Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

CD$10.49

Pop - Released December 1, 1969 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In the decades since its original release, more than one writer has declared Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief the definitive British folk-rock album, a distinction it holds at least in part because it grants equal importance to all three parts of that formula. While Fairport had begun dipping their toes into British traditional folk with their stellar version of "A Sailor's Life" on Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief found them diving head first into the possibilities of England's musical past, with Ashley Hutchings digging through the archives at the Cecil Sharp House in search of musical treasure, and the musicians (in particular vocalist Sandy Denny) eagerly embracing the dark mysteries of this music. (Only two of the album's eight songs were group originals, though "Crazy Man Michael" and "Come All Ye" hardly stand out from their antique counterparts.) Liege & Lief was also recorded after a tour bus crash claimed the lives of original Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's girlfriend; as the members of the group worked to shake off the tragedy (and break in new drummer Dave Mattacks and full-time fiddler Dave Swarbrick), they became a stronger and more adventurous unit, less interested in the neo-Jefferson Airplane direction of their earlier work and firmly committed to fusing time-worn folk with electric instruments while honoring both. And while Liege & Lief was the most purely folk-oriented Fairport Convention album to date, it also rocked hard in a thoroughly original and uncompromising way; the "Lark in the Morning" medley swings unrelentingly, the group's crashing dynamics wring every last ounce of drama from "Tam Lin" and "Matty Groves," and Thompson and Swarbrick's soloing is dazzling throughout. Liege & Lief introduced a large new audience to the beauty of British folk, but Fairport Convention's interpretations spoke of the present as much as the past, and the result was timeless music in the best sense of the term. ~ Mark Deming
CD$10.49

Folk/Americana - Released June 1, 1968 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
By far the most rock-oriented of Fairport Convention's early albums, this debut was recorded before Sandy Denny joined the band (Judy Dyble handles the female vocals). Unjustly overlooked by listeners who consider the band's pre-Denny output insignificant, this is a fine folk-rock effort that takes far more inspiration from West Coast '60s sounds than traditional British folk. Fairport's chief strengths at this early juncture were the group's interpretations, particularly in the harmony vocals, of obscure tunes by American songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Emitt Rhodes, and Jim & Jean. Their own songs weren't quite up to that high standard, but were better than many have given them credit for, with "Decameron" and "Sun Shade" in particular hitting wonderfully fetching melancholic moods. It's true that Fairport would devise a more original style after Denny joined, but the bandmembers' first-class abilities as more American pop-folk-rock-styled musicians on this album shouldn't be undersold. ~ Richie Unterberger

Folk/Americana - Released December 1, 1969 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Download not available
In the decades since its original release, more than one writer has declared Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief the definitive British folk-rock album, a distinction it holds at least in part because it grants equal importance to all three parts of that formula. While Fairport had begun dipping their toes into British traditional folk with their stellar version of "A Sailor's Life" on Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief found them diving head first into the possibilities of England's musical past, with Ashley Hutchings digging through the archives at the Cecil Sharp House in search of musical treasure, and the musicians (in particular vocalist Sandy Denny) eagerly embracing the dark mysteries of this music. (Only two of the album's eight songs were group originals, though "Crazy Man Michael" and "Come All Ye" hardly stand out from their antique counterparts.) Liege & Lief was also recorded after a tour bus crash claimed the lives of original Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's girlfriend; as the members of the group worked to shake off the tragedy (and break in new drummer Dave Mattacks and full-time fiddler Dave Swarbrick), they became a stronger and more adventurous unit, less interested in the neo-Jefferson Airplane direction of their earlier work and firmly committed to fusing time-worn folk with electric instruments while honoring both. And while Liege & Lief was the most purely folk-oriented Fairport Convention album to date, it also rocked hard in a thoroughly original and uncompromising way; the "Lark in the Morning" medley swings unrelentingly, the group's crashing dynamics wring every last ounce of drama from "Tam Lin" and "Matty Groves," and Thompson and Swarbrick's soloing is dazzling throughout. Liege & Lief introduced a large new audience to the beauty of British folk, but Fairport Convention's interpretations spoke of the present as much as the past, and the result was timeless music in the best sense of the term. ~ Mark Deming
CD$10.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD$10.49

