tapes '71 - '74
3.67 | 6 ratings
Moat on the Ledge
4.00 | 1 ratings
25th Anniversary Concert
4.50 | 3 ratings
The Cropredy Box
4.00 | 2 ratings
From Cropredy to Portmeirion
4.00 | 3 ratings
Festival: Cropredy 2002
4.83 | 3 ratings
Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2
4.50 | 4 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2.00 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
3.00 | 3 ratings
Dirty linen / Live At The Marlowe Theatre
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ebbets Feild 1974
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live At My Father's Place 1974


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

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

3.91 | 20 ratings
The History Of Fairport Convention
3.03 | 13 ratings
Heyday BBC Radio Sessions 1968-1969
3.18 | 2 ratings
The Woodworm Years
4.05 | 2 ratings
Fiddlestix, The Best of Fairport 1972-1984
4.98 | 6 ratings
Meet on the Ledge - The Classic Years 1967-1975
4.50 | 4 ratings
Then & Now 1982-1996 The Best Of Fairport Convention
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fairport Unconventional
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Who Knows? The Woodworm Archives - Vol. One
3.17 | 7 ratings
Fame And Glory

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

5.00 | 2 ratings
Meet On The Ledge
4.50 | 2 ratings
Si Tu Dois Partir
5.00 | 2 ratings
Now Be Thankful
5.00 | 1 ratings
John Lee
5.00 | 1 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
White Dress
5.00 | 1 ratings
Meet On The Ledge


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Rising For The Moon by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.28 | 41 ratings

Rising For The Moon
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This one should have been Fairport Conventions ticket back to the high life. Itīs really a shame it wasnīt. All the effort to bring back Sandy Denny to the fold, and the recording company suggestion of ace producer Andy Johns to coordinate the whole project should do the trick. Sadly it did not. Johns was against the use of traditional material or covers, in a time they did a fantastic version of Dylanīs All along the Watchtower. Besides, Trevor Lucas did push their sound maybe a little too much into american styled country rock (the presence of yankee Jerry Donahue certainly did not help matters), which alienated much of their fan base. Or maybe the timing simply was not right.

Still, the music here is beautiful, with Denny delivering some of the best tunes and performances of her short career. Her and Lucas voices blend very well too. Songs like the title track, White Dress and One More chance are the highlights of this very good album. Production is a little slick, but it works. With time Iīm sure Fairport Convention would find their feet and could take this line up very far. Alas, this was not meant to be, since Denny and Lucas would leave the band after the tour to promote it. Some people think it should have been a Sandy Denny album, but really it only takes a few spins to figure it is far better than most of her solo work. The magic was there, they just didnīt let it grow its debut (few) limitations.

All in all a very fine album, although not that much folk-ish. My rating would be something between 3,5 and 4 stars. Iīll round it up to four because I really love it.

 Sense Of Occasion by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.35 | 8 ratings

Sense Of Occasion
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

2 stars In the continuing up and down world of late era Fairport albums, Sense of Occasion once again finds the band on a downward slope after scaling the heights with Over The Next Hill released just two short years earlier. It seems to me that whenever Fairport stumbles upon the formula for some good to outstanding folk rock, they either lose the formula or lose their inspiration. Over The Next Hill showed off the group's new found penchant for superb vocal harmonies and exotic (for Fairport!) percussion added to the sound mix. However, Sense Of Occasion has none of that as the band relies on their old musical formulas at making serious but staid sounding folk rock. Which does work well is remakes of older Fairport songs such as "Polly On The Shore", from the album Nine and "Tam Lin" from the famous Liege and Leif album. Both songs being resurrected by Fairport for guitarist Simon Nicol to sing at the many Fairport reunions and celebrations that the current group line up finds themselves at these days. What doesn't work is the newer material written by multi instrumentalist Chris Leslie or cherry picked songs for Nicol to sing as they seem to be performed a bit too reverently, for lack of a better description. Which is a shame as songs like "Keep On Turning The Wheel", "North Dakota to Manchester" "In Our Town", and "Edge of The World" could have easily been Fairport classics if the band didn't try so hard to make them just that. Even a cover of XTC's "Love On A Farm Boy's Wages" is too reverent with identical music and Simon Nicol perfectly mimicking Andy Partridge's major to minor key vocalizing on the song's verses and chorus. Too bad as Fairport could have made this disguised folk song their own.

