FAIRPORT CONVENTION – A BRIEF HISTORY
T he 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. Titled for one of Fairport’s best loved classics, MEET ON THE LEDGE was recorded on their 35th Anniversary tour (2002) in Canterbury, England. The Nicol/Pegg/Sanders/Leslie/Conway lineup sparkles, and the pace is frequently relentless. Paramount here is the theme from MASH, in its “Suicide Is Painless” disguise, which spirals into a delirious “Matty Groves” (via a taste of “End of a Holiday”), to become one of those irresistible Fairport marathons, coming in at more than 12 minutes of strong, stomping good fun. The band’s own history is retold through such classics as a sprightly “Meet on the Ledge,” a driving “Walk Awhile” and a triumphant “Rosie,” and in a world of Fairport live albums to last most of you a lifetime, this is one of the ones that ensures that you’ll keep listening for more. On their night, there’s nothing like them. And this was one such night.
Click below to hear Fairport Convention’s masterful live version of THE WOOD AND THE WIRE