Guide to British Music of the 1960s


Fairport Convention

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Judy Dyble – vocals, Simon Nicol – guitar/vocals, Richard Thompson – guitar/vocals, Ian Matthews – guitar/vocals, Ashley Hutchings – bass, Martin Lamble - drums

Fairport Convention was one of the main bands behind the development of folk rock on the late 1960s. The band had come together in London and was originally called Tim Tuner’s Narration. The name was changed to Fairport Convention after a house in which they lived. The band had a developed a style similar to that which was coming out of the West Coast of America. This led to inevitable comparisons which groups such as Jefferson Airplane. After the first album, Fairport Convention, had been issued on Polydor, Judy Dyble left and formed Trader Horne. She was replaced by Sandy Denny who has previously sung with The Strawbs. By now Joe Boyd had joined as producer and helped to set up a deal with Chris Blackwell’s new Island Records. This line-up recorded the second album What We Did on our Holidays.

Ian Matthews was the next the leave the band. As part of Matthews Southern Comfort he had a number one hit with Woodstock. He later formed Plainsong with Andy Roberts. Martin Lamble was killed in a traffic accident shortly before the third album Unhalfbricking was released. Si Du Tois Partir was a single hit from the album. The album also marked a move towards a more traditional English sound. Lamble was replaced by Dave Mattacks as well as Dave Swarbrick on violin who had been a guest musician on the most recent album. Liege & Lief was issued in 1970 and this became Fairport Convention’s most successful album.

After Liege & Lief Sandy Denny left to form Fortheringay while Ashley Hutchings founded Steeleye Span. Sandy Denny rejoined the group for 1975’s Rising for the Moon but was killed in a fall in 1978. Richard Thompson left to become a solo artist in 1971 as well as making albums with his wife Linda. Simon Nichol was the last original member to leave the band in 1972. He has played regularly with Thompson since. Dave Mattacks has played in a number of bands including back Andy Fairweather-Low and Richard Thompson and joined Jethro Tull at one point.

Fairport Convention is still a working band including hosting and playing the annual Cropready festival.

Making Time recommendation

  • What We Did on Our Holidays

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