There's worse albums in the Fairport discography than Sense Of Occasion, but that's little reason for owning it. 2 stars.

 Over The Next Hill by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.61 | 13 ratings

Over The Next Hill
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

5 stars This is one of those times when I wish I had a time machine so I could bring this album back to the seventies and eighties. Many of the album's songs would have no doubt been hit singles if presented in the right time frame. However, that's still good news for us long time fans of the band.

Over The Next Hill is a more balanced album between the lead vocals of guitarist Simon Nicol and multi instrumentalist Chris Leslie and sports some of the finest group vocals between Nicol, Leslie and bassist Dave Pegg, on a scale approaching that of a group like Crosby, Stills and Nash. No mean feat. And the songs this time around are all absolutely superb and run the gambit from Gordon Lightfoot-like folk epics such as the three historically inspired gems "I'm Already There", "Over The Falls" and "The Fossil Hunter", which were all written and sung by the vastly improved Leslie.

Nicol handles lead duties on two songs written by the great Steve Tilston and the band serves up great arrangements and concentrates on a more Celtic/folk music style where mandolins and bouzoukis sweeten up the fiddling of the great Ric Sanders. The trio of vocalists trade lead vocals on the traditional "Wassail Song" before letting loose on the sublime "Willow Creek" And "Westward", both featuring quirky but totally infectious verse and choruses that will echo in your head long after the songs end. Breaking all this up is a rousing acoustically strummed rocker that recalls Nick Lowe at his prime, the infectious and clever "Wait For The Tide To Come In", another great song sung and written by Leslie. The album of course features the compulsory jig and reel of "Canny Capers" and the Sanders penned instrumental "Someplace Special" but these are far from being filler and "Canny Capers" suggests past progressive nuggets like "Dirty Linen", from Fairport's 1970 album Full House, without duplicating it. What also helps this album is that the group stayed away from MOR sounding love ballads and concentrated on folk rock, their absolute forte and fist love. The group also embrace hand drum and timbale percussion to go along with Gerry Conway's rock steady drumming. While far from the layers of percussion found on a Santana recording it's quite exotic for a group like Fairport and helps to "loosen up" the music tremendously.

I'm very happy to say that this is one album produced by a band that's more then 35 years old that's deserving of 5 stars (rounded up from 4.5). I just can't wait to hear their next one.

 'Babbacombe' Lee by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.73 | 51 ratings

'Babbacombe' Lee
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars "Babbacombe" Lee gets good press in the PA reviews and that's no surprise. Fairport Convention's seventh studio album is an unusual concept album about an historical figure named John Lee. Lee was condemned to die on the gallows and escaped death three times when the trap door wouldn't open on every attempt. Strangely, the door worked fine whenever Lee was not standing on top of it. As English law decrees that no one will be subject to execution attempts more then three times, Lee's sentence was commuted to serving prison time instead.

Fairport's Dave Swarbrick thought that this turn of the century drama would make an interesting concept album and he was right. Enlisting all of the band members to writing the music, "Babbacombe" Lee starts off with a narrative song titled "Little Did I Think" and moves on from there, recounting his teenage wish to be a sailor but he was ultimately invalided out and eventually went to live and work for an elderly spinster named Emma Keyes, who he allegedly kills for some unclear reason.

The music on "Babbacombe" Lee is quite good as folk rock and well played by all but lacks any of the past progressive music passages that made albums like Liege and Leif and Full House so enjoyable. I can understand that the group focused on the narrative lyrics and did a wonderful job of clearly communicating the story to the listener, but the music seems to have suffered a bit in the process. Still the album has many wonderful highlights with the stand out songs being "John Lee", "Breakfast In Mayfair", "Cell Song" and "Dream Song." The last being especially good as it's a weirdly atmospheric song about a dream of Mr. Lee's in which a voice tells him that he will survive the attempts to execute him. It's quite out of character for Fairport but all the better for it.

