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Music / What We Did On Our Holidays

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"You can all stay behind after class until whoever desecrated my blackboard owns up"

"[of Sandy Denny] She stood out like a clean glass in a sinkful of dirty dishes"
Simon Nicol

The second album from Fairport Convention and the first to make much impact on British record buyers, thanks to promotion by John Peel on his Sunday afternoon BBC Radio show. It was also the first of the band's albums to be released in America, as Fairport Convention. Folk singer Sandy Denny joins the band for the first time, bringing some of her own songs with her as well as providing the an ethereal voice that characterises the band's classic lineup in this and the next two albums. It's also Iain Matthews' final album with them and thus the only Fairports album to feature Denny and Matthews harmonaising together; a sound not easily forgotten once heard.

There are already signs here of the band's shift in direction away from the style of American 'folk' bands towards a distinctively British sound of electric rock blended with traditional ballad forms. This shift would take place gradually over the three albums of Fairport's classic phase. The Richard Thompson song "Meet on the Ledge" became the band's constant theme through its many changes up to the present day.



Side One

  1. "Fotheringhay" - 3:06
  2. "Mr Lacey" - 2:55
  3. "Book Song" - 3:13
  4. "The Lord Is in This Place...How Dreadful Is This Place" - 2:01
  5. "No Man's Land" - 2:32
  6. "I'll Keep It With Mine" - 5:56

Side Two

  1. "Eastern Rain" - 3:36
  2. "Nottamun Town" - 5:15
  3. "Tale In Hard Time" - 3:12
  4. "She Moves Through The Fair" - 4:14
  5. "Meet On The Ledge" - 2:50
  6. "End Of A Holiday" - 1:07

The band:

  • Sandy Denny - vocals, acoustic guitars, organ, piano and harpsichord
  • Ashley Hutchings - bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Martin Lamble - drums, violin, tabla
  • Iain Matthews - vocals, congas
  • Simon Nicol - electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, electric autoharp, backing vocals
  • Richard Thompson - electric and acoustic guitars, accordion, sitar and vocals


Tropes on the Ledge:

  • Character Title: "Mr Lacey" references the eccentric British artist and performer Bruce Lacey, whose wacky machines provide noises on the track.
  • Cover Version:
    • "I'll Keep It With Mine", a Bob Dylan song first recorded in 1965 by Judy Collins.
    • "The Lord Is In This Place...How Dreadful Is This Place" is credited to Hutchings, Thompson and Denny, but is based on a 1920s blues, "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground by Blind Willie Johnson.
    • "Eastern Rain", an early song by Joni Mitchell.
    • "Nottamun Town", a traditional English folk song whose melody was thought to be lost until song collectors recorded it independently in various parts of the Appalachians. Bob Dylan used the tune for his song Masters of War on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
    • "She Moves Through The Fair", a very well-known and much-recorded Irish folk song with a macabre theme.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cover is white chalk on a black background.
  • Epic Rocking: "I'll Keep It With Mine" is a fraction short of six minutes.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Bruce Lacey's home-made sound boxes.
  • Face on the Cover: The band members, plus a dog, are caricatured in chalk in a landscape scrawled on a blackboard.
  • Instrumental: "End Of A Holiday" is an acoustic guitar solo by Simon Nicol.
  • Long Title: "The Lord Is In This Place...How Dreadful Is This Place"
  • Market-Based Title: Called "Fairport Convention" in North America, where it was the first album released.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title doesn't appear in the title or lyrics of any of the songs. Songs with non-appearing titles are: "Book Song", "The Lord Is In This Place...How Dreadful Is This Place", "No Man's Land", "Eastern Rain", "Tale In Hard Time" and "End Of A Holiday"
  • One-Word Title: "Fotheringhay". The reference is to the village and former castle in Northamptonshire where Mary of Scotland was incarcerated and eventually executed. Little of the castle still remains.
  • Real Person Cameo: Bruce Lacey, who performs as well as having a song named afer him.
  • Scatting: Sandy hums her wordless way through "The Lord Is In This Place..."
  • Signature Song: "Meet On The Ledge" is the band's anthem and almost invariably played as the last song at live performances.
  • Special Guest: Claire Lowther on cello in "Book Song". Bruce Lacey contributes robot noises to "Mr Lacey". Kingsley Abbott jingles coins on "The Lord Is In This Place..."


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