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Liege And Lief

Fairport Convention

1969

Liege And Lief

Album Summary

Liege & Lief is the fourth album by the British folk rock band Fairport Convention. It is the third album the group released in the UK during 1969, all of which prominently feature Sandy Denny as lead female vocalist (Denny did not appear on the group's 1968 debut album), as well as the first to feature future long-serving personnel Dave Swarbrick and Dave Mattacks on violin/mandolin and drums, respectively, as full band members (Swarbrick had previously guested on Unhalfbricking). It is also the first Fairport album on which all songs are either adapted (freely) from traditional British and Celtic folk material (for example "Matty Groves", "Tam Lin"), or else are original compositions (such as "Come All Ye", "Crazy Man Michael") written and performed in a similar style. Although Denny and founding bass player Ashley Hutchings quit the band before the album's release, Fairport Convention has continued to the present day to make music strongly based within the British folk rock idiom, and are still the band most prominently associated with it. The album was moderately successful, peaking at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart during a 15-week run. It is often credited, though the claim is sometimes disputed, as the first major "British folk rock" album (this term is not to be confused with American-style folk rock, which had first achieved mainstream popularity on both sides of the Atlantic with the Byrds' early work several years prior). The popularity of Liege & Lief did a great deal to establish the new style commercially and artistically as a distinct genre. In an audience vote at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, the album was voted "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time". It was voted number 254 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).

Wikipedia

Rating

3.07

Votes

5156

Genres

  • Folk
  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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View Author
Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Simply, the apogee of British folk rock. Possibly the genre's greatest ever album. Opener aside, everything else comes from the archives of Cecil House but Fairport Convention play the material as if it was their own. Sandy Denny is at her peak here - variously gentle, imperious, confiding and raucous. Listen to the way she inhabits each character as if an actor on both 'Matty Groves' and the most remarkable of all, 'Tam Lin'. I grew up on this stuff.

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Sat Feb 13 2021
4

I am generally pretty wary of folk music but I think that mostly applies to American folk music with it's tendency towards an often forced twang. This, however, works for me. I don't know if it's just being that much closer to the source or if it is that it actually rocks pretty damn hard when it wants to. I think alot weighs on the power of Sandy Denny's voice and Richard Thompson's guitar playing.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
5

The band slaps hard and Sandy Denny's voice, both beautiful and otherworldly carries the melodies superbly. There's a ton of subtext and depth to the songs and arrangements, leant an extra level of emotion due to the personal tragedy and upheaval the group went through around (or just before) the time they met to record the album. Blending the ancient with the supernatural and turning it into something distinctly modern yet timeless this is the ultimate folk-rock record.

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Fri Aug 20 2021
3

N'étant pas un grand fan de techno, cet album m'a tout de même donné envie d'avaler trois cachets d'ecstasy et de passer une nuit entière en rave party au milieu d'autres personnes baignées dans leur sueur.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
1

yay! more folk rock

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Fri Oct 02 2020
5

Loved it. What a great way to communicate folk music. There's clearly a tradition here I haven't come close to tapping. That is, I liked playing folk forms at one point and am intrigued by some contemporary avant-garde approaches to old tunes, but felt like the pop-folk approaches were mostly cheap. I was wrong.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Only on 'Reynardine', but I'm really feeling this. Sandy Denny has a gorgeous voice. I'm leaning 5 stars on this one, I'm such a big fan of this electrified yet traditional folk vibe.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Cool mix of folk style with more modern/electric instruments

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Sat May 01 2021
5

So I really like this! I think I would consider buying this whole album, actually.