As usual, guitarist Simon Nicol, bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks excellently back Swarbrick's vocals and violin playing with their own instruments while greatly improving on their own lead and backing vocals through out the album. However, "Babbacombe" Lee was a very poor seller in the history of Fairport albums which led to one more departure from the group with Nicol bailing out soon after it's release.

This review is solely based on the 2004 remastered CD which, I understand, now has clearly identified names assigned to the album's songs as opposed to the vague narrative descriptions for the songs listed on the original album jacket. The sound of the CD is excellent and lets much of the nuance of the vocals and music shine through. 4 stars for this reminder that even folk rock had reached for progressive heights at one time, even if not always completely reaching them.

 Liege & Lief by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 123 ratings

Liege & Lief
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

5 stars Finally we come to Fairport's jewel in the crown, the very celebrated Liege and Leif album from 1969. Is it worthy of it's accolades? That depends on if you like or hate the album, ultimately, as negative opinions always seem to miss the fact the fact this album is responsible for creating another folk rock subgenre. Nay Sayers also seem to miss the fact that this album is quite good, if not perfect, with first rate musicianship.

In a nutshell, Fairport took staid but interesting unaccompanied British folk standards and set them to very dramatic rock music while interfusing it with deft fiddle playing in order to give it all a rustic appeal. And for these songs it works well. The only song to resemble a conventional rock song is the lead off track "Come All Ye'" with it's conventional verse and chorus structure. The rest have the harder job of holding one's attention on longer narrative based ballads that display little change in the song's musical structure. This was easily accomplished by picking some truly interesting songs and having them sung by the one and only Sandy Denny, who could probably have made vocal exercises sound fascinating, such is the beauty of her voice, phrasing and delivery.

The production of this album is nothing to write home about, sounding quite dull and congested like demo recordings would. However, the less musically dense songs come off best as is the case with the highway bandit ballad "Reynardine", that features economical washes of guitar, bass and whooshing cymbals. This song, turned into a lycanthropic tale by folklorist Cecil Sharp, is absolutely sublime and, more then "Come All Ye", really sets the tone for the album. Following directly is the magnificent tale of betrayal and murder that holds one spell bound through five minutes of dramatic story telling to go along with it's propulsive bass and drums. This song, "Matty Groves", is the highpoint of the album and concludes with a dramatic instrumental coda featuring Richard Thompson's lead guitar kept melodic company by the late great Dave Swarbrick's violin. Swarbrick is more in a supporting role on this album and unfortunately that keeps a song like "Matty Groves" from turning into a progressive tour de force as the songs found on Fairport's follow up album Full House, but it's damn close.

"Farewell, Farewell" is an emotional ballad with lyrics written by Thompson around the melody of the traditional song "Willy O' Winsbury". Denny sells this song in a way that no one else ever could, while it's Spartan musical arrangement once again let's the song shine. The dramatic traditional ballads "The Deserter" and "Tam Lin" follow and the latter song, with long verbiage, would tax many without the dramatic stop/start rhythms and slashing electric guitars that keep it interesting. Both songs are placed around the first of Fairport's recorded jigs and reels simply titled "Medley", which is only a warmup for the ballistic hyper instrumentals that would follow on subsequent albums. The album concludes with the melancholy "Crazy Man Michael", which was written by Thompson and Swarbrick and fits the album perfectly being a tale about a man who murders his lover.

Liege and Leif is not without it's faults but it's virtues and accomplishments put it firmly in the 5 star category.

 Full House by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.66 | 68 ratings

Full House
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

5 stars Right after the release of the milestone Liege And Leif album, Fairport Convention saw the departure of vocalist Sandy Denny and bassist/band visionary Ashely Hutchings. But all was far lost at that juncture as guitarist Richard Thompson proved to be an able songwriter more then gifted to compose songs, in partnership with violin player Dave Swarbrick, that easily fit into Fairport's "British folk rock style". What is profoundly different from the revolutionary last album is that all of the lyrical songs on Full House, save one, are newly written as opposed to Liege And Leif's reliance on rocked up versions of British folk standards. Indeed, Thompson's macabre Poe-like lyrics combined Swarbrick's music sound more "old world" then the songs found on Liege and Leif. But its the new found musical interplay between Thompson, Swarbrick, rhythm guitarist Simon Nicol, drummer Dave Mattacks and new member Dave Pegg on bass that really sets this album on fire. As both Thompson and Swarbrick were new to front man vocal duties and sound a bit tentative at times, it was probably decided to blind their public with their musical prowess. And lucky are we musicians and music lovers for their efforts.

