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Fairport Convention - Interview

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 19 / 4 / 2017

Fairport Convention - Interview


Fairport Convention bassist Dave Pegg talks to Nick Dent-Robinson about the group's fiftieth anniversary this year and their forthcoming new album, which consists of both studio and live recordings

Fairport Convention - the original folk-rock band - celebrate their golden anniversary during 2017. The band was formed by Ashley Hutchings during 1967's “Summer of love” and it became hugely influential, nurturing the careers of many music greats - including Richard Thompson, Dave Swarbrick, Simon Nicol and Sandy Denny. The band will be embarking on a major tour this year and in March they are also releasing an album, appropriately named '50:50@50', to celebrate their half-century milestone. Seven of the fourteen tracks were recorded at recent Fairport concerts and the rest in the studio. Nine are compositions by members of the band. The album combines these brand new songs with favourites from Fairport's repertoire and there are guest lead vocals from Robert Plant and Pentangle's Jacqui McShee. Throughout Fairport's 50-year career, the band have attracted wide acclaim. Their 1969 'Liege & Lief' album is credited with originating the UK's folk-rock genre and was awarded a Gold Disc. It was also voted “The Most Influential Folk Album of All Time” by BBC Radio 2 listeners. Artists as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Seth Lakeman and Alice Cooper are Fairport fans and the band won the much coveted BBC Lifetime Achievement Award. Asked about Fairport's latest album, the band's bassist Dave Pegg said, “Fairport has never been a studio band. We need to tread the boards to pay the bills and live performance is very important to us. Which is why we decided that '50:50@50' would be half live recordings and half studio numbers. Some of the tracks were recorded at our annual music festival in Cropredy, Oxfordshire." “The studio work was done by producer John Gale at Woodworm Studios in Barford St Michael which I used to own. It always feels like coming home when we record there and, despite all the changes in recording technology, Fairport still put our albums together in a traditional way. For us the song always comes first. Then we work out arrangements that suit all of us – which takes just hours, not days. After that we record the rhythm section (drums and bass) with guide vocals and others playing along. Finally everyone overdubs with their individual parts. It really doesn't take us long as we have played together so much and all know our strengths and weaknesses." “The result will, I think, demonstrate the sheer versatlity of Fairport. The tracks range from new folk-rock ('Eleanor's Dreams') to lively instrumentals ('Danny Jack's Reward') and lovely lyrical songs like Chris Leslie's 'Our Bus Rolls On'. We also become Robert Plant's backing band for 'Jesus on the Mainline' which was recorded in one take and Pentangle's Jacqui McShee joins us as vocalist on 'Lady of Carlisle'. I hope everyone will enjoy the album which I feel is a fitting tribute to our half century of music. And I do look forward hugely to 2017's Cropredy which will be a very special festival with Petula Clark, Richard Thompson and some more very special guest artists.”

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Fairport Convention - Interview

Fairport Convention - Interview

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