It was inevitable that something special would emerge from the six individuals who made up Fairport’s 1969 line-up. Indeed, Liege & Lief immediately became the group’s definitive statement of traditional folk electrified, selling steadily for decades. All eight tracks complemented each other, with the rousing Come All Ye and the dance tunes balancing the extended tales of Matty Groves and Tam Lin.
Universal have issued this deluxe set in time for Fairport’s 40th anniversary, delving into their recently acquired BBC archives. We get the original album on Disc One, and 10 outtakes and BBC recordings on Disc Two. Any fan will have Sir Patrick Spens, Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood, and Fairport’s last nod to their West Coast influences with The Byrds’ Ballad Of Easy Rider. The Sept ’69 Peel sessions tracks have recently appeared on the Live At The BBC set. We get another run at Brotherhood, with its restrained, droning track, and a quirky off-thecuff instrumental take of Fly Me To The Moon to round things off, all newly and attractively packaged by the wonderful Phil Smee.
In its original form this is a fivestar album and essential for new converts, but one wonders how many existing fans will buy it again.