Fairport Convention – The Deserter

• “The Deserter” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to Caroline Hogan.

8.7 “Excellent Folk Rock / Americana from England”

From their 4th LP “Liege and Lief” (Island Records ILPS-9115) released in December, 1969.

My album review:

“Liege and Lief” was the third of three albums from Fairport Convention in 1969. Following on from the successful experiment of “The Sailor’s Life” on the preceding LP, it’s the first of their albums to be fully immersed in the folk form, looking to the English and Celtic traditionals for root inspiration. Now a sextet, the group lined up: Sandy Denny (vocals); Dave Swarbrick (fiddle, viola); Richard Thompson (electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals); Simon Nicol (electric, 6-string & 12-string acoustic guitars, backing vocals); Ashley Hutchings (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Dave Mattacks (drums, percussion). Kicking-off the set is “Come All Ye”, penned by Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings, which serves well as an invitational opener for roving minstrels everywhere. Swarbrick’s fiddle wavers approvingly. There are many treats to be heard here, most especially with the traditionals “Reynardine”, “The Deserter” and “Tam Line”. The aforementioned Dave Swarbrick’s arrival as a fulltime member is a masterstroke; his interplay with Richard Thompson’s leads are a key feature, alongside Sandy Denny’s ever-agreeable earnest vocals. Alas, this would prove to be her final statement with the group, as she moved on to explore ventures new.

You can check out the rest of my album reviews for the year here.

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