Fairport Convention - Liege And Lief - Review
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critics' view

Arriving in December, “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.

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