Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On The Video Bar; FAIRPORT CONVENTION- The Legacy of a Band (featuring Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, and Dave Swarbrick)

On the video bar you can see performances by the seminal British folk rock group FAIRPORT CONVENTION, as well as those by original lead guitarist RICHARD THOMPSON, by Fairport's fiddler extraordinaire DAVE SWARBRICK, by the band's founder SIMON NICOL, and by Fairport's lead vocalist in the early days, the late SANDY DENNY (1947-1978).

Also presented are performances by groups and artists influenced by Fairport.

FAIRPORT CONVENTION exists to this day, led by founding member Simon Nicol and longtime bassist Dave Pegg (who also played bass with Jethro Tull during much of the last two decades).

Here's the link to their official website

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAIRPORT (According to "Rock Family Trees" by Pete Frame)

FAIRPORT CONVENTION was formed in November 1967. The first lineup consisted of Judy Dyble ( vocals and autoharp), Ian Mathews (vocals), Richard Thompson (lead guitar and vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar and vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass), and Martin Lamble ( drums).

Albums recorded during this time were FAIRPORT CONVENTION (June 1968) and WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS (Jan 1969)

In May of 1968 Sandy Denny replaced Dyble as vocalist, and Ian Mathews left in January 1969. Drummer Lamble died in an auto accident in June of 1969 and was replaced by Dave Mattacks. For the album UNHALFBRICKING (July 1969) fiddler Dave Swarbrick came in as a session player, and eventually joined fulltime for the album LIEGE AND LIEF (December 1969) . Swarbrick remained a fixture in the band until leaving in 1985.

LIEGE AND LIEF was hailed as THE British folk rock album. But there was tension in the Fairport camp, and bassist Hutchings left in November of 1969 to found STEELEYE SPAN (he was replaced by Dave Pegg). Sandy Denny left soon afterwards to form FOTHERINGAY, and for a solo career. She rejoined Fairport in March of 1974, but left again in January 1976. During this period she guested on Led Zeppelin's 4th album, and dueted with Robert Plant on THE BATTLE OF EVERMORE.

Sandy Denny, singer and composer of the classic "Who Knows Where The Time Goes", died of a brain injury sustained by a fall on a flight of steps in April, 1978. She was only 31 years old.

Richard Thompson left the band after recording FULL HOUSE in January 1971. Simon Nicol switched to lead guitar, and the quartet of Nicol, Swarbrick (now a lead vocalist along with Nicol), Pegg, and Mattacks released ANGEL DELIGHT (June 1971) and BABBACOMBE LEE (Nov. 1971). Nicol then left Fairport in November 1971, but returned in 1976 in lineup #15(!).

With Simon Nicol's departure Fairport had lost its last founding member-at least for a few years. The changes that occurred subsequently were fast and furious, and way too numerous to mention here. There were comings and going like a revolving door, and several breakups, suspensions, reunions, and more breakups for Fairport through the next two decades, until stability was restored by the late 1980s. Check their official website for the many lineup changes and musical releases from the mid 1970's to the mid 1980's.


The new century found Fairport in fine form. Concert halls were full and records were selling well. The year 2000 was marked by the very successful 'Y2K' tour and a new studio album, The Wood And The Wire.

Free Reed Records, an independent label, released Fairport Unconventional, a four-CD boxed set of rare and unreleased recordings from the band's 35-year career in 2002.

Fairport Convention won the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The seminal album Liege And Lief was voted 'Best Folk Album Ever' by Radio 2 listeners. In Summer 2006, Liege And Lief was awarded a Gold Disc for its continuing sales.

Fairport Convention is still one of the busiest bands around. The current line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) still packs venues on its frequent tours.

Each year starts with Fairport covering the length and breadth of Britain on its Winter Tour. In August, the band stages Fairport's Cropredy Convention music festival in Oxfordshire. Most years, there is a tour in the USA and Canada and UK tours by the Fairport Acoustic line-up and by spin-off band The Dylan Project.

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