Iain MatthewsThe 1974 linup of the band:Sandy Denny - Vocals, Piano, Dave Mattacks - Drums, Jerry Donahue - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Dave Pegg - Bass,Vocals, Trevor Lucas - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Dave Swarbrick - Vocals, Violin.
Recorded LIVE at Ebbets Field in Denver Colorado May 23/24, 1974 Produced by Jerry Donahue for ItsAboutMusic.com Digitally Re-Mastered by The A-Team (Jerry Donahue & Dean Sciarra) Live Recording Engineer: Norm Simmer in 1974 Graphic Design by Dean Sciarra Photos courtesy of Island Records All recordings used by permission of Island Records and the members of Fairport Convention who played on this recording.
Here's a magic recording of Sandy Denny, Jerry Donahue, Trevor Lucas, Dave Swarbrick, Dave Pegg & Dave Mattacks captured live at Ebbets Field in May of 1974. This recording was mastered by Jerry Donahue of Fairport so you know it will sound pretty cool.
Fairport Convention are an English folk rock and later electric folk band, formed in 1967 who are still recording and touring today. They are widely regarded as the most important single group in the English folk rock movement. Their seminal album Liege and Lief is generally considered to have launched the electric folk or English folk rock movement, which provided a distinctively English identity to rock music and helped awaken much wider interest in traditional music in general.
The large number of personnel who have been part of the band are among the most highly regarded and influential musicians of their era and have gone to participate in a large number of significant bands, or enjoyed important solo careers. Since 1979 they have hosted the Cropredy Festival, which is the largest such annual event in England. Individually and collectively the members of Fairport Convention have received numerous awards recognizing their contribution to music and culture.
The best British folk-rock band of the late '60s Fairport Convention did more than any other act to develop a truly British variation on the folk-rock prototype by drawing upon traditional material and styles indigenous to the British Isles. While the revved-up renditions of traditional British folk tunes drew the most critical attention, the group members were also (at least at the outset) talented songwriters as well as interpreters.
They were comfortable with conventional harmony-based folk-rock as well as tunes that drew upon more explicitly traditional sources, and boasted some of the best singers and instrumentalists of the day. A revolving door of personnel changes, however, saw the exit of their most distinguished talents, and basically changed the band into a living museum piece after the early '70s, albeit an enjoyable one with integrity.
When Fairport formed around 1967, their goal was not to revive British folk numbers, but to play harmony- and guitar-based folk-rock in a style strongly influenced by Californian groups of the day (especially the Byrds). The lineup that recorded their self-titled debut album in 1968 featured Richard Thompson, Ian Matthews, and Simon Nicol on guitars; Ashley Hutchings on bass; Judy Dyble on vocals; and Martin Lamble on drums.
Most of the members sang, though Matthews and Dyble were the strongest vocalists in this early incarnation; all of their early work, in fact, was characterized by blends of male and female vocals, influenced by such American acts as the Mamas & the Papas and Ian & Sylvia. While their first album was derivative, it had some fine material, and the band was already showing a knack for eclecticism, excavating overlooked songs by Joni Mitchell (then virtually unknown) and Emitt Rhodes.
Recommended artists to follow: Nektar
Fairport Convention didn't reach their peak until Dyble was replaced after the first album in 1968 by Sandy Denny, who had previously recorded both as a solo act and with the Strawbs. Denny's penetrating, resonant style qualified her as the best British folk-rock singer of all time, and provided Fairport with the best vocalist they would ever have. What We Did on Our Holidays (1969) and Unhalfbricking (1969) are their best albums, mixing strong originals, excellent covers of contemporary folk-rock songs by the likes of Mitchell and Dylan, and imaginative revivals of traditional folk songs that mixed electric and acoustic instruments with a beguiling ease.
Matthews had left the band in early 1969, and Lamble (still in his teens) died in an accident involving the group's equipment van in mid-1969. That forced Fairport to regroup, replacing Lamble with Dave Mattacks, and adding Dave Swarbrick on fiddle. Their repertoire, too, became much more traditional in focus, and electrified traditional folk numbers would dominate their next album, Liege and Lief (1969). Here critical thought diverges; some insist that this is unequivocally their peak, marking a final escape from their '60s folk-rock influences into a much more original style. This school of thought severely underestimates their songwriting talents, and others feel that they were at their best when mixing original and outside material, and contemporary and traditional styles, in fact becoming more predictable and derivative when they opted to concentrate on British folk chestnuts.
