Listen to Fairport Convention from the Philadelphia Folk Festival, August, 1970 - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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The Los Angeles music blog Aquarium Drunkard has uncovered a recording of Fairport Convention from the Philadelphia Folk Festival on August, 29, 1970. On the heels of the announcement that XPN Folk Show host and Philly Folk Festival co-founder Gene Shay, we thought we’d share this classic performance with you. One of the songs from this performance, “Walk A While” is included on the Philadelphia Folk Festival 40th Anniversary four CD collection released on Shay’s label, Sliced Bread, Records. In the liner notes for the song Shay notes:

Even with the then recent departure of Sandy Denny and founder Ashley Hutchings from the group, this was still arguably the strongest line-up of Fairport Convention’s long and illustrious history. Though inclement weather was having its way with the sound system, this track captures the excitement of the group’s festival debut on a Saturday afternoon concert during the 9th annual festival.

About the show, Aquarium Drunkard contributor Tyler Wilcox writes:

By the time Fairport Convention took the stage at the 1970 Philadelphia Folk Festival, they had already been through more lineup changes than most bands experience in decades. Since forming in early 1967, talents such as Judy Dyble, Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings and Iain Matthews (not to mention drummer Martin Lamble, who died in a tragic 1969 car crash) had all passed through Fairport’s revolving doors. Guitarist Richard Thompson would be the next to go, bidding adieu the group adieu not too long after this show was recorded.

But the Philly Folk Festival gig certainly doesn’t sound like a band on its last legs. The rhythm section of bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks seem positively hopped up on something, as they thrash through the rigs, reels and laments of Fairport’s Full House-era setlist with gusto, providing a perfect launchpad for the unbelievable guitar/electric fiddle duels of Thompson and Dave Swarbrick (whole lotta Daves in this band). Things slow down a bit for the epic, mournful “Sloth” wherein Thompson peels off some proto-“Marquee Moon” licks in the lengthy instrumental section. This particular Fairport lineup is one of the pinnacles of the UK folk rock scene of the period, breathing new life into age-old songs and having a blast doing it.

Download the show here via Aquarium Drunkard.

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