So, setting the scene, it is the grim year of 1972, when for all practical intents and purposes Fairport Convention had ceased to exist; and along comes this rock’n’roll album. It had every appearance of being an indulgence perpetrated by some more or less out of work musicians, to fill out the dog days. On any view of the matter, we had a group of folkies going back to their roots and patently enjoying themselves immensely.
The performances are, of course, technically brilliant, but it is rock’n’roll. Having said that, the set does include one first class, truly excellent song, and another that is almost as good. These are, respectively, “When Will I Be Loved?” and “Learning the Game”. I immediately became, and remain to this day, extremely fond of these songs. As for the rest, however, I found it hard, and still do, to work up much enthusiasm for any of them.
“When Will I Be Loved” is a fairly rare gem. It comprises a never-to-be-repeated duet between Sandy Denny and Linda Peters (who was shortly to become Linda Thompson), and it is sheer, unmitigated beauty and joy to listen to. With the wonderful benefit of hindsight, no better song could have been chosen for this unique couple of minutes or so.