The Liege and Lief lineup didn't last long; by the end of the '60s, Ashley Hutchings had left to join Steeleye Span, replaced by Dave Pegg. More crucially, Denny was also gone, helping to form Fotheringay. Thompson was still on board for Full House (1970), but by the beginning of 1971 he too had departed, leaving Nicol as the only original member. Fairport have kept going, on and off (mostly on), for the last 25 years, touring and performing frequently. It may be too harsh to dismiss all of their post-Thompson records out of hand; Angel Delight (1971), the first recorded without the guitarist on board, was actually their highest-charting LP in the U.K., reaching the Top Ten. Nicol's exit in late 1971 erased all vestiges of connections to their salad days. Fairport was now not so much a continuous entity as a concept, carried on by musicians dedicated to the electrified British folk style that had been mapped out on Liege and Lief.
So it continues to this day, supported by a devoted fan base (Dirty Linen, the top American roots music magazine, originally began as a Fairport Convention fanzine). Denny would actually return to the group for about a year and a half in the 1970s, prior to her death in 1978; Nicol rejoined in 1976. Keeping track of Fairport's multitudinous lineup changes is a daunting task, and the group has coexisted on an erratic basis with the various other projects of the most frequent members (Nicol, Mattacks, and Pegg, the last of whom has played with Jethro Tull since the late '70s). They played annual reunion concerts during the 1980s and '90s (sometimes joined on-stage by Fairport alumni like Thompson), events that turned into some of the most popular folk festivals in Europe. They've also released some albums of new material intermittently throughout the last couple of decades, mostly pleasant, unexceptional traditional-oriented outings that appeal primarily to diehards.
You may love these CDs of Iain Matthews
The most distinguished graduates of Fairport, however, have continued to shape the British folk and folk-rock scene with notable solo and group projects. Richard Thompson is one of the most critically acclaimed singer/songwriters in the world; Ian Matthews made some interesting recordings as a solo act and with Plainsong and Matthews Southern Comfort; Denny sang with Fotheringay and released several solo albums before her death; and Hutchings carried on the most traditional face of British folk-rock with Steeleye Span, the Albion Band, and the Etchingham Steam Band.
• 1968 Fairport Convention Polydor
• 1969 What We Did on Our Holidays Water Music Records
• 1969 Unhalfbricking Water Music Records
• 1969 Liege & Lief A&M;
• 1970 Full House Hannibal
• 1971 Angel Delight Island
• 1971 Babbacombe Lee Island
• 1973 Rosie Island
• 1973 Nine A&M;
• 1974 A Fairport Live Convention Island
• 1975 Rising for the Moon Island
• 1976 Gottle O'Geer PolyGram
• 1977 Live at the L.A. Troubadour Island
• 1977 Bonny Bunch of Roses Universal Distribution
• 1978 Tippler's Tales UMVD
• 1979 Farewell, Farewell Turning Point
• 1982 Moat on the Ledge: Live at Broughton Castle Import
• 1984 A T 2 Woodworm
• 1985 Gladys' Leap Varrick
• 1986 Expletive Delighted! Varrick
• 1987 In Real Time: Live '87 Island
• 1987 It All Comes Round Again
• 1990 The Five Seasons Castle Music Ltd.
• 1994 25th Anniversary Concert Woodword
• 1995 Jewel in the Crown Green Linnet
• 1996 Red & Gold Rough Trade
• 1996 Old-New-Borrowed-Blue Talking Elephant
• 1997 Who Knows Where the Time Goes? Green Linnet
• 2000 Wishfulness Waltz Mooncrest Records
• 2000 The Wood and the Wire Compass
• 2002 XXXV Compass
• 2003 Rhythm of the Times Delta Mid
• 2003 Festival Talking Elephant
• 2004 Over the Next Hill Compass
• 2007 Sense of Occasion Matty Grooves
• 2007 On the Ledge: 35th Anniversary Concert Dream Catcher Records
• 2010 Dirty Linen: Live At the Marlowe Theatre
• 2011 Ebbets Field 1974 LIVE with Sandy Denny