Tuesday, April 24, 2012

UNHALFBRICKING - Fairport Convention
YEAR: 1969
LABEL: Hannibal (originally Island/A&M)
TRACK LISTING: Genesis Hall, Si Tu Dois Partir, Autopsy, A Sailor's Life, Cajun Woman, Who Knows Where the Time Goes?, Percy's Song, Million Dollar Bash
IMPRESSIONS: Of the classic trilogy of Fairport Convention albums (mentioned below), I'd have to say UNHALFBRICKING is my favourite. The first of the 1969 Fairport albums ("HOLIDAYS") contains one of my favourite songs ("Fotheringay") and the final of the 1969 albums is the much-praised monolith "LIEGE & LIEG" however UNHALFBRICKING is the one I listen to all the way through most often. Along with "Fotheringay", my favourite Fairport Convention songs are to be found here: "Autopsy" and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?". From the beautiful album cover photo (taken only shortly before drummer Martin Lamble would be killed in a car crash) to the almost-lilting mood of the songs chosen for the album to the back cover photo of the band sitting at a darkened dinner table, this is the album which sums up the "Sandy Denny"-era Fairport Convention for me. . . and it's one I listen to again and again.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Genesis Hall, Si Tu Doir Partir, Autopsy, A Sailor's Life, Who Knows Where the Time Goes?, Percy's Song
GUEST ARTISTS: Iain Matthews (backing vocals on "Percy's Song"), Dave Swarbrick (fiddle on "Si Tu Dois Partir", "A Sailor's Life" and "Cajun Woman", mandolin on "Million Dollar Bash")
FACT SHEET: UNHALFBRICKING is Fairport Convention's third album. The group consisted at this time of Richard Thompson (guitars), Sandy Denny (vocals), Ashley Hutchinson (bass), Martin Lamble (drums) and Simon Nicol (guitars). This is the middle of a classic trio of albums released in the year 1969 beginning with "WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS" and concluding with "LIEGE & LIEF" which saw the band moving from American-based folk to an English folk rock sound. Two months before the album's release on May 11, 1969, drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn were killed in a car crash as the band was returning from a Birmingham concert. The band considered breaking up at this point but decided to continue. "Si Tu Dois Partir", "Percy's Song" and "Million Dollar Bash" are all Bob Dylan's songs the band decided to cover for this album after hearing an advance copy of Dylan's "Basement Tapes". "A Sailor's Life" is a traditional folk song which is seen as "pivotal" in the development of English folk rock and Fairport Convention's future direction. "Genesis Hall" and "Cajun Woman" were written by Richard Thompson and "Autopsy" and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" were written by Sandy Denny. The cover photo was taken by Eric Hayes and features Sandy Denny's parents Neil & Edna standing outside their home in Arthur Road, Wimbeldon, South London with the shaggy band members visible in the background through the iron fence; St. Mary's Church is also visible on the skyline. The album cover didn't feature the band's name nor the album title. The title UNHALFBRICKING was derived from a game of "Ghosts" in which the object is to "avoid completing a word"; the word "unhalfbricking" was coined by Sandy Denny.

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