Pop - Released July 3, 1969 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

HI-RES$14.99
CD$9.99

Folk/Americana - Released June 15, 2018 | Matty Grooves

Hi-Res
Fairport Convention are indisputably one of the best groups in the Californian-inspired wave of British folk rock, and have been since their first eponymous album, released in 1968. With voices that sound like something from the Mamas and the Papas, Dylanesque acoustics, and talented songwriters, the group got better with each passing album. What We Did On Our Saturday is made up of no fewer than 25 tracks which provide a masterful account of the tradition. Blending traditional British folk, steel guitar, Californian sounds, and solo picking, all into a rock groove, Fairport Convention knew how to seduce the USA. A year after they celebrated their half-century, they retrace their musical steps in this double volume. It's no surprise, then, that Time Will Show The Wiser should be the first track, followed by Reno Nevada from 1968. But then there is a little surprise: the sublime Suzanne by Leonard Cohen gives us the voice of Judy Dyble, the first Fairport singer. Chris Leslie picked this classic: a poignant and faithful version. This is not a simple playlist, but a real revisiting of some songs, interpreted by new members or with an enriched composition. It's an album where current or old members rub shoulders, including Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Iain Matthews, Dave Mattacks, Judy Dyble, Martin Allcock and Ralph McTell. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
CD$77.99

Folk/Americana - Released June 30, 2017 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Come All Ye: The First Ten Years is a curious selection for a mammoth box set to commemorate the 5Oth anniversary of Fairport Convention, the British folk-rock act who changed everything. It's huge, with seven discs that house 121 tracks and nine hours of music; what's more, 55 of these selections are previously unreleased. That last fact should be enough to grab the faithful by the throat and get them to the shop and plunk down their hard-earned dosh. This box was compiled and produced by none other than Andrew Batt, the man with the fussy ear who helmed Sandy Denny's beloved collection I've Always Kept a Unicorn: The Acoustic Sandy Denny (bring it back into print, man!), and the glorious deluxe edition of Fairport's Rising for the Moon. The box includes healthy selections from the band's first 13 studio albums through 1978's Tippler's Tales (nothing from The Bonny Bunch of Roses though); but none are in their entirety. The bulk contains outtakes, alternates, BBC sessions, live material (like a killer "Sweet Little Rock 'n Roller" from the Troubadour in 1970, or "All Along the Watchtower" from 1975 in Norway), rarities. etc. Some of these appeared with less-than-optimal sonics on the 2010 Sandy Denny box set, or as bonus tracks on various album reissues (again without this level of audio quality). One example of the treasure to be found within is on disc seven where Denny delivers a harrowing live version of "Down Where the Drunkards Roll" weeks before it appeared on Richard & Linda Thompson's I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight. Disc three contains a television performance of songs from the film The Man They Couldn't Hang that are more ragged and more expressive than the ones that appeared on the "Babbacombe" Lee album. Disc four holds unreleased tracks from an unreleased album that included Canadian David Rhea. Another Denny gem, the original version of "After Halloween" is far superior to the officially released one. The final two discs contain full concert recordings. Number six is live from Fairfield Hall in December 1973 and offers a version of the traditional "Days of 49" followed by a burning "Fiddlestix." Disc number seven was cut in the U.S. at L.A.'s Troubadour in 1974. Opening with Bob Dylan's "Down in the Flood," it flows through Trevor Lucas' "Ballad of Ned Kelly" "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," and Denny's classic "Who Knows Where the Time Goes." That show, and the box, end with the unlikely rave-up of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day." There are dozens upon dozens of selections punters can argue over. What it all amounts to is that in part or in its entirety, Come All Ye: The First Ten Years is essential listening. For fans, all of this is necessary, for the curious, start with the studio offerings (there are two fine offerings entitled Five Classic Albums, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) or the double-disc Gold from 2008. ~ Thom Jurek
CD$14.99

Folk/Americana - Released June 1, 1975 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD$10.49