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Sat Jul 17 2021
5

Fantastic Proto Bardcore. Makes me want to go to Ren faire

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

A beautiful album that made my hairs stand on end, even on the 3rd or 4th listen. Highlights include Reynardine and Matty Groves. The arrangements are brilliant and the vocals are gorgeous. An album that took me completely by surprise and one that I will revisit often.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
2

Far too much folk and country music in this. "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time"? I'll take your word for it. I'll give it an extra star for that. 4/10

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Fri Nov 19 2021
2

Reynardine is a hell of a way to scare the listener off. Get past that and enjoy the folk impurism on offer. Thompson's guitar and Denny's drugged-out voice are too rock for chastity lullabies and keep the spectre of let's-go-back-to-purer-times idealism-cum-conservatism at bay.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
1

This is a real stinker. Easy-listening folk rock with not much going on. 2/10

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Actually quite enjoyed this style. Would love to explore more of this British folk rock.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Que voy a decir de este disco. El mejor del grupo junto al Unhalfbricking.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

I like this one. 5

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

This taps into my childhood memories of going to the Kent State Folk Festival. Love British folk. Need to be an independently wealthy white woman.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

lekker folksy

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Loved this! An overlooked folk classic!! My favorite track was Medley: The Lark in the Morning!

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Sat Jul 17 2021
5

I think I liked Unhalfbricking a little more, but this record still felt like a time capsule into a fantastical past, and I loved it.

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Wed Jul 21 2021
5

Loved it

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

i was surprised the first time i heard them and realized i really really liked them. i hadn't thought i would, but here we are. this album is no exception - i really enjoyed it, especially the droning, washing guitar. huge soft spot for richard thomson after vincent black lightning.

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Fri Aug 20 2021
5

I tried to get into Fairport Convention when I was a teen after hearing the lady that sung on The Battle of Evermore was in the band. But since they had 20+ albums and Sandy Denny only sang on three of them I was more confused than anything. I wish I had heard this one back then. Absolutely amazing.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

A great folk album. It might've been the moment I listened, but this is one of the first albums I listened front to back in this project. The vocals really took me on a journey that I didn't mind being on, the execution of the ideas on this album are wonderful and made me feel very serene.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
5

Fairport in their Heyday here with the wonderful voice of Sandy Denny sadly for the last time with the band. Some lovely songs on this hugely influential album that some see as the first proper English "Folk-Rock" album. Love "Tam-Lin" and "Matty Groves" which winds up the volume. Rightfully on the list.

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Sat Jan 22 2022
5

Come all ye rolling minstrels And together we will try To rouse the spirit of the air And move the rolling sky

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

The songs are really chill, everything is slow paced and calming. I could put this on anytime as background music.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
5

Imagine one part traditional Celtic folk music, one part American west coast bay area psychedelia, and one part progressive rock, and voila: Fairport Convention, one of the greatest groups I’ve never heard. American folk rock emerged in the mid-1960s combining the energy of electric rock music with the lyrical depth of acoustic folk music- the Los Angeles quintet, The Byrds, being a prime example. Bob Dylan, who many crowned the King of folk rock when he went electric, hated the term himself, rebuking any attempt to define his new sound with this genre. But it stuck nonetheless, and off it went, spawning groups like the Mamas and the Papas, and the Lovin’ Spoonfuls. All that is to say that American folk rock is one thing, while folk rock emanating from the UK is a whole other matter. 'Liege & Lief' is one of the first major folk rock LPs from this tradition. Most of the songs are free adaptations of centuries-old British and Celtic folk material, containing a wide range of lyrical themes- werewolves seducing maidens, lovers’ rescued from the Queen of Fairies, humans in the form of ravens whose true identity is revealed in death- but delivered in such a way that any reasonably intelligent American with no knowledge of UK history would be able, easily, to follow the plot. One does not have to know that ‘The Deserter’ is concerned with Britain’s Recruiting Act of 1703 to understand the song’s general meaning. Musically, every member of the group possesses talent and passion, yet not without skilled restraint. The ‘jams’ are never over-prolonged, the vocals carefully synched, the arrangements tasty and tasteful. If there were any rogue egos at work here, I didn’t hear ‘em. Fairport Convention plays as a cooperative unit. Here’s the bonus, though: Fairport Convention manages to retain the authenticity of the original ballads while at the same time infusing them with a bit of Jefferson Airplane (NOT Starship, please). And then, to make things really interesting, from time to time they even toss in some changing time signatures, ala prog rock. ‘Tam Lin,’ a traditional Scottish ballad, is a great example. I doubt the bagpipers of old ever changed back and forth from 3/4 to 4/4, with a little double time 6/8 throw in for good measure. On the third cut, ‘Matty Groves,’ just when you think the downtempo ballad has come to an end, the band breaks into an uptempo jam, an electric hoedown, Grateful Dead style, but also seasoned with the flavor of Jethro Tull. Don’t hold me too tightly to any of this, though. It would be a mistake to affix any permanent boundaries defining Fairport Convention, at least on 'Liege & Lief.' This LP rambles over hill and dale, and down many winding roads. ‘So come all ye rolling minstrels,’ invites lead vocalist Sandy Denny on the opening number (and one joyfully extended, encouraged even, to you and I to become part of the chorus, a surprisingly clever technique that draws the listener in immediately), ‘and together we will try to rouse the spirit of the air, and move the rolling sky.’ That’s a tall order, lads and lasses. And Fairport Convention serves it up throughout this terrific LP, at times steaming hot like a plate of corned beef and cabbage, and other times creamy cool like a foamy pint of Guinness. An eight course/track delightful and satisfyingly filling meal.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

