So, here we are back in the autumn of 1972, starved of Fairport Convention, and Island Records have the brilliant idea of putting out this double LP compilation, and of course I just had to buy it as soon as it came out. The cover, incidentally, originally came with a pretty rosette in the top right corner, but that soon came unstuck and got lost.
Pete Frame had achieved some fame for producing a family tree of Fleetwood Mac, who in terms of personnel changes were much the same as our heroes, so again, it was a smart move of the record company to get him to do one for the front cover.
Compare these bands with the Moody Blues. Fleetwood Mac and Fairport Convention had both kicked off in 1968, and by 1972 had complex family trees. The post-“Go Now” Moodies came into being with their first LP in 1967, producing their seventh in 1972, the same 5 chaps comprising the group throughout. Three of these, including the principal two, are in the current line up, and indeed I go to see them a week on Friday. Those 7 albums, incidentally, are all perfect faultless gems, and technically they are my favourite group.
Anyway, back to “The History…”. This was the first time I had ever bought a record on which almost every track was one I already had. However, as noted above, I was starved. The packaging, photos and notes (by John Wood), make the album well worth having, but the intriguing thing was the last track “The Hen’s March/The Four Poster Bed”, a short instrumental, and the only track I did not already have. The track listing is on the back cover, and this track is described as being from an “Album currently in preparation”……Ooh! With this and Girlfriend 24, the winter of 1972/73 was one of the happiest times of my life.