The songs that are most impressive as a result are "Sloth", "Doctor Of Physick", and "Poor Will and The Jolly Hangman" (now restored to the album on the 2001 remaster) which delves into almost metal like riffing in the song's wonderful coda. I've never found a satisfactory reason for why this excellent song was omitted at writer Thompson's request from the original album's release but that's probably not necessary now. The album sound's perfectly complete with it's inclusion. "Sloth", by the way, is probably Fairport's most progressive song with wonderful guitar and violin interplay between Thompson and Swarbrick in the song's extended instrumental section.

Other moments of musical achievement can found on the now prerequisite traditionally based jigs and reels of "Dirty Linen" and "Flatback Caper" which both showcase Pegg's impressive bass playing along with Swarbrick's virtuoso playing of both fiddle and mandolin. Both songs are absolutely breath taking. To even out the somber tone of Thompson's lyrics, the band reprise Denny's arrangement of the traditional "Sir Patrick Spens" and rock it up quite a bit and display some wonderful round robbin band vocals. The same can be said of the album's lead off track "Walk Awhile" which Fairport still open their live shows with today.

Simply put, one a musical level, Full House is a slight step ahead of the ground breaking Liege and Leif but I cannot imagine someone loving one and not the other. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 for this classic prog folk album.

 Gladys' Leap by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.24 | 13 ratings

Gladys' Leap
Fairport Convention Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars Glady's Leap, the first album of the reunited Fairport Convention is quite a good but not complete outing by guitarist Simon Nicol, bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks, with only fiddler Dave Swarbrick not returning. Between the group disbanding in 1979 and this reunion album in 1985, Pegg picked up a lucrative job recording and touring with Jethro Tull but never gave up on the idea that Fairport's business as music makers was unfinished. And this album proves him right. With outside songwriting contributions from former member Richard Thompson and British folk stalwart Ralph McTell, the group sound absolutely reanimated on the songs recorded here.

Starting off with a catchy rocker from Thompson called "How Many Times" Nicol now assumes strong lead vocal duties in place of they departed Swarbrick, while Pegg and Mattacks remind us that they are one of rock's strongest if unheralded rhythm sections. The following song, McTell's "Bird From the Mountain" gives Pegg a rare and convincing lead vocal on this beautiful folky ballad before the group breaks into one of their majestic sea epics with "Honour And Praise". The acoustic guitar driven ballad "The Hiring Fair" is another classic Fairport time traveler of young love back in the age before steam. These four songs are stupendous and are followed by a classic Fairport violin instrumental featuring future member Ric Sanders on fiddle duty while Pegg and Mattacks lay down heavy grooves with fretless bass and heavy drums respectively on "Instrumental Memory '85".

And here's where the fun stops as the next song to follow is a strange club/dance song written and sung by a women named Cathy LeSurf that features synths, sampled drums and a funky R&B styled bass . I can only assume that the song is by a lady friend of one of the band mates. At least I hope so. Another excellent period McTell song follows called "Wat Tyler" before the band fall flat with an album concluding generic rocker titled " Head In A Sack". Even guest guitar playing by the great Richard Thompson fails to invigorate this song.

In conclusion, this album has many high points before it runs out of steam. A slew of impressive albums would soon follow in the 1990s, but "Gladys' Leap" is a fine starting point for this unique band's recording renaissance. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

 Liege & Lief by FAIRPORT CONVENTION album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.78 | 123 ratings

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).


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
3.69 | 14 ratings

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 British 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
2.97 | 15 ratings

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 Nicol 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 titled 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.

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

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