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Liege & Lief
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Performer Notes
  • Fairport Convention: Sandy Denny (vocals); Simon Nicol, Richard Thompson (guitar); Dave Swarbrick (violin, viola); Ashley Hutchings (bass); Dave Mattacks (drums).
  • The advertisements for Fairport Convention's epoch-making fourth album ran: "the first (literally) British folk rock LP ever." While that's not (literally) true, LIEGE & LIEF created the template for all subsequent recordings in that style. It also represented a catharsis for the band, which reconvened after a traumatic road accident that killed drummer Martin Lamble. Once again focused and with redoubtable folk fiddler Dave Swarbrick now permanently involved, Fairport threw themselves into the electrification of ballads, myths, and rollicking jigs. The results were both innovative and stimulating. The union was blessed. If you sat down and tried to imagine a dream folk-rock band, it still would not match the potential here. From the lusting pace of "Matty Groves" to the tender cooing of "Crazy Man Michael," Sandy Denny's voice and Richard Thompson's virtuosic guitar are the perfect conduits for this milestone, which has been imitated a thousand times, but never equalled.
Professional Reviews
Q (11/99, p.163) - Included in Q Magazine's Best Folk Albums of All Time - "...the group's most influential hour....it revolutionized the genre....Folk-rock's defining moment."

Uncut (p.84) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[R]ightly considered a folk-rock landmark, Fairport's fourth album contains music too mercurial to be constrained within one genre."

Uncut (p.174) - "LIEGE & LIEF set out a template for how rock and British folk could fuse together and become at once mystical and vital..."

The Wire (12/00, p.39) - "...The group's masterpiece....this is one of the monumentally great records of the last 40 years....A focused and thematically coherent work, the whole record steams along at an excited pace..."

Q (Magazine) (p.122) - "[A] folk-rock landmark, an amalgamation of traditional songs and self-penned ones that sounded just as authentically ancient."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.72) - "LIEGE & LIFE saw the Fairports burrow further into the comfort and shade of English folklore to give birth to folk rock."
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