Wednesday, July 29, 2015

full house

Fairport Convention carried on with this powerful and exciting traditional folk rock hybrid.    They had gone through several lineup changes after their debut Fairport Convention in 1968, with Sandy Denny replacing departing singer Judy Dyble for three groundbreaking albums released in 1969:     What We Did on Our Holidays,  Unhalfbricking,  and  Liege & Lief .   After that Ashley Hutchings went on to form Steeleye Span and Sandy Denny left the band as well.  

Simon Nicol reveals:    "We were without a singer. No one was willing: no-one wanted to be the first bus out of the garage. I suppose that Swarb was more used to being in front, in the limelight, than the rest of us. Richard and I were both more shy. So Swarb got pushed out there by default. And as Richard's song-writing became more central to what we were doing, so he came forward more too. It's natural that a writer should present their own songs. I just joined in for variety. Of course, Richard and I had sung backing vocals before - even though you couldn't hear them.    I can't remember who decided that we should all live together although, of course, we'd done that successfully in Winchester the previous summer. But it was Robin Gee, our road manager, and I who were saddled with finding somewhere for the band to live and rehearse. After we'd looked at the Angel in Little Hadham - twice if I recall - I remember phoning round everyone to tell them it was too bleak, too spartan, grubby, damp, inadequate bathrooms and so on. But by the time we decided the Angel would be no good, Swarb and his family was on the way there from Milford Haven in a removal van.    As things turned out, the Angel was OK even though it was pretty basic and freezing cold. It ended up as quite a headcount there. Robin and Richard were the only singles at first, though another roadie called David Harry joined us later. The rest of us were married - DM and his missus, me and mine, Swarb with his wife and stepdaughter, and Peggy and Chris with their baby daughter. One bathroom, one sink, one kettle for all of us! But everybody was happy and it worked socially. We were remarkably tolerant of one another: 'Who's had my bleedin' cornflakes?' Nobody would do the washing up though - it would mount up until Chris Pegg put on her marigolds and put us to shame.    Musically, it was hugely important. We were still incorporating Peggy and we were working on a lot of new repertoire, and putting the older material into the perspective of what was effectively a new band. To do that fairly quickly obviously meant a lot of songwriting and a lot of rehearsal. We'd work hard all afternoon then toddle down to the Nags Head about seven or whenever it opened. Life went on pretty evenly really - mind you, it was a bit of a shock when the building got half demolished by a truck."

'Full House' was produced by Joe Boyd and engineered by John Wood at Sound Techniques in London during February and March of 1970 with vocals recorded at Vanguard Studios in New York City in April of 1970.   The sessions featured  Dave Swarbrick on vocals, fiddle, viola, and mandolin;   Richard Thompson on vocals and electric guitar;   Dave Pegg on vocals, bass guitar, and mandolin;   Dave Mattacks on drums, percussion, harmonium, and bodhran;   and  Simon Nicol on vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, bass guitar, and electric dulcimer.   

Thompson looks back:   "I suppose it’s what they call roots music these days. Some musicians, myself included, feel connected to a tradition that we can go back to for a long, cool drink of water occasionally. You may get “modern” from time to time, but the modes and harmonies of the old music always ring through. They talk about this a lot in classical music—Debussy told Stravinsky that he had to make his music more “Russian.” And of course all those English composers like Britten, Delius, and Vaughan Williams were always recycling the past. In Fairport, we felt real resonance in the music—it was giving back the tradition to the British audiences. I’m still plowing the same field, but it’s a very large field, and I haven’t seen the end of it yet."

'Full House' 
full album:

Side one
"Walk Awhile" (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) – 3:57
"Doctor of Physick" (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) – 3:37
"Dirty Linen" (Traditional, arrangement by Dave Swarbrick) – 4:17
"Sloth" (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) – 9:19
Side two
"Sir Patrick Spens" (Trad. arr. Fairport Convention) – 3:30
"Flatback Caper" (Ronald Cooper, Trad. arr. Fairport Convention, O'Carolan) – 6:24
"Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman" (Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick) – 5:31
"Flowers of the Forest" (Trad. arr. Fairport Convention) – 4:04

"Now Be Thankful" (the original mono mix) (Swarbrick/Thompson) - 2:24
"Sir B. McKenzie's Daughter's Lament for the 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat from the Straits of Loch Knombe, in the Year of Our Lord 1727, on the Occasion of the Announcement of Her Marriage to the Laird of Kinleakie" (Trad. arr. Fairport Convention) - 2:52
"Bonny Bunch of Roses" (Trad. arr. Fairport Convention) - 10:48
"Now Be Thankful" (a new stereo mix) - 2:24

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