Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention are an English revolving-door folk ensemble, founded in London 1967. The band debuted with a self-titled album on Polydor in 1968, followed by nine albums and two live discs on Island between 1969 and 1976. After a pair of 1977/78 releases on Vertigo, bassist Dave Pegg established Woodworm Records for all subsequent proper releases by the band.

Original co-vocalist Ian Matthews left after two albums to front the bands Southern Comfort and Plainsong; he subsequently launched a solo career and later cut an album in the band Hi-Fi with ex-Pavlov’s Dog vocalist David Surkamp. Fairport’s original female vocalist, Judy Dyble, left after the first album to form the folk-psych duo Trader Horne. Her replacement, Sandy Denny, stayed for three albums before departing for Fotheringay and a subsequent solo career. Guitarist/vocalist Richard Thompson left after 1970’s Full House, initially recording solo before launching an eight-year musical partnership with wife Linda Thompson.

Members: Richard Thompson (guitar, vocals, 1967-71), Simon Nicol (guitar, vocals, 1967-71, 1976-present), Ashley “Tyger” Hutchings (bass, vocals, 1967-69), Martin Lamble (drums, 1967-69), Ian Matthews (vocals, 1967-69), Judy Dyble (vocals, 1967-68), Shaun Frater (drums, 1967), Sandy Denny (vocals, 1968-69, 1974-76), Dave Swarbrick (fiddle, vocals, 1968-85), Dave Mattacks (drums, 1969-72, 1972-74, 1980-98), Dave Pegg (bass, vocals, 1969-present), Roger Hill (guitar, vocals, 1971-72), Tom Farnell (drums, 1972), David Rea (guitar, 1972), Trevor Lucas (guitar, vocals, 1972-76), Jerry Donahue (guitar, vocals, 1972-76), Bruce Rowland (drums, 1975-79), Bob Brady (piano, 1976), Dan Ar Braz (guitar, 1976), Roger Burridge (mandolin, fiddle, 1976)


Fairport Convention spawned from the Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra, a North London folk band with guitarist Simon Nicol and bassist Ashley Hutchings.

Nicol (b. October 13, 1950) played guitar from age eleven and left school at fifteen after the death of his father, a medical practitioner. He worked as a cinema when he met Hutchings (b. January 26, 1945), a veteran of the skiffle and blues scenes whose prior bands included Dr. K’s Blues Band.’

The pair rehearsed above the late Nicol elder’s medical practice in the Fairport house on Fortis Green in Muswell Hill, the childhood street of Kinks mainstays Ray and Dave Davies. In 1967, they formed a band with guitarist–singer Richard Thompson and drummer Shaun Frater. Thompson (b. April 3, 1949) played in the school band Emile & The Detectives with future Stranglers frontman Hugh Corwell.

On May 27, 1967, Fairport Convention made their live debut at St Michael’s Church Hall in Golders Green, where seventeen-year-old attendee Martin Lamble convinced the band that he could out-drum Frater. Soon after, they added female singer Judy Dyble (b. February 13, 1949), who’d demoed material with her prior band, Judy & The Folkmen.

Fairport Convention played regularly at London’s psychedelic haunts (UFO Club, The Electric Garden), where they impressed Joe Boyd, the Incredible String Band manager and UFO operator. He secured Fairport a deal with Polydor Records and introduced them to singer Ian MacDonald (b. June 16, 1946, Barton-upon-Humber), a Carnaby Street shoe seller who cut the 1967 Deram single “Summer of Last Year” as part of The Pyramid, a harmony-pop trio. He joined Fairport as their lead male vocalist.

Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention released their self-titled debut album in June 1968 on Polydor.

