Friday, November 22, 2013

Goodies from GFreedom's Music Collection #10

FAIRPORT CONVENTION: Babbacomble Lee  (The first Folk-Rock Opera)

   Fairport Convention were formed in 1967, and are widely regarded as a very important and influential band in the English Folk-Rock scene. During the first years they had very important
musicians in their ranks such as Simon Nicol (Guitar, vovals), Dave Pegg (Bass, Mandolin, Backing Vocals), Judy Dyble (Piano, autoharp, Vocals), and Sandy Denny (Piano Vocals), just to name a few.
In their early years they were influenced from the American Folk-Rock scene and that's why many people were confused thinking they were from the States. Further than this, because of their name and especially the use of two lead singers (male & female) the British audience gave them the nickname the "British Jefferson Aiplane".
  Between 1967 and 1970 many members came and gone, but after the departure of Sandy Denny in
1970, Simon Nicol and Dave Pegg took over, and the band changed its musical direction.
   In 1971 Fairport Convention released their most ambitious work so far, which was the first Folk-Rock opera ever recorded, named 'Babbacomble Lee', and it was a concept album.
  The album follows John 'Babbacombe' Lee's life story, who was a Victorian-Era muderer, he got arrested, and condemned to death by hanging. But finally he was set free, when for 3 concecutive times the gallow didn't work properly!
  The songs describe his boyhood poverty, his time in the Royal Navy, and his  being invalided out. The album then describes how Lee went to work in the service of a Miss Keyes. While Lee was in her
service, she was murdered, and he was accused, tried and convicted of the crime, and sentenced to death. However, when authorities attempted to hang him, the gallows failed three times, resulting in his release. These events are all told in song, and all but one of those songs are originals.
   Although is not my favorite album by Fairport Convention, I have to admit that is a really serious and ambitious work, very important for the Folk-Rock scene of England. As for all those who are familiar with the female vocals in Fairport Convention's album, may find weird the fact that there are no female vocals at all.
   In the following video you can listen to one of my favorites from this album, 'The Time is Near'.
Thank you for reading! :)