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Fairport Convention / Sally Barker

Fairport Convention / Sally Barker, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon, Powys, 16/02/2017.


by Ian Mann

February 23, 2017


Guest contributor Jim Clewer enjoys the music of veteran folk rockers Fairport Convention on their 50th Anniversary tour, plus the input of support artist Sally Barker.

Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon, 16 Feb 2017.

This was my first time seeing Fairport Convention and even though I’d left it until their 50th Anniversary tour/album it was still a treat. I had seen Dave Pegg and Gerry Conway in other bands before, notably Steve Gibbons’ The Dylan Project in December 2016. I was surprised at how many of the songs played were familiar to me from Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson CDs, and was pleased when those songs were done.

According to Wikipedia, despite many personnel changes in the band’s history, this five man line up has remained stable for the past 19 years and it showed in the performance.

The show was opened by Sally Barker, also a member of the all female band The Poozies (a group that once also included a young Kate Rusby) but now probably most famous for her appearance on TV’s The Voice. She resisted the temptation to do any of her TV songs, instead doing some fine songs from her new album with just voice and guitar. The exception was her last song ‘I’m Not Whole’ when she was joined by the entire Fairport band.

Fairport then started their first set with the new ‘Our Bus Rolls On’ followed by the excellent ‘Genesis Hall’ which I know from a Thompson collection.

Probably the most melodic song in the first set was ‘Now Be Thankful’ which Simon Nicol said was written by Thompson and Dave Swarbrick as an attempt at a hit single, while the other members went to the pub. It wasn’t a hit but remains a very worthwhile song.

I’m unsure what “Danny Jack’s Reward” was about - something to do with Jack Daniels maybe?

The Sandy Denny classic ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ was played with reference to the new and changing faces each year at Cropredy and after 50 minutes of wonderful Fairport we had the intermission.

The second half started with a genuine folk song ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ and then the superb ‘Fotheringay’ the song which Sandy Denny named her band after. Sally Barker (who incidentally sings with the current Fotheringay line up) then joined in for ‘Rising For The Moon’ after which Fairport did ‘Portmeirion’ with references to ‘The Prisoner’ TV series. Songs by Steve Tilston (Naked Highwayman!!), Richard Thompson and Ralph McTell followed, and for the encore, ‘Meet On The Ledge’ Sally Barker joined in once again.

The camaraderie was great even after 19 years together and the banter with each other and the crowd was very enjoyable. The facial expressions from Ric Sanders and Dave Pegg when Simon Nicol told some of his stories were priceless.

Even if I never make it to Cropredy I will have great memories of this show. A camper van was having difficulty backing out of a parking space and I thought “should be bigger spaces at Cropredy”. I then began my rainy return drive to Leominster where thankfully I did not encounter any ‘Naked Highwaymen’!

Ghost Girl
Two Hearts
Talk About Money
Emperor Of Cool
Sleepy Eyes
I’m Not Whole (with Fairport)

Simon Nicol - vocals, guitar
Dave Pegg - bass guitar
Chris Leslie - vocals, mandolin, bouzouki, whistle
Ric Sanders - violin
Gerry Conway - drums

1st set
Our Bus Rolls On
Genesis Hall
Devil’s Work
Now Be Thankful
Danny Jack’s Reward
Summer By The Cherwell
Who Knows Where The Time Goes
Bring Me Back My Feathers

2nd set
Sir Patrick Spens
Rising For The Moon (with Sally Barker)
Naked Highwayman
Farewell, Farewell
Hiring Fair
Eleanor’s Dream
Matty Groves

Meet On The Ledge (with Sally Barker)


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