Pop - Released July 1, 1970 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Fairport Convention is a group that has always beaten the odds -- that's why a version of the band is working in the 21st century. By the time of this, the group's fifth album, key members Ashley Hutchings and Sandy Denny had exited the lineup, yet the group continued here without skipping a beat, for the first time without a female singer -- and it turned out not to make a major difference. Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick took over as singers, and Dave Pegg (more recently of Jethro Tull) joined on bass, and the resulting album was actually more viscerally exciting than its predecessor, Liege and Lief, if not quite as important as that record, since it came first. Even vocally, this version of the group needed offer no apologies. Thompson, Swarbrick, Pegg, and Simon Nicol harmonize beautifully around strong lead vocals. Not only does the singing here retain the high standard of the earlier incarnation of the group (check out the harmony singing on "Sir Patrick Spens" and "Flowers of the Forest"), but the playing throughout has greater urgency and punch, from the rousing Thompson-Swarbrick opener "Walk Awhile" to the haunting, moody, dazzling nine-minute "Sloth," which remained part of the group's live set for years. An indispensable recording, and one that anybody who wants to truly know this band, or to take in some of the best work of Richard Thompson's career, must own (his playing on "Sloth" and "Doctor of Physick" makes it worthwhile). Swarbrick's fiddle and viola playing is also among the best of his career. Ironically, Thompson would make this his last full-time studio venture with Fairport, but what a way to go! ~ Stephen Winnick & Bruce Eder

Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Download not available
Fairport Convention have had their fair share of anthologies, but the double-disc set Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years (1967-1975) is arguably the best yet, rivaling the classic Fairport Chronicles, which was released just as the classic lineup was splitting apart. Meet on the Ledge is more exhaustive than that collection, and it also boasts a number of rarities, including the previously unreleased "Bonny Bunch of Roses" and "Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman." Undoubtedly, those will be of interest to collectors, but the 32-track set is still primarily targeted at neophytes and casual fans. Happily, it fulfills its goal of offering a flawless introduction -- not only does it provide a concise history of the band, but it's also tremendously entertaining. Which means that even if it satiates some appetites, it will whet others. But the best thing is that the compilation works well enough to remain entertaining, even if you know the albums inside out. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$8.99

Pop - Released January 1, 1975 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

CD$12.99

Folk/Americana - Released August 10, 2018 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD$7.49

Folk/Americana - Released October 1, 1973 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Fairport Convention's ninth album is their most uneven. The group shows extraordinary virtuosity and musical instincts on folk-based tracks such as "The Hexamshire Lass" and "The Brilliancy Medley & Cherokee Shuffle" (which features some of the best mandolin playing you're ever likely to hear from an English band), but on numbers like "Polly on the Shore" and "To Althea From Prison," where the band supplies the music to traditional lyrics, they simply fall flat -- it isn't even that the playing is bad, so much as that the failed numbers are uniformly lugubrious in the way they're treated. Part of the problem lies with the fact that while Lucas and Donahue were good guitarists, they weren't terribly interesting -- where Richard Thompson always came up with something surprising and unexpected on Fairport's songs, Lucas and Donahue stick with fairly routine pop music sounds, more in keeping with the Eagles than the group that recorded Liege and Lief, Full House, and House Full. Lucas' "Bring 'Em Down" is a decent song, with some strong singing and playing by the composer and a lovely and powerful fiddle solo by Swarbrick, but it overstays its welcome and loses its cohesion -- "Sloth" it is not. Too much of the album is taken up by easily forgotten contemporary-style rockers like "Big William" and throwaways such as the countrified "Pleasure and Pain"; not even the upbeat, riff heavy "Possibly Parsons Green" makes up for this problem. And the rather plain cover art didn't help matters any when it came to selling this record. ~ Bruce Eder
CD$8.99

