So here we have two records by a band I have loved almost since first hearing them. I have suffered at times it seems through many incarnations, some glorious and some far from satisfactory. I have never been disappointed by a live performance but often bemused by those records.
Fairport Convention have been a constant on my musical landscape. They are one of the very few bands I can say I have bought everything they have ever released and regretted a good amount of it at times but I keep doing it. This may be the definition of fan or stupid. To be honest there is always at least one or two moments I can revisit again and again.
My first foray into the heady world of folk rock, other than Jethro Tull was Fairport’s album Nine. It is distinguished by being an album by a band that has no actual original members performing on it. Of course I didn’t know that at the time. It is also a multi-national album with Jerry Donahue from the USA, Trevor Lucas from Australia and Swarb, Peggy and DM providing the English.
So excitement prevailed when I scored a pretty good copy of Nine along with Rosie. No original members present on either but still two solid mid seventies efforts from the band. Swarb’s vocal on To Althea from Prison is a thing of joy, wah wah fiddle on Bring ‘Em Down is amazing and Donahue’s guitar playing is as spectacular as you may need. This makes Nine the stronger album, although Rosie being patchier does have The Plainsman and I have always enjoyed Furs and Feathers and Rosie, they get a little sentimental at times.
I remember the joy of Nine when I first heard it, I also remember me and my friends attempting to recreate the back cover at our first Cropredy festival. If I ever find my photograph I may post it here. Soon after these albums Sandy rejoined and things changed with her addition, not for the worse but just different.
That first Cropredy we staggered to was 1982. A feature of it was the reformation of the Nine line up. This was a dream for me as I rocked out to Bring ‘Em Down and Polly On The Shore in a befuddled haze. Watching the videos on youtube proves the band were similarly befuddled but having a great time. It was however a 16 yr old’s epiphany of what makes live music so special.
A week later we were all at the Monsters of Rock festival lurching around to Saxon, Uriah Heep, Status Quo, Hawkwind; Gillan and Anvil. It was a heady summer obviously.
These two are part of a more extensive Fairport score I made at garage sales today. They were the first two I played in a sentimental haze. In with them was Angel Delight, Rising for the Moon and In Real Time. I then got a little carried away and ordered Full House and Unhalfbricking. There is something about that countdown to Cropredy time that causes sentimentality to take control.