Thursday, November 11, 2010

Music Review: Fairport Convention -- Liege & Lief

Full article first published as Music Review: Fairport Convention – Liege & Lief on Blogcritics.

Hear ye, supt thou on this barest of bodkins. Or this briefest of excerpts. Whichever. Then pop over to and check out the full review:

Yet, it was not merely a tweaking of musical elements that gave the album its undeniable dark character. There is an unremitting melancholy that pervades the recording — the emotional aftermath of a still-too-recent tragedy, perhaps — and sad partings, death, murder, betrayal, and insanity are frequent themes therein; however, there is a mysticism and an ancient but ageless wonder that underlies the sadness – a timeless sound that transcends both traditional and new material to a point where it is difficult to ascertain which songs were first sang in the 16th century and which were composed in 1969. It was from this remarkable synthesis of disparate elements that the landmark Liege & Lief album was created.

That Liege & Lief was eventually haled as the quintessential British folk-rock album, and recognized twice, in 2002 and again in 2006, as the Most influential Folk Album of all time by BBC Radio 2, is understandable, given the almost netherworldly quality of the recording. But what rankles is just how woefully underrated a folk-rock band Fairport Convention is in general terms. For instance, you most likely will not be seeing Fairport on a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting ballot anytime soon, which is not so much surprising as it is infuriating, given the well-noted nearsightedness and blatant biases of Hall of Fame electors.

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