Fairport Convention :: Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 29, 1970

Fairport Convention People 1970

By the time Fairport Convention took the stage at the 1970 Philadelphia Folk Festival, they had already been through more lineup changes than most bands experience in decades. Since forming in early 1967, talents such as Judy Dyble, Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings and Iain Matthews (not to mention drummer Martin Lamble, who died in a tragic 1969 car crash) had all passed through Fairport’s revolving doors. Guitarist Richard Thompson would be the next to go, bidding adieu the group adieu not too long after this show was recorded.

But the Philly Folk Festival gig certainly doesn’t sound like a band on its last legs. The rhythm section of bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks seem positively hopped up on something, as they thrash through the rigs, reels and laments of Fairport’s Full House-era setlist with gusto, providing a perfect launchpad for the unbelievable guitar/electric fiddle duels of Thompson and Dave Swarbrick (whole lotta Daves in this band). Things slow down a bit for the epic, mournful “Sloth” wherein Thompson peels off some proto-“Marquee Moon” licks in the lengthy instrumental section. This particular Fairport lineup is one of the pinnacles of the UK folk rock scene of the period, breathing new life into age-old songs and having a blast doing it.

A few days after the Folk Fest, Fairport was at the LA Troubadour, when who should appear in the audience but a fellow band of Brits known as Led Zeppelin? One thing led to another and soon, a jam session for the ages was taking place, as Jimmy Page traded solos with Thompson on “Hey Joe” and “Morning Dew” among other tunes. The mind boggles. According to legend, multitrack tapes were rolling for the entire thing, but Led Zep’s manager Peter Grant absconded with them, and no one ever heard them again. Maybe Page has unearthed them during his recent archival digs… ? words / t wilcox

Download: Fairport Convention :: Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 29, 1970

1. Walk Awhile  2. Dirty Linen  3. Staines Morris  4. Flatback Caper  5. Sloth  6. Banks Of The Sweet Primroses  7. Sir Patrick Spens  8. Jenny’s Chickens/The Mason’s Apron

10 thoughts on “Fairport Convention :: Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 29, 1970

  1. I was there. great to have this. do you guys know the source of this tape? The Canadian psych/folk group Fraser & DeBolt opened this show. Perhaps there is a board tape of this as well?

  2. This is an amazingly energetic set and a pretty decent recording for 1970… RT was in good humor. I’d like to hear some stuff from the Troubadour with Led Zep too. Long live Gene Shay!

  3. Yes, this was indeed the Sunday afternoon concert (August 30. 1970). I was there and recorded it myself although this is a much better version. It was the first show I saw at the PFF in the early 70’s. I went on to be a Volunteer Coordinator for the next three years. I do have a photo of the band onstage at this show and have made a FB album public if you’d like to see: Photos in order: Dave Van Ronk, Sunday night, Camping area, Main Gate, John Hartford Sunday Night, Mississippi Fred Mcdowell with Bonnie Raitt Sunday night, Campground, Fairport on Stage, and the Sunday afternoon main stage audience (do you see yourself there?) All hotos copyright T. Skinner https://www.facebook.com/thomas.m.skinner/media_set?set=a.1600714824349.2073956.1430412621&type=3

  4. Hmmm not sure about Fraser and DeBolt opening but I do have a recording of their show as well… Here’s a gem on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF9yHx7la9I This video is dated 1971 however. I was there, but the years are a blur. BTW, I have recordings of most of the 1970 Sunday evening show including Dave VR, John Denver, John Hartford, Fred McDowell, Doc and Merle and many more. I hope to digitize soon and will likely place on UTube.

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