1. “Time Will Show the Wiser” Emitt Rhodes (3:04)
2. “I Don’t Know Where I Stand” Joni Mitchell (3:43)
3. “If (Stomp)” Ian MacDonald, Richard Thompson (2:45)
4. “Decameron” Paul Ghosh, Andrew Horvitch, Thompson (3:42)
5. “Jack O’Diamonds” Bob Dylan, Ben Carruthers (3:28)
6. “Portfolio” Judy Dyble, Tyger Hutchings (1.58)

7. “Chelsea Morning” Joni Mitchell (3:03)
8. “Sun Shade” Ghosh, Horvitch, Thompson (3:46)
9. “The Lobster” George Painter, Hutchings, Thompson (4:45)
10. “It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft” Hutchings, Thompson (3:12)
11. “One Sure Thing” Harvey Brooks, Jean Glover (2:52)
12. “M.1 Breakdown” Hutchings, Simon Nicol (1:23)

Sessions took place in November 1967 at London’s Sound Technique Studios.
Producer Joe Boyd, Tod Lloyd for Witchseason Productions

Judy Dyble – lead vocals, electric and acoustic autoharps, recorder, piano
Ian MacDonald (Iain Matthews) – lead vocals, Jew’s harp
Richard Thompson – vocals, lead electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin
Simon Nicol – vocals, electric 12- and 6-string and acoustic guitars
Ashley Hutchings – bass guitar, jug, double bass
Martin Lamble – percussion, violin

Additional personnel
Claire Lowther – cello

Fairport Convention appeared in the US in 1970 on Cotillion (which caused confusion due to the 1969 US A&M release of their second UK album, What We Did on Our Holidays, under the title Fairport Convention).

At 4am on September 1, 1968, Fairport Convention played the first Isle of Wight Festival, a sixteen-hour event (6pm 8/31 — 10am 9/1) at Hayles Field (dubbed “Hell Field” on flyers) with sets by Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, Blonde On Blonde, The Mirage, The Move, Orange Bicycle, Plastic Penny, Pretty Things, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and co-headliners the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and the Jefferson Airplane.>

Sandy Denny Joins

In late 1968, Ian Matthews MacDonald dropped his surname and identified henceforth as Ian Matthews (later “Iain”) to avoid confusion with Judy Dyble’s boyfriend, keyboardist and reedist Ian McDonald.

Dyble followed McDonald into Giles Giles & Fripp, a psychedelic combo whose album The Cheerful Insanity of… appeared in September on Deram. They morphed into King Crimson without Dyble, who seperated from McDonald and formed Trader Horne with Irish multi-instrumentalist Jackie McAuley (ex-Them). Their lone album, Morning Way, appeared in 1970 on Dawn. 

Fairport Convention held auditions for a new female singer and chose Sandy Denny, a two-year veteran of the folk clubs who cut an album (vaulted until 1973) with a formative Strawbs lineup. A recent demo of her song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” circulated to the US, where folk singer Judy Collins made it the title track of her November 1968 album.

Dissatisfied with Polydor’s promotion of their first album, Fairport Convention signed with Island Records, a longtime independant bluebeat label with a newfound “progressive” roster (Jethro Tull, Nirvana, Spooky Tooth, Traffic).

What We Did on Our Holidays

Fairport Convention released their second album, What We Did on Our Holidays, in January 1969 on Island.

1. “Fotheringay” Sandy Denny 3:06
2. “Mr Lacey” Ashley Hutchings 2:55
3. “Book Song” Iain Matthews, Richard Thompson 3:13
4. “The Lord Is in This Place…How Dreadful Is This Place” (based on “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” by Blind Willie Johnson) Hutchings, Thompson, Denny 2:01
5. “No Man’s Land” Thompson 2:32
6. “I’ll Keep It with Mine” Bob Dylan 5:56

7. “Eastern Rain” Joni Mitchell 3:36
8. “Nottamun Town” Traditional, arranged by Denny, Matthews, Thompson, Simon Nicol, Hutchings, Martin Lamble 3:12
9. “Tale in Hard Time” Thompson 3:29
10. “She Moves Through the Fair” Traditional, arranged by Denny, Matthews, Thompson, Nicol, Hutchings, Lamble 4:14
11. “Meet on the Ledge” Thompson 2:50
12. “End of a Holiday” Nicol 1:07)

