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Fairport Convention

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(1967 – 1979, 1985 – present)

Fairport Convention is often credited with being one of the first English bands. Formed in 1967, Fairport rapidly developed from playing cover versions of American ‘west coast’ music to an individual style which melded music with traditional tunes and songs.

Like their peers The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Jefferson Airplane they were blessed with several considerable individual talents and produced music that -at least initially- was eclectic, as well as exploratory. This side of the band may best be heard on Heyday, a collection of tracks broadcast by the BBC. The move to a more British form of folk rock came primarily as a result of the enthusiasm of bassist Ashley Hutchings and producer Joe Boyd. Original singer Judy Dyble was replaced on their second LP What We Did On Our Holidays by Sandy Denny, an experienced folk singer and excellent composer in her own right. Fiddle virtuoso Dave Swarbrick joined, initially as sessioneer, on their third, Unhalfbricking. That LP has arguably their first two bona fide masterpieces. One is their version of the Sandy Denny song, Who Knows Where the Time Goes, popularized by Judy Collins, but characterised on their version by a perfect balance between Denny’s vocals and the exquisite support of the group as a whole, and lead guitarist Richard Thompson in particular.

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