Meet on the Ledge – The Classic Years (1967-1975)
Replacing the never-available on CD Fairport Chronicles double album from 1976, Meet on the Ledge quickly becomes a vital purchase for any music fan interested in the history of folk. This elegant double disc is packed with 32 tracks clocking in at almost 2 hours with no filler.
More than just the band that spawned and nurtured the talents of songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson and sublime vocalist Sandy Denny (the only guest musician ever to be invited onto a Led Zeppelin album, she co-sang their “Battle of Evermore”), Fairport was to British folk what Dylan and the Byrds were to the American version, and these tracks prove it. Celtic, blues, country and traditional tunes combine in their first ten albums, key tracks from all of which are represented here. Their high-water mark was 1969’s Leige & Lief , recently voted the most important British folk album EVER, with the same year’s Unhalfbricking close behind (now that’s a seminal year), but with a handful of tracks from all their discs included here, the band’s early history is represented as fully as possible in a double CD collection.
Choosing favorites is impossible but the nine minute “Sloth,” featuring Richard Thompson’s mesmerizing, wiry solo and anything Sandy Denny sang (she’s only on half of these tracks) make essential listening. The liner notes give an adequate history, and the digital remastering is undoubtedly the best this music has ever sounded, but as the only existing CD anthology of Fairport Convention’s quintessential years, Meet on the Ledge is simply too important of an musical document to ignore. Since many of its tracks have been previously unavailable on CD, it’s a disc that fills a tremendous void in the history of British folk music and is required listening for anyone who wants to truly appreciate and understand the genre.
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