I really dug this

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Sun May 15 2022
5

1969 - British Folk Rock

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Wed Jun 29 2022
5

I'm not a big folk fan, but that was really good.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

This is one of my favorite albums. I love that the idea of English "folk" is so different - and so much more ancient - than ours. Richard Thompson's guitar work is awesome, and Sandy Denny has one of my favorite voices.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

This was great. Loved it.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
5

British folk rock. Venga, un 5.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

Yeah, I enjoyed this a lot.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
5

Some very nice compositions and skilled players. But what really sold me on this one is the vocals; they're an excellent fit for folk rock, remind me a bit of Comus.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

love folk.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

Like a 60s Ren faire

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Thu Jan 12 2023
5

Fantastic

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View Author
Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Super Stimme! Die Fiedeln mit der E-Gitarre sind eine coole Mischung! Bin vielleicht noch zu sehr auf dem RDR-Trip, aber es erinnert mich auch an die frühe Joni Mitchell und Loreena McKennitt gekoppelt mit Heron Valley oder Hò-rò. Letztere sind wahrscheinlich sogar von Fairport inspiriert. Mir auf jeden Fall vorgemerkt, um näher erforscht zu werden.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Ooh this is very nice. Beautiful folk stylings with just a touch of rock. Odd pacing at times but great overall.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Right, so... the Decemberists.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
4

Had a touch of Irish to it. I thought to myself, "Dad would have liked this." Then I looked up the band's bio and lo and behold, Richard Thompson was one of the the guitarists. Thompson was one of dad's favorite musicians. It felt like learning something about Dad from beyond the veil.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

Pretty fun early folk rock with some medieval vibes to boot. Sometimes a bit repetitive and whiney, but mostly a good time.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

A band and album i had never heard of. I was pleasantly surprised with the folksy rock.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
4

Really enjoyed it, solid sixties folk album.

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Mon Apr 26 2021
4

I enjoyed this for the most part.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Oooo I wonder if Katie would like this? Matty Groves is a good tune. yea this is cool as a 60's acid rock folk album

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

Liked this more than I expected to. Re-listen.

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Fri Mar 19 2021
4

Really enjoyed this today.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

Ooh, something I've never heard of! This was very interesting. Felt somewhat modern too. Would listen again, and buy the vinyl if I found it.

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Wed May 26 2021
4

Splendid. Even better than I remembered

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Fri Apr 02 2021
4

Funky

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

This is an album I would consider part of a trilogy along with ‘What We Did On Our Holidays’ & ‘Unhalfbricking’. Outside of that my knowledge of Fairport Convention is nil. They are a great folk rock band of seriously talented musicians however it is Sandy Denny’s voice that makes Fairport unique. Standout track is Matty Groves but it is all enjoyable.