Recorded June – October 1968 at Kingsway and Olympic Studio No. 1
Producer Joe Boyd

Sandy Denny (as Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny) – vocals, 6 & 12-string acoustic guitars, organ, piano, harpsichord
Iain Matthews – vocals, congas
Richard Thompson – electric, 6 & 12-string acoustic guitars, piano accordion, sitar on “Book Song”[17] (uncredited), vocals
Ashley Hutchings – bass, backing vocals
Simon Nicol – electric & acoustic guitars, electric autoharp, electric dulcimer, backing vocals
Martin Lamble – drums, percussion, violin, tabla & footsteps

Additional personnel
Bruce Lacey & his robots on “Mr. Lacey”
Claire Lowther – cello on “Book Song”
Kingsley Abbott – coins on “The Lord Is in This Place…,” backing vocals on “Meet on the Ledge”
Paul Ghosh, Andrew Horvitch & Marc Ellington – backing vocals on “Meet on the Ledge”
Peter Ross – harmonica on “Throwaway Street Puzzle”

Production and other credits
Recorded at Sound Techniques, London and Olympic Studio No. 1, London (except “The Lord Is in This Place…” recorded at St. Peter’s Church, Westbourne Grove, West London). Further work recorded at Morgan Studios, London
Engineered by John Wood, Sound Techniques, London
Photography by Richard Bennett Zeff & Annie Brown
Design by Diogenic Attempts Ltd.

“Meet on the Ledge” b/w “Throwaway Street Puzzle”
Released: December 1968, Island Records WIP 6047
“I’ll Keep It with Mine” b/w “Fotheringay”
Released: 1969, USA-only

What We Did on Our Holidays became their first-released album in the US, where A&M released it as Fairport Convention (irrespective of their eponymous 1968 Polydor debut).

Ian Matthews left soon after sessions commenced on the followup. He formed Matthews’ Southern Comfort, which released three albums in 1970 on UNI and scored a UK No. 1 hit with “Woodstock,” a Joni Mitchell song made famous in the US by Crosby Stills & Nash. In 1971, Matthews debuted as a solo artist with the Vertigo release If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes. With Liverpool Scene’s Andy Roberts, Matthews formed Plainsong, which released In Search of Amelia Earhart in October 1972 on Elektra.


Fairport Convention released their third album, Unhalfbricking, in July 1969 on Island.

1. “Genesis Hall” Richard Thompson 3:35
2. “Si Tu Dois Partir” Bob Dylan 2:18
3. “Autopsy” Sandy Denny 4:20
4. “A Sailor’s Life” Traditional; arranged by Denny, Thompson, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings and Martin Lamble 11:08

5. “Cajun Woman” Thompson 2:42
6. “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” Denny 5:08
7. “Percy’s Song” Dylan 6:46
8. “Million Dollar Bash” Dylan 2:54)

Recorded January–April 1969
Studio Sound Techniques and Olympic, London
Producer Joe Boyd, Simon Nicol, 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”

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”

Recorded at Sound Techniques and Olympic Studios, London
Engineer: John Wood
Sleeve design: Diogenic Attempts Ltd.
(different cover in US)

“Si Tu Dois Partir” / “Genesis Hall”
Released: July 1969
No. 21 on the UK Singles Chart.

Unhalfbricking reached No. 12 on the UK Albums Chart.

