Fair play Fairport: glories of Liege and Lief revisited
August 14, 2007
Eddie Yates, aka Vernon Scripps and even Geoffrey Hughes, and Mike Harding - joint comperes for the occasion - were dead right.
This was a night when history was being made, and we were all part of it just by being there.
One track - Come All Ye - is captured on a YouTube clip later in this posting.
What were the best gigs you ever attended? I remember Touchstone and De Dannan (with Mary Black), both in Bristol, that night at my old folk club when Christy Moore came a week later than booked (according to me, though not to him) and shared the night with Tony Capstick. There have been others.....from Celtic Connections (Glasgow) and Celtic Colours (Cape Breton) to Cambridge (festival) and the Royal Festival Hall (several memorable concerts, including Steeleye Span, Relativity and De Dannan again).
And now I can add Fairport Convention after they reproduced, track by track, their tremendous 1969 album Liege and Lief at the 2007 Cropredy festival.
All five male members of the band that originally made the album - Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Swarbrick, Richard Thompson and Dave Mattacks - reassembled on stage for the event.
In poor Sandy Denny's place, and filling her boots quite magnificently, was Chris While. Chris, whose daughter and singing partner Kellie was also there, in her capacity as producer of Mike Harding's BBC Radio 2 show (which will be broadcasting Liege and Lief one Wednesday soon), is a great singer.
When I described her performance to a friend two days later, he replied: "Knowing your view of Sandy, and of other attempts to imitate or act as substitute for her, that is some test for her to have passed."
He was right. I can think of no one better equipped to have handled the crucial vocal role of the album; she oozed affection and respect for the musical event in which she was participating and frequently sounded like Sandy.
There were other fabulous performances at Cropredy. I saw one of them - Show of Hands, with their anthem-like songs of life for the common man and woman.
Today, I learned of another: Beth Gibbons, all of 15 and part of Tiny Tin Lady, overcame being scared out of her wits to woo the huge crowd of Sandy Denny fans with a glorious version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes? I was by then celebrating a memorable performance of another kind (Sunderland 1 Spurs 0).
But I trust my informant, who tells me it was a supreme moment of the weekend, so Bravo Beth.
And thanks to Fairport and their associates for making my small part of that weekend so enjoyable.
What a shame that certain others didn't raise their game, too.
If the remastered Liege and Lief CD had been on sale at Cropredy, would it not have sold up to 5,000 copies?
Its absence did not just make me cross, it clearly annoyed Ashley Hutchings as well. You can, of course, buy it here.
- I have returned from a long weekend - Cropredy, family, football etc - with a small mountain of work to climb, and apologise that this article appeared by fits and starts.........but if you were at Cropredy, you were almost certainly there for rather longer (I attended only on Friday), so please let me know how it was for you, but don't necessarily try this at home.
I wanted to update this item, replace the dead photo/video links and make a couple of corrections (eg Mike `Harding appears as `Hading) .
Typepad, which hosts the site, won't let me for some reason I cannot explain.
Posted by: Colin Randall | March 02, 2021 at 11:26 AM
I have finally fixed the type snd video but q’ struggling so hard to improve the photos
Posted by: Colin Randall | October 17, 2022 at 12:51 PM