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Sun Apr 18 2021
4

It's really good. Could've had more variety though.

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Thu May 20 2021
4

Remember when electric instruments in folk music would freak people out? And then by the end of the 60s, that attitude was ridiculously quaint. I honestly think folk rock pushed things a bit too far in the rock direction, and this album strikes a really cool balance, because these songs just sound so trad. I love it. Favourite track: “Come All Ye”

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

I love this British shit.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

I was familiar with Sandy Denny through her performance on Led Zeppelin IV, but this showcases her vocals in a new way. This album is very interesting in that it approaches folk rock from a undeniably British perspective. Great storytelling, and compelling music.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

Now THIS is more like it, especially after the Tim Buckley disappointment. Had me right at the start with "Come All Ye". Reminds me of the New Pornographers in a lot of ways, and The Decemberists in other ways. Fun bonus fact: Turns out Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny sang with Robert Plant on "The Battle Of Evermore" on Led Zeppelin IV. That little fact obviously helps the latter album's rating more than this one's, but it's worth noting. Listen to her voice on this album and you can hear why Plant was so taken with Sandy Denny.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
4

Folk com vocais femininos, bom para lembrar de escutar mais estes vocais.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
4

Actually really enjoyed this one, I like the story-based lyrics and the instrumentals are great. Reminds me of the folk festival I used to go to when I was younger

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

Was a great listen. Will have to come back to appreciate it more

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Tue Aug 17 2021
4

Solid voice and instrumentation. Taps into a different reality it feels like. It's just feels and sounds like something really old. But really old in an interesting, and not outdated and boring way. I liked it alot actually.

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Sun Sep 05 2021
4

Damn good British folk rock. Best track: Crazy Man Michael

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

A very generous 4. I do like this airy fairy folky shit, but too much can be a bad thing😄

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

I believe this is our first double-LP. I love double LPs. People hate on them. I think they usually represent a band's peak, regardless of critical or commercial agreement. And, based on the fact that this was one of three Fairport Convention releases in 1969, I'd proffer they were at a peak of sorts...ha. Gotta say, I was surprised to hear a female vocal first. I expected nerdy prog music with dudes singing about elves and moonbeams (which I also love). Not sure why I assumed this was a prog band. Have never heard. But this is another one that I really loved and was surprised by. I think it's cool that this band prioritizes arrangements and proficiency over psychedelic theatrics. I also like "discovering" a band that seems to have a huge catalog. Very excited to listen to more...

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Sun Sep 19 2021
4

Great, but now I’m stuck at a renaissance fair in 1987. The people seem nice.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

British folk rock??? As I pressed play, fully ready to toss this album in the trash with the rest, I was transformed. I realllllly enjoyed this one. While many of the songs begin to blend together, it is the style and voice that kept me listening. Reminded me of Joni Mitchell or Jefferson Airplane. I was hooked. I loved Come All Ye and Quiet Joys of Brotherhood among many others. While the album cover isn't very flashy, and I'd never have listened to this before, I'm really glad I did.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
4

Wow

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

131021 17:19 4

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Mon Oct 25 2021
4

Stunning album, beautiful vocals and incredible musicianship. Transportive, transformative and avoids the label of twee which bedevils much folk music. What a joy.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
4

Good stuff. Favorites: Farewell, Farewell, The Lark In The Morning, Crazy Man Michael.

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Fri Dec 17 2021
4

The only thing I really knew of Fairport Convention was Sandy Denny guest vocal for Led Zeppelin. It occurred to me I kind of mixed them up with Pentangle in mind. As folk rock goes I thought this was pretty first rate.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

The singer has a beautiful voice, qnd for me, this is as good as folk gets.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
4

Typical 60s folk soft rock vibes sung by girl with a beautiful voice and renaissance era stylings. Loved some of this; some was a little tedious, but overall a solid 3.6. The kicker is the guitar work - reminded me a bit of Stephen Stills. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Sun Jan 30 2022
4

