Fairport convention

Richard Thompson’s memoir is worth reading for the ‘Fairport years’ alone

One of the more surreal conversations I have had with a musical hero of mine came in 2017 when I found myself arguing with Linda Thompson about the merits of Nick Drake’s music compared with her own and her ex-husband Richard Thompson’s. She suggested Nick’s had a quality that was missing in the work she and Richard created, which explained its posthumous popularity. I maintained that Drake’s music appealed largely to coeds and other hopeless romantics, lacking the lyrical depth and musical breadth of the six albums the star-crossed couple made between 1973 and 1981, from the timeless I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight to the equally acclaimed

Moments of pure wonder: Folk Weekend Oxford reviewed

Has any musical moment extended its tendrils in so many unexpected directions as the English folk revival of the mid-1960s? In its beginnings, it was a source of pilgrimage for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, who pinched his arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’ from Martin Carthy way back in the dim and distant past when the Beatles walked the earth. It spread into progressive rock and heavy metal (the black metal musician Fenriz, of the Norwegian band Darkthrone, told me recently that he considered Steeleye Span to be an important band in promoting pagan traditions). As it evolved into folk rock, it laid down a path for rock bands seeking to