Unhalfbricking – Fairport Convention (1969)

Album no. 163/1001

A warm welcome for our folky friends Fairport Convention. This mob are considered pioneers of electric folk (or ‘English folk’ depending on who you talk to), so strap yourself in, this will be folky as shit.

This is their third album, and they’re moving towards a traditional sound and a little bit of commercial success. This album got to number 12 in the UK albums chart and set the tone for their direction going forward.

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: I have not, but I am vaguely aware of Fairport Convention. Folk, folk rock sort of thing?

CL: No. All I know about Fairport Convention is that a couple of the guys helped out Nick Drake on his first album ‘Five Leaves Left’. AND I LIKED THAT – so maybe this will follow in those same folky footsteps?

Standout track

NK: The best song is ‘Percy’s Song’, which I’m pretty sure was written by Bob Dylan. This version is pretty good though. I didn’t go for too much on this. It’s not the worst folk I’ve listened to, there’s no moping about in forests, but it’s a bit boring.

CL: OH NO NO NO. THIS IS EVERYTHING I HATED ABOUT PENTANGLE. No such hope for following in plain folky footsteps. I’m clearly pretty picky when it comes to vocalists – and I don’t really dig Sandy’s vocals here. BUT. Having said that, ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ isn’t too bad, but I think that’s really because it’s a pretty low-key, traditional folk song. I can get amongst that.

NK: I didn’t think her voice was the issue, she’s fine. The songs were a bit dull though. Special mention goes out to ‘Cajun Woman’, which is really awful.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: If you’d like to get a bit old-timey but not quite medieval this is for you.

CL: If you want hear Bob Dylan b-sides sung in a gloomy English manner. Why would anybody want this?

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: It’s folk but without the lutes in King Arthur’s court. The instruments are a little bit more modern (and less annoying) than the lost in the forest brigade.

CL: Clearly this was just a couple of people in England hearing how successful the folk-rock scene had become in the states and deciding they could have a crack too. Bring their own British cheer (see: gloom) to the genre.

NK: That’s a good point. Kind of like the way The Band went back to American folk for their stuff, Fairport Convention are looking back to traditional English gloom.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: Probably not. ‘Percy’s Song’ is good, but the rest of it went on a bit.

CL: Look, no I won’t be. I could handle ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’, but that’s it.

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

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