By the time I got my first record player, in January 1970, the Fairport Convention I was about to get to know had ceased to exist. I heard “Cajun Woman” on “Nice enough to eat”, and “Liege & Leif” in its entirety; it came as something of a shock to me to hear the band on a Peel session, and they were all blokes, with a faintly Brummy accent.
It was at this point that I began to take a keen, if not obsessive, interest in the actual people who constituted the group; I also became an avid and frantic collector of the records. Quite soon I found a single on Polydor called “If (Stomp)”, and I twigged that there had been an earlier incarnation. Within a year I had all the albums up to and including “Full House”, and as well as “If (Stomp)”, I had also been able to get hold of “If I had a ribbon bow”; and of course I had bought “Now be thankful” (which I think still holds the record for the longest titled flip side).
I now had a comprehensive picture of the various line ups, and I knew Judy Dyble had co-founded Trader Horne after being sacked, Sandy Denny had left to form Fotheringay with some chaps from Eclection, and Tyger Hutchings had left at the same time, and teamed up with a couple of folk duos to form Steeleye Span.
However, as far as Fairport Convention was concerned, it had become abundantly clear that the essential thread running through the whole thing was an astonishing lead guitarist called Richard Thompson.