Skemmtileg, írsk þjóðlög í frekar nútímalegum útfærslum

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

pretty fuckin good cosy plata til að hlusta á, fannst hún mjög solid, 4 stjörnur

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Mon Feb 21 2022
4

I started listening it with low expectations, and disliked a lot the second track (Reynardine), BUT starting from the third track (Matty Groves), the album turns into a masterpiece! Super fun to listen to! Favorite tracks: * Matty Groves * Medley: The Lark In The Morning * Tam Lin

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Fri Feb 25 2022
4

Heard of, but was unfamiliar with the music of Fairport. Really interesting work, a combo of traditional and original English folk tunes. Definitely worth a listen. Added and will explore more.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Thoroughly enjoyable

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Thu Mar 24 2022
4

Sandy Denny's amazing vocals and the band grinds, chugs and sweeps over the folk material, updating it for modern times in ways that feel energizing and innovative on the one hand, and spiritually respectful and true on the other. There are dark and haunting moments, too, that add to the richness.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

I was almost going to skip this album today. Had a super stressful day and was burned by the last few folks albums I had got on this list. This though? It’s an album that a bunch of hipsters could put out now and Pitchfork would go crazy for. This is really good. I’m amazed that it seemly is one of the freshest sounds I think I’ve got from this. Yes, it does start going into some songs about medieval-age battles (?) but the driving force behind escpecially the first few songs it’s so modern. I put this on while walking around downtown Toronto for the first time in 2 years. Felt like a king.

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Fri Apr 08 2022
4

Almost a 5

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Mon Apr 25 2022
4

I like this quite a bit. This is folk with some modern instruments added. It flows nicely. I will listen to this again. 3.5/5

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

I saw someone in another review refer to this as "proto bardcore", which was a new term to me; I honestly have not been able to forget that very amusing, very appropriate description. This album has all the making of fantastical, Celtic, medieval, renaissance faire folk music, but with a slight rock edge. The combination of folk and obvious electronic instrumentation back in 1969 seems a bit ahead of its time. Not to mention when considering the medieval vibe, this album is truly an act of anachronism. This was a fun, obscure, weird listen! I can see where this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely mine.

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Sun Jun 19 2022
4

This reminded me a lot of British rock from the 60s/70s except missing the electric guitar. I also learnt that I had heard the singer before from The Battle from Evermore from Led Zeppelin IV which makes complete sense. After learning this I realised that this band reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin but a folk version of them. Fun stuff. Also 2nd day in a row with the celtic inspired music.

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Sat Jun 25 2022
4

Really beautiful English folk. Sweet and elegant. You really can't go wrong with the pure talent of Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson, but everyone on here is exceptional. Fave Songs: Tam Lin, The Deserter, Crazy Man Michael, Reynardine

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Mon Jun 27 2022
4

FOLK AT ITS FINEST

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Sun Jul 03 2022
4

4.5 stars, a previously unheard gem.

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Wed Jul 06 2022
4

Folk rock británico. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
4

Really liked this, didnt think I would

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Fri Aug 26 2022
4

Didn't really expect to like this. Don't really like this kind of music. But it was a really good example of this genre. Mostly bored but a couple of songs had me riveted.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

Bravo pour la voix madame Denny

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Sun Sep 04 2022
4

I liked this! I’ve never heard of this band before but this was really pleasant.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
4

Sandy Denny is a legend! I was slightly obsessed with learning all about her for the day we had this album. Her voice is beautiful and she lived dramatically. I feel her story has parallels to Janis Joplin, but I had never heard of Sandy Denny. I loved this album, especially Matty Groves!

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

Folk rock británico. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

Kinda cool. Some trad stuff in there that was nice to hear. I'd say more than 3.5 but less than a 4.

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Sun Sep 25 2022
4

Another album I bought some 15 years ago and didn't give much time to. On a listen in the car it swells with joy and rhythm. Very fond of Matty Groves. Sandy Denny sounds gorgeous and I will explore their other (2?) albums with her. 3.75

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