These two albums began to gain the band wider recognition. Radio DJ John Peel championed their music, playing their albums on his influential BBC shows. Peel also recorded a number of sessions which were later released as the album Heyday (1987). They enjoyed some mainstream success when they entered the singles charts with “Si Tu Dois Partir”, a French-language version of Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now”. The record just missed the top twenty, but secured the band a slot on Top of the Pops, Britain’s most popular television pop music programme at the time.[18] In 1969 four members of the band, one uncredited and three under pseudonyms, featured as backing musicians on the album Love Chronicles by Scottish folk artist Al Stewart.
Developing British folk rockOn 12 May 1969, on the way home from a gig at Birmingham venue Mothers,[19] Fairport’s van crashed on the M1 motorway. Martin Lamble, aged only nineteen, and Jeannie Franklyn, Richard Thompson’s girlfriend, were killed. The rest of the band suffered injuries of varying severity.[20] They nearly decided to disband. However, they reconvened with Dave Mattacks taking over drumming duties and Dave Swarbrick, having made contribution to Unhalfbricking, now joined as a full member. Boyd set the band up in a rented house in Farley Chamberlayne near Winchester in Hampshire, where they recuperated and worked on the integration of British folk music into rock and roll, which would result in the fourth album Liege & Lief.[6]

Liege & Lief

Fairport Convention released their fourth album, Liege & Lief, in December 1969 on Island (UK) and A&M (US).

1. “Come All Ye” Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings 4:55
2. “Reynardine” Traditional; arranged by Fairport Convention 4:33
3. “Matty Groves” Traditional; arranged by Fairport Convention[31][32] 8:08
4. “Farewell, Farewell” words: Richard Thompson; tune: Traditional[33] 2:38

5. “The Deserter” Traditional; arranged by Fairport Convention 4:10
6. “Medley” (4:00) Traditional; arranged by Dave Swarbrick
I. “The Lark in the Morning”
II. “Rakish Paddy”
III. “Foxhunter’s Jig”
IV. “Toss the Feathers”
7. “Tam Lin” Traditional; arranged by Dave Swarbrick 7:20
8. “Crazy Man Michael” words: Richard Thompson; tune: Dave Swarbrick 4:35)

Recorded 16, 19, 22, 29 October and 1 November 1969
Studio Sound Techniques, London
Producer Joe Boyd
Engineered by John Wood

Sandy Denny – vocals
Dave Swarbrick – fiddle, viola
Richard Thompson – electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Simon Nicol – electric, 6-string & 12-string acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Ashley Hutchings – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Mattacks – drums, percussion

Cover photography – Eric Hayes
Sleeve concept & design – Fairport & Roberta Nicol
Design co-ordination – Diogenic Attempts Ltd

Disagreements arose about the direction of the band in the wake of this success. Ashley Hutchings wanted to explore more traditional material and left to form two groups that would rival Fairport for significance in English folk rock: Steeleye Span and the Albion Band.[25] Sandy Denny also left to found her own group Fotheringay. Dave Pegg took over on bass guitar and has been the group’s one constant ever since, in an unbroken membership of over four decades. The band made no serious attempt to replace Denny, and, although she would briefly return, the sound of the band would now be characterized by male vocals.

Full House

Fairport Convention released their fifth album, Full House, in July 1970 on Island and A&M.

1. “Walk Awhile” (3:57)
2. “Dirty Linen” (4:17)
3. “Sloth” (9:19)

4. “Sir Patrick Spens” (3:30)
5. “Flatback Caper” (6:24)
6. “Doctor of Physick” (3:37)
7. “Flowers of the Forest” (4:04)

Dropped from the tracklist: “Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman” (5:31)

Produced by Joe Boyd for Witchseason Productions, Ltd.
Recorded at Sound Techniques, London, February – March 1970
Vocals overdubbed at Vanguard Studios, New York City, April 1970
Engineered by John Wood
Sleeve notes by Richard Thompson; reissue sleeve notes by Simon Nicol
Design (sleeve concept and design) by Superwives

Dave Swarbrick – vocals, fiddle, viola, mandolin (on 6,7)
Richard Thompson – vocals, electric guitar
Dave Pegg – vocals, bass guitar, mandolin (on 6)
Dave Mattacks – drums, percussion, harmonium (on 2), bodhran (on 3)
Simon Nicol – vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, bass guitar (on 6), electric dulcimer (on 8)

