Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fairport Convention

A double cassette I found today in a charity shop for a couple of quid. Not sure how rare it is but it says it's an "official bootleg of the 1987 Fairport reunion at Croprety : Oxfordshire".
Those taking part were Simon NIcol, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks,Ric Sanders, Martin Allcock with guests Ian Anderson, Martin barre, jerry Donahue,Cathy LeSurf, Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick and June Tabor.

I have a soft spot for early Fairports when they were breaking bounderies with early folk/rock fusions. Later on they became rather too folky for my taste and with the loss of Richard Thompson much of the driving force went out of the group.

This live set though is sprinkled with some nice tunes and the Richard Thompson songs "Hand Of Kindness" and "Saturday Rolling Around" make it all worthwhile.

Their official website says of their early days-

"Fairport Convention played its first concert in a church hall in May 1967. Based in suburban north London, the group had coalesced around bass guitarist Ashley 'Tyger' Hutchings.

The youngsters 'convened' for rehearsals at a house named Fairport, the family home of rhythm guitarist Simon Nicol. Thus was born the name of a band that has endured for nearly four decades.

As well as Hutchings and Nicol, there was lead guitarist Richard Thompson and Shaun Frater on drums.

However, that initial line-up only played the one gig. A young drummer, Martin Lamble, was in the church hall audience and he convinced the band that he could do a better job than the incumbent. It was the first of the bewildering flurry of line-up changes that characterised Fairport's first fifteen years.

Fairport soon augmented its line-up with a female singer, Judy Dyble, which set it apart from the dozens of other bands springing up from the fast-moving youth culture of that summer.

Fairport found no shortage of work and was soon a regular act at underground venues such as The Electric Garden, Middle Earth and UFO.

The band had only been playing a few months when they caught the ear of Joe Boyd who secured them a contract with Island Records. Boyd suggested they augment the line-up with another male vocalist and so Iain Matthews joined the band and the first album, Fairport Convention, came out before the end of 1967.

At this early stage, Fairport looked to America for material and inspiration. "The two lead vocalist approach appealed to us," Matthews recalls. "and because of our name and onstage presence, lots of people thought we were American, and we were not about to attempt to dispel that presumption." This led to the band being dubbed 'the British Jefferson Airplane'."

Fairport Convention - John Barleycorn

Fairport Convention - The Hiring Fair

Fairport Convention - Bridge Of Sighs

Fairport Convention - Shame Of Doing Wrong

Fairport Convention - Hand Of Kindness

Fairport Convention - Saturday Rolling Around


Stevie said...

Very nice. I'm just rereading the Patrick Humphries biog of Richard Thompson.

Wastedpapiers said...

Thanks Stephen - Ive not read that I must admit - one to add to my ever expanding reading list!

Unknown said...

Strange coloured inlay. Might be worth something, especially with the Jethro Tull connection. Have a look & see if there are any on ebay.

Wastedpapiers said...

It seems all these Cropredy live tracks are available on CD now from the Fairports and Richard Thompson websites.

Russell CJ Duffy said...

I never really got into the Fairport's quite the way that you did Michael but I have to say, on reflection, I wished I had.

Each year they appear agin, with a host of friends, at the Cropredy festival which, I am lead to believe, they organise.