Do you ever associate albums, songs or bands with a certain time of the year? When the leaves start turning and the pumpkins are out on everyone’s front steps, I hear Fairport Convention in my head and, specifically, their masterpiece, Liege & Lief.
My home away from home in high school was Fantasy Records, across from Pittsford Plaza. In fact, for a short period of time, I worked next door at Bill Gray’s. That proved to be a mistake because every week, I would cash my paycheck and go next door and spend it all on records.
One Fall day, I stumbled upon Liege & Lief. Fairport(nothing to do with the Rochester suburb) invented a new type of music with this album, electric, British Folk. I took my new purchases that day to C & G’s house on Falling Creek. I clearly remember putting on side 1 and hearing this:
My musical world had just changed forever. Cheryl said, “why are you listening to country music?” “It’s not country Cheryl, listen carefully. It’s related but it’s different.” I knew at that point that Sandy Denny sang on Battle of Evermore but had never heard anything else of hers. I read once that she was described as having had a contralto voice. I had to look that up. It means both high and low at the same time. There aren’t many female voices I can think of that I like more than Sandy’s. Linda Thompson comes close though.
Sandy & Fairport led me directly to exploring the music of Richard Thompson, their phenomenal guitarist. Richard Thompson, for anyone who has never met me, is one my main musical obsessions, and has been for over thirty years now. He deserves his own blog post so we’ll come back to him at a later date. Here he is playing Tam Lin with Fairport(a great Halloween song).