Despite these changes the band produced another album, Full House (1970), which was remarkably successful as a project. Like its predecessor, it combined traditional songs, including a powerful rendition of “Sir Patrick Spens”, with original compositions. The latter benefited from the writing partnership of Thompson and Swarbrick, most obviously on “Walk Awhile”, which would become a concert favourite. Despite the loss of Denny the band still possessed four vocalists, including the emerging voices of Nicol and Swarbrick, whose tones would dominate the sound of this period. It was favourably reviewed in Britain and America, drawing comparisons with the Band from Rolling Stone magazine who declared that “Fairport Convention is better than ever”.[26] The album reached number 13 in the UK Chart and stayed in the chart for eleven weeks.[24] The same year the band released a single, “Now Be Thankful”, and made its American debut, touring with Traffic and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.[27]

In the recurring pattern, soon after the album’s release Thompson left the band to pursue other projects and eventually his solo career. This left Simon Nicol as the only original member, and Dave Swarbrick emerged as the leading force in the band. In 1970 the members and their families had moved into The Angel, a former pub in Hertfordshire, and this inspired the next album Angel Delight (1971) the band’s first to chart in the US, peaking at number 200 on the Billboard 200 and their only top ten album in the UK.[28]

Angel Delight

Fairport Convention released their sixth album, Angel Delight, in June 1971 on Island.

1. “Lord Marlborough” Traditional 3:27
2. “Sir William Gower” Traditional 5:00
3. “Bridge over the River Ash[10]” Traditional 2:15
4. “Wizard of the Worldly Game” Simon Nicol, Dave Swarbrick 4:08
5. “The Journeyman’s Grace” Swarbrick, Richard Thompson 4:35

6. “Angel Delight” Nicol, Swarbrick, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks 4:10
7. “Banks of the Sweet Primroses” Traditional 4:15
8. “Instrumental Medley: The Cuckoo’s Nest / Hardiman the Fiddler / Papa Stoor” Traditional 3:28
9. “The Bonny Black Hare” Traditional 3:08
10. “Sickness & Diseases” Swarbrick, Thompson 3:47)

Recorded February–March 1971
Studio Sound Techniques (London)
Producer Fairport Convention & John Wood

Dave Swarbrick – lead vocals (1,4,5,10,11), mandolin (2,6,8,9,10), vocals (2,6,7,9), fiddle (1,5,7,8,11), viola (9), cuckoo (8)
Dave Pegg – bass guitar (1-2,4-8,10,11), vocals (1,2,4-7,9,10,11), lead guitar (10), viola (9), violin (3)
Dave Mattacks – drums (1,2,4-11), percussion (8,10), vocals (1,4-7,10-11), harmonium and piano (4), tambourine (6), bass guitar (3)
Simon Nicol – lead vocals (2,5), vocals (1,4-7,9,10,11), guitar (1,2,4-8,10,11), bass guitar (9), electric dulcimer (1,9), violin (3)

No. 8 on the UK Album Chart.

“Babbacombe” Lee

Fairport Convention released their seventh album, “Babbacombe” Lee, in November 1971 on Island.

The original album listed tracks episodically rather than as discrete tracks, reflecting the structure of the narrative.

1. “John’s reflection on his boyhood, his introduction to Miss Keyes and The Glen, his restlessness, and his struggles with his family, finally successful, to join the navy.” 6:19
2. “This was the happiest period in his life. All looked set fair for a career until he was stricken with sickness and invalided out of his chosen niche in life. Reluctantly and unhappily he turned to a number of menial occupations and finally returned to the services of Miss Keyes.” 10:12
3. “Tragedy now strikes hard. The world’s imagination is caught by the brutal senseless[ness] of the apparent criminal who slays his kind old mistress.” 3:57

4. “John was hardly more than a bewildered observer at his own trial, not being allowed to say more than a few words. The tides of fate wash him to the condemned cell where he waits three sad weeks for his last night on earth.” 7:32
5. “When it comes, he cannot sleep, but when he does, a strange, prophetic dream comes to him, and helps him to bear the strain of his next day’s ordeal as scaffold and its crew try in vain three times to take his life.” 13:20

Each of the five sections is composed of a number of songs and fragments of songs that were not listed separately on the original album. 

