What could possibly be more entertaining than an album largely made up of cover versions of North American songwriters by a bunch of young people from England, there are a few original compositions. Sounds truly awful doesn’t it?
However when you are Fairport Convention and it’s the sixties and you have Ian (now Iain) Matthews and Sandy Denny singing, Richard Thompson’s youthful and tasty electric guitaring and Ashley Hutchings impeccable taste choosing the songs, along with one of the truly great rhythm guitarists in Simon Nicol and Martin Lamble’s understated drumming, you have what is really a great lost sixties album and the missing piece before the change in direction to studious deconstruction of the English folk idiom in Liege and Lief. (Now that is what I call a truly great run on sentence.)
The album is Heyday and is one of the most cohesive archival albums to ever appear. It has since been added to expanded and grown to multi disk CD collections. There is however a joy to the 1987 original record. With covers of songs by Johnny and June Cash, Eric Andersen, Gene Clark, the Everly Brothers, Richard Farina and the inevitable Dylan cover, it’s a romp through Joe Boyd and Ashley Hutchings combined record collections. Wisely avoiding the blues, due to the band perhaps being decidedly too polite and reserved, for the gentle countrified sounds it is a success of tasty playing and beautiful harmonies.
Fairport would go on to be a seminal band in the creation of British folk-rock. They released the album that is universally if wrongly, acclaimed as the best folk-rock album of all time in Liege and Lief, founded their own institution of a festival and saw two of the best British songwriters pass through the band. They would never sound so innocent again even though they made perhaps more important records these sessions from the BBC in the late sixties is a band of fans recording their own playlist for the van. So if you want to revel in that 60’s joy and swinging hipness get a copy relax and let Heyday wash over you.
It will also cure your orange man blues for a short time, this is guaranteed.
And they all look like such nice polite young people on the cover.
This album also largely informed my romp through 60’s songwriters for many years.