Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)

Fairport Convention are a successful English band who are credited with inventing ‘electric folk’, a subgenre of folk rock based heavily on traditional English folk songs.

Liege & Lief was the third album Fairport Convention released in 1969 - a highly productive year for them. It marked the culmination of the move they had been making towards traditional English folk, and became their most successful album. However it almost did not happen, as the band were in danger of falling apart after a tragic motorway crash which killed drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn. The rest of the band all suffered injuries of varying severity. However after recovering they managed to move forwards, hiring new drummer Dave Mattacks. Dave Swarbrick, who had appeared as a guest musician on Unhalfbricking, also joined as a full-time member. This gave them their 'classic' lineup of Sandy Denny (vocals), Richard Thompson (guitar), Simon Nicol (guitar), Dave Swarbrick (fiddle), Ashley Hutchings (bass) and Dave Mattacks (drums).
Whilst English folk music had been an important part of their last two albums, on Liege & Lief they embraced it fully, and created what is now known as 'electric folk' - folk-rock music based on traditional English songs. Five of the album's eight songs were traditionals, and the remaining three band originals fit perfectly alongside them in terms of style. Swarbrick's fiddle playing proved to be a vital ingredient in creating this new sound, with which they forged a connection between contemporary rock music and an England of bygone years.
It is still today considered to be their crowning achievement, and is credited with starting the electric folk genre. However the 'classic' Liege & Lief lineup only lasted this one album - after its release founding member Ashley Hutchings left to pursue traditional music further with Steeleye Span, and Sandy Denny also left to form Fotheringay.

Unhalfbricking (1969) <|> Full House (1970)
More from Fairport Convention



Anonymous said...

Thank you. A classic w/Sandy & R. Thompson. Tam Lin is the best!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant album!