Pop - Released June 1, 1986 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Recorded during Fairport Convention's September 1970 shows in Los Angeles (their second visit to the city in six months), House Full captures the four-piece Full House lineup at its zenith -- a point proven by the marathon renditions of "Sloth" and "Matty Groves," which are among its epic highlights. Anybody who thought Sandy Denny was the only person who could convincingly perform the latter is certainly in for a pleasant surprise, as is anyone who thought the Albion Band's version of "Battle of the Somme" was the definitive rendition. By year's end, however, this particular Fairport Convention lineup shattered, as Richard Thompson moved on to a solo career. This performance, with its taste of two songs originally intended for a presplit new album, is a vivid portrayal of all that listeners lost when he went. ~ Dave Thompson
HI-RES$12.49
CD$7.99

Folk/Americana - Released March 10, 2017 | Matty Grooves

Hi-Res
Electric/folk legends Fairport Convention present their 28th studio album, 50:50@50, following 2015's Myths and Heroes. The album features six newly recorded studio tracks alongside a selection of live tracks taken from performances between 2014 and 2016. 50:50@50 was released by the band's own label, Matty Grooves. ~ Liam Martin
CD$8.99

Folk/Americana - Released March 1, 2015 | Matty Grooves

CD$7.49

Folk/Americana - Released April 16, 2011 | Matty Grooves

This album comes at a time of big changes for Fairport, with their own new label, and a face into the future, as the title implies. That's all brought a new attitude to the music, with a slightly rawer, more rocking feel, as on "Wait for the Tide to Come In," where Simon Nicol's electric guitar work simply sparkles. The oldest member of a long-running band, Nicol even takes lead vocals on a reworking on their 1969 hit "Si Tu Dois Partir," which even manages to incorporate the percussion break from original drummer Martin Lamble, thanks to the magic of technology, and thus connects the present to the past in more ways than one. Elsewhere the songs are of a consistently high standard, with Chris Leslie's "I'm Already There" a standout. In a couple of places the music veers toward that comfortable middle of the road space Fairport's carved out over the last few years, but they seem to jerk themselves away before becoming too complacent about the music. And when they do veer into instrumental work, "Canny Capers" is the equal of anything they've managed in the past, the twists and gyrations of its lines both daunting and entertaining. There's only one traditional song on this disc, "Winter Wassail," with its small surprises that proves great satisfaction. So what does this say about Fairport for the future? Other than they'll still be there, and that they're in the process of taking a long hard look at themselves, not a great deal. But if this new attitude and grit persists, there'll be plenty of excellent music ahead. ~ Chris Nickson
CD$6.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | A&M

This is hardly "the best of Fairport Convention," focusing as it does on a pretty slim slice of their career. All of these ten songs were done within about a year and a half of each other between 1968 and 1970. As it happens, this is the peak of their career, and the phase that saw them progress into interesting variations on folk-rock with each album, from a more balanced base to a more avowedly British traditional one. But it's a small sample nevertheless. It draws two or three tracks apiece from the albums What We Did on Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief, and Full House. It does include several of the songs that most fans and critics would value among the best of the band's output -- "Meet on the Ledge," "Fotheringay," "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," "Percy's Song," "Matty Groves," "Sloth," and "Now Be Thankful." Even here, though, there's plenty of room for questioning, particularly with the omission of "Tam Lin" (perhaps their best-known song in America) and "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (which was their only British hit single). Since all of the albums from which these songs are taken are regarded as notable works in their own right, and since there's a much more comprehensive two-CD anthology of the band's early work (Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years (1967-1975), this disc can only be viewed as something of use to very casual listeners, though the music it contains is good. ~ Richie Unterberger
CD$7.49

Folk/Americana - Released April 22, 2011 | Matty Grooves

Fairport Convention's Fame and Glory is an album given over entirely to compositions by Breton songwriter Alan Simon, who proves to be a good fit for the venerable British folk-rock outfit. The band is well served by material that delves back into the Middle Ages and beyond, referring to the Arthurian legend more than once. A third of the tracks are instrumentals; four are live recordings; and there are guest vocalists including Jacqui McShee and John Wetton. All that said, this remains a characteristic Fairport Convention album, with the violin and flute pacing folk-rock arrangements and Simon Nicol handling most of the singing. Using the Simon songs is just a way of coming up with an album's worth of music to play in their typical style. ~ William Ruhlmann
CD$8.99

Folk/Americana - Released January 1, 2008 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)