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Friday 18 March 2022

Fairport Friday


Someone, and apologies I can't remember who, recently commented on a blog that the first five albums by Fairport Convention were available for a reasonable price as one of those Five Classic Albums CD boxsets. Given that the only physical thing I had by them was the the CD compilation The History of Fairport Convention that was enough for me to press the trigger. It is also the next five Fridays sorted!

The self -titled first album was released in June 1968 on the Polydor label with a line up of Judy Dybie, Ian MacDonald (aka Iain Matthews), Richard Thompson,Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchins and Martin Lambie

It is not the electric traditional folk for which the band rightly became famous for. George in his Second is Better than First series on these pages compared it less that favourably against it's immediate successor What We Did On Our Holidays. His comment that its  lack of consistency in musical style makes it almost a compilation album of different genres is fairly accurate but I have a considerably higher opinion of their cover version of Joni Mitchell's Chelsea Morning than he does.

It is the only album on which Judy Dybie, who died age 71 in July 2020, sings (and knits) on. Her replacement in the band made a considerable impression as we shall discover next week.

None of the songs from this album appear on The History of Fairport Convention. Now whether that is a statement as to their quality or because the compilation is on Island I shall leave for you to decide

Fairport Convention - I Don't Know Where I Stand

Fairport Convention - Jack O'Diamonds


  1. It was a treat to revisit this album after reading Thompson's book.

  2. Their debut has always passed me by. Actually that should be: I have always passed by their debut album by. Intrigued by the Joni Mitchell cover (which I'd never heard before even by her) This means a spot of catching up

  3. "History of Fairport" is a great compilation album, Polydor versus Island licensing of tracks notwithstanding... FC were a changing band by the time "Holidays" - the first of the 3 extraordinary 1969 albums - slid out. By the time FC were on their wee "breather" in 1972 when "History of Fairport" was put together, their debut album belonged to a completely different band altogether. The only reason (the Bob cover) "Si Tu Dois Partir" is on the "History of Fairport" compilation is that it was their only 'hit' single (though that 7" single's B-side stands head and shoulders above the Dylan A-side). The rest of the tracks on the compilation totally overwhelm the wee silly Dylan ditty.
    Glad you got the Five Classic Albums CD boxset! Bargain! I have the massive Sandy set which covers the lot... and then some!

  4. This album was experimental and was never cohesive but it was a first glimpse into what they might achieve. Playing it now does make me think of the road not travelled. What if Richard Thompson had more closely pursued the style of writing on Sun Shade? Obviously, he went on to very fine things indeed but I still love that track. I do remember they were playing Reno, Nevada live and I was really disappointed that it wasn't on the original release.

  5. Not for the first time there is more to learn from the comments than the post!