Liege & Lief
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Top Customer Reviews
This was the band at their creative peak and the album is sympathetically produced by Joe Boyd. It is no wonder that this album regularly appears on Top 10 Best Albums of All Time lists. Though they recorded other wonderful albums, it will be for “Liege and Lief” that they will be remembered.
Highlighting Sandy Denny's ethereal vocals, the sometimes frenetic combination of Richard Thompson's guitar/Dave Swarbrick's fiddle relied on a rhythm section also containing various demi-gods of British folk music. Combining some of the very best performers of the 1960s and beyond, Fairport Convention were to folk-rock what John Mayall's Bluesbreakers or the Yardbirds were to R&B: a finishing school/academy of excellence.
As an aside for the hard-rock fraternity - Sandy Denny was the female singer on Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore".
This album is to me Fairport's apogee - it has the driven supernatural thrills of "Tam Lin" and the softer, yet still dark "Crazy Man Michael" juxtaposed with the narrative "Matty Groves" and some perfect tunes to accompany 'jigging about'.
The lyrical content is on the darker side; Goth-folk, should such a genre exist.
Over the last 20 years, with the sad exception of Sandy herself, who died too young, I have had the privilege to see most of the performers who passed through Fairport, some with the band itself and some in other projects/solo. [their album "history of..." gives a family tree] This band is, to me, the foundation-stone of folk-rock and one could say that this album is the gnomen on the sun-dial of British folk-rock/electro-folk casting its shadow through time.Read more ›
Having tinkered with traditional English folk music on 'Unhalfbricking', they decided to record an entire album of traditional music. Fortunately, they showed the good taste that had characterized their earlier works in both the choice of material and their arrangements. A number of songs seem as they were chosen to match Sandy Denny's beautiful voice perfectly, especially 'The Deserter' and 'Reynardine'. The handful of band compositions are done in traditional style as well; indeed, 'Crazy Man Michael' is almost more folk-music than folk-music. The two stand-out tracks, however, are the lengthy pieces 'Tam Lin' and 'Matty Groves', particularly the latter which is the very embodiment of folk-rock.
This is a good repackaging and I have to say: about bloody time. Island Records have shown a shameful indifference to their magnificent back catalogue over the years. The thick booklet features a detailed history by Joe Boyd and Ashley Hutchings and a wealth of rare and beautiful photos. The two bonus tracks are a bit of a disappointment, however. 'Sir Patrick Spens' was justly left off the album first time round and 'Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood' is just plain tedious.
Should you get it?Read more ›
With this recording, made after the band had been traumatised by a motor crash that robbed them of their iinventive drummer, Martin Lamble, Fairport single-handedly invented a new musical form marrying traditional British folksong with a serious rock arrangements. This is nothing like what American folk-rockers were doing in the 60s (with the possible exception of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and, of course, the mighty Band)(Music from Big Pink has been acknowledged by Fairport as their gold standard!)
There is not a duff track on this CD. Although the six members of this Fairport did play together in the future in different combinations, the six of them would never re-convene and, I believe, they only played a dozen or so concerts. This year (2007) the five remaining members (Plus Chris While filling in for the late Sandy Denny) will reprise the album at Fairport's Cropredy Convention.
The album highlights the folk sensibilities of Dave Swarbrick (fiddle and vocals) and Sandy Denny (wonderful heartbreaking vocals); Ashley Hutchings and Dave Mattacks (who, quietly, invented an entirely new and distinctive way of playing bass and drums) and Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol (possibly the best guitar pairing anywhere ever!)
More than thirty years on, Liege and Lief is awesome. Some of the musical themes got worked to death over the next decade (spare me fiddlers who speed up their tapes to emulate Swarb) but in their choice of material and because of their cracking musicianshp, Fairport created something unique. Quite simply they created something so special that nobody could follow it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not really being into folk music back then, I missed this one. I checked the band out a bit more when I heard Dave Swarbrick had died & got this album on recommendation. Read morePublished 20 days ago by david graham
very happy with liege and lief,5star.i would use this seller anytime.Published 1 month ago by james bailey
Knowing nothing of Fairport Convention and only award of the beautiful voice of Sandy Denny from hearing Who Knows Where The Time Goes I took a chance on this album after spotting... Read morePublished 2 months ago by D J F
Classic album, nicely remastered with previously unreleased tracks and with an informative, illustrated booklet telling how it all happened. Recommended.Published 3 months ago by Dr Pangloss