The LP opens with “Ye Marriners All”, which has a perfect, familiar Fairport Convention sound, and an excellent presentation. It is a typical folk song done in the band’s way. It has a very long instrumental intro, which leads into a dramatic minor key chord progression middle 8, and then the song proper starts. Dave Swarbrick does the vocal on this one just about solo, and the first verse is unaccompanied, to splendid effect. I should add at this point that the LP included a lyric sheet insert so you could follow all the words if you wanted. Anyway, after the first sparse stanza, there being no refrains, instruments build up starting with just the bass. This is very much a staccato thing, and it works very well indeed. It is a super start to the record.
The second track is “Three Drunken Maidens”, which I had earlier come across as done by Maddy Prior, but just now I can’t remember whether it was Steeleye Span, the Silly Sisters or Tim Hart & Maddy Prior. I’ll try to look it up soon and report back. That is a great version, and this one, though very different, is every bit as good. Once more Dave Swarbrick takes the lead vocal initially, and this has just the same familiar feel as the first track. There are group harmonies on the second verse, followed by a mandolin/bass instrumental middle 8. Then Simon Nicol does the third verse solo, and all join in for the finale. Interestingly, the reference in the Maddy Prior version at the end is “We left them in the alehouse”, which becomes “We left them in the public house” in the present rendition. This is a jolly little tune, and a joy to listen to.