The next project was an ambitious folk-rock opera developed by Swarbrick, based on the life of John “Babbacombe” Lee, “the man they couldn’t hang” and released with the title Babbacombe Lee (1971). The concept format, originally without clear tracks, excited considerable press interest, and it received good air play in the United States where it reached number 195. A version was produced by the BBC for TV in 1975 with narration by Melvyn Bragg.[29] These two albums were also notable as the first time that Fairport had recorded consecutively with the same line-up, but inevitably stability did not last; Simon Nicol left early in late 1971 to join Ashley Hutchings’ Albion Country Band, and he was soon followed by Mattacks.[30]

Rosie was the first to include Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Trevor Lucas and American lead guitarist Jerry Donahue. Both had previously played with ex-Fairport Sandy Denny, whom Lucas later married, in the short-lived Fotheringay. Here they had effectively replaced Simon Nicol who had quit Fairport to join another ex-member Ashley Hutchings in The Albion Band, thus leaving the band with no founding members until he rejoined in 1976


Fairport Convention released their eighth album, Rosie, in February 1973 on Island and A&M.

1. “Rosie” (Dave Swarbrick)
2. “Matthew, Mark, Luke & John” (Dave Pegg, Dave Swarbrick)
3. “Knights of the Road” (Trevor Lucas, Peter Roche)
4. “Peggy’s Pub” (Dave Pegg)
5. “The Plainsman” (words: Peter Roche; music: Traditional, arranged by Trevor Lucas)
6. “Hungarian Rhapsody” (Dave Pegg)
7. “My Girl” (Dave Swarbrick)
8. “Me with You” (Dave Swarbrick)
9. “The Hens March Through the Midden & The Four Poster Bed” (Traditional, arranged by Fairport Convention)
“Furs and Feathers” (Dave Swarbrick)

Recorded July–August 1972
Studio Sound Techniques, London (3,5: 1971)
Producer Trevor Lucas

Dave Swarbrick – vocals, fiddle, viola, mandolin (4), acoustic guitar (7)
Trevor Lucas – vocals, 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars
Jerry Donahue – guitars, backing vocals
Dave Pegg – vocals, bass, mandolin (4)
Dave Mattacks – drums (4,9,10), percussion (8), piano (6)

Additional personnel
Richard Thompson – electric and 12-string guitars (“Rosie”)
Sandy Denny – backing vocals (“Rosie”)
Linda Peters – backing vocals (“Rosie”)
Gerry Conway – drums (“Rosie”, “Knights of the Road” and “The Plainsman”)
Tim Donald – drums (“Matthew, Mark, Luke & John”, “Hungarian Rhapsody” and “My Girl”) (born Timothy Donald, 29 September 1946, Bristol, Somerset)
Ralph McTell – acoustic guitar (“Me With You”)


Fairport Convention released their nine album, Nine, in October 1973 on Island and A&M.

