10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Simply groundbreaking and breathtaking.,
This review is from: Liege And Lief (Audio CD)
There can't be many albums that utterly redefine the musical landscape. Perhaps the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen"? Or Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde"? Or the Velvet Underground? Anyway, this is up there with the best.
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.