There are some bands that I stop whatever I am doing to watch and listen to, and Fairport Convention is one of them. I was enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon writing up a couple of interviews when a delivery driver dropped of a box containing 37 DVD’s and CD’s for review! In the box was the new Voiceprint DVD of a Fairport Convention gig from 1970. It took less than 90 seconds to get the wrapping off and have the DVD running in my portable player!

Fairport Convention have been in existence since 1967, so 40 years in the industry, yes they have gone through dozens of lineup changes, and pretty much everyone who is anyone in the British folk business has played with Fairport at some point in their career.

The 1970 lineup features very much the backbone of the band for many years. Richard Thompson, often credited as the glue, though unlike most bands Fairport really has no leader, they are all committed and enthusiastic musicians. Anyway Richard handles a lot of the lead vocals and plays guitar. Dave Swarbrick, who is probably the best traditional fiddle player in the past 40 years also helps out with vocals, and has a very unique and enjoyable style. Dave Pegg also chips in with vocals and plays Bass Guitar and Mandolin. Dave Mattacks handles the drums, and, then, newcomer to the lineup (as I recall, but it was 37 years ago!) Simon Nichols handles Guitar and electric dulcimer (a wonderful instrument).

Fairport Convention and another British band Steeleye Span created the genre Electric Folk, and between them they completely revitalized the then flagging folk music industry.

Also featured on the DVD is an all too brief set from Matthews Southern Comfort (although not featured on this DVD they are the band that had the absolute smash hit with the Joni Mitchel song ‘Woodstock’).

The Fairport set includes the knockout Now Be Thankful. The DVD is worth owning just for that one track!

As a bonus the master and doyen of all things progressive in the music world, John Peel offers a voice over introduction.

I cannot recommend this one enough. And if anyone from Voiceprint or MVD are reading this, lets have more of this kind of DVD, this is music at its best, and played by masters of the art.

You can get your own copy (because you would have to pry my copy from my dead, cold, and stiff fingers) from MVD.

Simon Barrett

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