1. “The Hexhamshire Lass” (Traditional; arranged by Fairport Convention) – 2:31
2. “Polly on the Shore” (Music: Pegg, Words: Traditional; arranged by Swarbrick, Lucas) – 4:56
3. “The Brilliancy Medley/Cherokee Shuffle” (Traditional) – 3:56
4. “To Althea, from Prison” (Words: Richard Lovelace; Music: Dave Swarbrick) – 5:10
5. “Tokyo” (Donahue) – 2:52

6. “Bring ‘Em Down” (Lucas) – 5:59
7. “Big William” (Lucas, Swarbrick) – 3:25
8. “Pleasure and Pain” (Lucas, Swarbrick) – 5:03
9. “Possibly Parsons Green” (Lucas, Roche) – 4:42

Recorded July – August 1973
Studio Sound Techniques, London
Producer Trevor Lucas, John Wood and Fairport Convention

Trevor Lucas – acoustic guitar, lead vocals (2, 6, 9), chorus (8), backing vocals
Dave Swarbrick – violin, lead vocals (1, 4, 7), verse (8) and backing vocals, viola, mandolin (7)
Jerry Donahue – acoustic and electric guitars
Dave Pegg – bass, backing vocals, mandolin (3)
Dave Mattacks – drums, percussion, bass (3), harmonium (4), clavinet (5)

Denny rejoined the band in 1974, and there were considerable expectations, both artistic and commercial, placed on this line-up. Denny was featured on the album Rising for the Moon (1975), which became the band’s highest US chart album when it reached number 143 on the Billboard 200 and the first album to reach the top hundred in the UK since Angel Delight, reaching No. 52. During the Rising sessions, Mattacks fell out with producer Glyn Johns and was replaced by former Grease Band drummer Bruce Rowland. Poor UK sales for Rising did not aid morale and, despite the relative success of the line-up, Lucas and Donahue left the band, as did Denny in 1976.

Fairport Live Convention

In July 1974, Island issued Fairport Live Convention, a nine-song document of Fairport’s winter 1973–74 shows at the Sydney Opera House, the London Rainbow, and Croydon’s Fairfield Halls. Abroad, the album appeared as A Moveable Feast (North America) and Fairport Convention Live ’75 (Germany).

Rising for the Moon

Fairport Convention released their tenth studio album, Rising for the Moon, in June 1975 on Island.

1. “Rising For The Moon” Denny Denny (4:08)
2. “Restless” Lucas, Pete Roche Lucas (4:00)
3. “White Dress” Swarbrick Denny (3:44)
4. “Let It Go” Denny, Pegg, Swarbrick Swarbrick (2:00)
5. “Stranger To Himself” Denny Denny (2:52)
6. “What Is True” Denny Denny (3:33)

7. “Iron Lion” Lucas Lucas (3:28)
8. “Dawn” Denny, Donahue Denny (3:42)
9. “After Halloween” Denny Denny (3:38)
10. “Night-Time Girl” Pegg, Swarbrick Swarbrick (2:56)
11. “One More Chance” Denny Denny (7:52)

Recorded September 1974 and February–March 1975
Studio Olympic (London)
Producer Glyn Johns

Sandy Denny – vocals, piano (1, 10), electric piano (3, 6, 9)
Trevor Lucas – vocals, rhythm guitar (1-8, 10-11)
Dave Swarbrick – vocals, violin (1-3, 7-8, 10-11), viola (3, 9), mandolin (3), dulcimer (5), autoharp (3), acoustic guitar (6, 9)
Jerry Donahue – lead guitar
Dave Pegg – bass, electric guitar (8), backing vocals (1-2, 7-8, 10)
Dave Mattacks – drums (1-3, 8, 11)
Bruce Rowland – drums (4-7, 9-10)

Gottle O’Geer

Fairport released their eleventh studio album, Gottle O’Geer, in May 1976 on Island.


  • Fairport Convention (1968)
  • What We Did on Our Holidays (1969)
  • Unhalfbricking (1969)
  • Liege & Lief (1969)
  • Full House (1970)
  • Angel Delight (1971)
  • Babbacombe Lee (1971)
  • Rosie (1973)
  • Nine (1973)
  • Rising for the Moon (1975)
  • Gottle O’Geer (1976)
  • The Bonny Bunch of Roses (1977)
  • Tipplers Tales (1978)
  • Gladys’ Leap (1985)
  • Expletive Delighted! (1986)
  • Red & Gold (1989)


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