Heyday -The Bbc Sessions 1968 -1969/Extended - Fairport Convention
Extra Tracks, Import, Remastered
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When a dozen of these songs were released on the first (1987) issue of Heyday, Fairport's original producer, Joe Boyd, revealed that almost 20 years earlier he'd vetoed numbers like Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone," and the Everly Brothers' "Gone, Gone, Gone" from consideration for the LPs Unhalfbricking and Liege And Lief on the grounds that "Americans did these sorts of songs in their sleep better than any English band could hope to." Any view from 30-odd years later is likely to be obscured by rosy clouds of nostalgia, but Boyd's opinion seems vindicated, especially now that the album has been extended with tracks from the British tradition--such as "Nottamun Town," "Reynardine," and "Tam Lin"--that demonstrate what Fairport really did well. Also added to the '87 album are a couple of touching originals by Sandy Denny performed as solos, "Fotheringay" and "Autopsy," and an appealingly ramshackle go at Richard Thompson's bayou-blues "Cajun Woman." --Tony Russell
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Indeed. Anything Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson did during their brief association is worth hearing, particularly their work together in Fairport--they really did have a kind of Billie Holiday/Lester Young sympatico thing going. Fairport was famous in it's early days for it's eclectic taste in covers, and this CD was released partly to show that off. Lots of highligts, among them the slightly bizarre acid-rock version of Joni Mitchell's I Don't Know Where I Stand; Denny singing Leonard Cohen, although she only gets to sing half of each song, sharing the lead vocal with Ian Matthews-- her contribution to Bird on a Wire is especially great, she really has a feel for Cohen's sensibility; Denny's gorgeous a cappella intro to Percy's Song; the beautiful harmony singing of Matthews and Denny on Cash's I Still Miss Someone, the Everly Brothers Gone Gone Gone, and ex-Byrd Gene Clark's Tried So Hard, to name but a few. Reno, Nevada shoulda been a Top of the Pops hit.
This "Extended" version includes material from the entire span of the Denny-Thompson edition of Fairport, including--in addition to songs that never appeared on an official Fariport release--live versions of two songs from What We Did on Our Holidays, four songs from Unhalfbricking and two songs from Liege and Lief. The latter were a bit of a disappointment to me--Raynardine is good, although very much like the version on Leige and Lief, but on Tam Lin they sound a little stiff compared to the record version, that is up until the very end, when they start jamming (Ashley Hutchings warns in the liner notes that these were "very early outings for these traditional songs"). Still, well worth having if you like this sort of thing.