170. Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)
1. Come All Ye
3. Matty Groves
4. Farewell Farewell
7. Tam Lin
8. Crazy Man Michael
Fairport Convention beat even the brilliant Unhalfbricking with this album. You can hear a clear tendency to move more towards the folksy side of things, most of the tracks are old folk songs, but Fairport don't stop using electric instruments extremely effectively to make their folk music. If anything there is an even greater symbiosis between folk and rock in this album.
The songs sound ancient and modern at the same time. They sound the way folk should sound in the 1969 context, it isn't a snapshot of a time past, but the natural evolution of these songs while still staying firmly in their tradition. There is no clash between the modern and the old here, the relationship is perfect.
Fairport make another beautiful album, with one of the best folk voices of all time in the late Sandy Denny in what is one of the best electrical folk albums ever. Unfortunately Fairport in this configuration died after this album, so this is one of a kind, and only more precious for it. If you like folk you really need this. Napster provides it for streaming, and you can buy it from Amazon UK or US.
1. Matty Groves
2. Come All Ye
3. Tam Lin
4. The Deserter
Most of the original Line up of Fairport at the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards, playing Matty Groves:
In between recording and releasing Unhalfbricking, tragedy struck. Fairport Convention's van crashed on the M1 motorway on the way home from a gig in Birmingham. Martin Lamble - who was 19 years old - and Jeannie Franklyn, Richard Thompson's girlfriend, were killed. The rest of the band suffered injuries of varying severity.
The young musicians nearly decided to call it a day, but they didn't. Once recovered, they went back into the studio. Matthews had left the band by then and Dave Mattacks took over the vacant drum stool. The resulting LP, Liege & Lief, was launched with a sell-out concert in London's Royal Festival Hall late in 1969. Dave Swarbrick had made a big contribution to the project and he now joined the band full-time.
Soon after the release of Liege & Lief, Ashley Hutchings left Fairport to further pursue traditional music in a new band, Steeleye Span, and later in the Albion Band. Sandy Denny also left to form Fotheringay and later embarked on a solo career.
It would be voted the 'Best Folk Album Ever' by BBC Radio 2 listeners in 2002, and 'Most Influential Folk Album Of All Time' by public vote for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006.