Thursday, November 30, 2006

163. Fairport Convention - Unhalfbricking (1969)

Track Listing

1. Genesis hall
2. Si tu dois partir
3. Autopsy
4. A Sailor's life
5. Cajun woman
6. Who knows where the time goes?
7. Percy's song
8. Million dollar bash


This is a great folk-pop-rock-jazz album. Fairport Convention are moving more towards the folksy than they did in previous albums not on this list and the mix is truly great. They sound a bit like a mix between The Band and Pentangle, stranded in the middle of the Atlantic somewhere.

The traditional alternative folksy fare is here, three Dylan covers, traditional songs, a perfect folk voice in Sandy Denny. However there are other elements and the use of guitars is great. Also, unlike folk purists they are thankfully not attempting to recapture any thing of a "British purity", they are attempting to bring folk one step further. Of course this means mainly anglo-folk of the States and Britain but even then one of the Dylan covers is translated into French.

Fairport are true originals with truly beautiful tracks, not just techincally accomplished but also very effective and catchy. You will catch yourself singing Si Tu Dois Partir in no time. So if you like late 60's folk this is essential listening, put it next to Nick Drake and Pentangle on your shelf. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. A Sailor's Life
2. Si Tu Dois Partir
3. Who Knows Where Time Goes
4. Genesis Hall

Final Grade



June Tabor completely murders A Sailor's Life for our enjoyment:


From Wikipedia:

Unhalfbricking was produced by Joe Boyd, who had signed Fairport Convention to his Witchseason roster of artists. He provided them with access to a trove of unrecorded songs written by Bob Dylan (another key influence of Denny's) that were held at the offices of Dylan's British publishers, Feldman's. The band selected "Percy's Song" (an outtake from The Times They Are A-Changin'), the John Wesley Harding song "Dear Landlord" (which didn't make it onto the final album), the Basement Tape composition "Million Dollar Bash," and the Bringing It All Back Home outtake "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" which they translated into French. Their version of "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (now known as "Si Tu Dois Partir") would provide them with their only British hit single. Denny brought two key compositions to Unhalfbricking: "Autopsy" and her most famous song, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" and also suggested that the band try the traditional song "A Sailor's Life". This 11-minute epic, featuring a guest appearance by fiddler Dave Swarbrick, would be the album's stand-out song and provide a template for British folk rock.

The title Unhalfbricking is a meaningless invention by one of the band members. The striking sleeve design featured neither title nor band name - rather like The Beatles' Abbey Road of the same year - but simply a portrait of Denny's parents, Neil & Edna Denny, standing outside the family home in Wimbledon, south London, with the band distantly visible through the garden fence.

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