Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking (1969)

Fairport Convention
  • Sandy Denny – vocals, harpsichord
  • Richard Thompson – electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, piano accordion, organ, backing vocals
  • Ashley Hutchings – bass, backing vocals
  • Simon Nicol – electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, backing vocals
  • Martin Lamble – drums, stacked chair backs on “Si Tu Dois Partir”[40]
Additional personnel
  • Iain Matthews – backing vocals on “Percy’s Song”
  • Dave Swarbrick – fiddle on “Si Tu Dois Partir”, “A Sailor’s Life”, and “Cajun Woman” and Mandolin on “Million Dollar Bash”
  • Trevor Lucas – triangle on “Si Tu Dois Partir”
  • Marc Ellington – vocals on “Million Dollar Bash”
  • Dave Mattacks – drums on “Ballad of Easy Rider”
Production
  • Recorded at Sound Techniques and Olympic Studios, London
  • Engineer: John Wood
  • Sleeve design: Diogenic Attempts Ltd.

Unhalfbricking was, if only in retrospect, a transitional album for the young Fairport Convention, in which the group shed its closest ties to its American folk-rock influences and started to edge toward a more traditional British folk-slanted sound. That shift wouldn’t be definitive until their next album, Liege & Lief. But the strongest link to the American folk-rock harmony approach left with the departure of Ian Matthews, who left shortly after the sessions for Unhalfbricking began. The mixture of obscure American folk-rock songs, original material, and traditional interpretations that had fallen into place with What We Did on Our Holidays earlier in the year was actually still intact, if not as balanced. Sandy Denny’s two compositions, her famous “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” and the far less celebrated but magnetically brooding “Autopsy,” were among the record’s highlights. So too were the goofball French Cajun cover of Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” (here retitled “Si Tu Dois Partir,” and a British hit) and the magnificent reading of Dylan’s “Percy’s Song,” though the bash through Dylan’s “Million Dollar Bash” was less effective. Richard Thompson’s pair of songs, however, were less memorable. The clear signpost to the future was their 11-minute take on the traditional song “A Sailor’s Life,” with guest fiddle by Dave Swarbrick, soon to join Fairport himself and make his own strong contribution toward reshaping the band’s sound.

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