FAIRPORT CONVENTION – ” A Tree With Roots ” The Songs Of Bob Dylan

Posted: August 27, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC

At the very beginning of their career, the North London Fairport Convention were often mistaken for an American band. This was largely due to their penchant for cover versions of songs by US singer-songwriters, primarily Bob Dylan. A good reason for a 2018 compilation is that it marks the 50th Anniversary since the original 12-track ‘Basement Tapes’ acetate of Dylan arrived in London. It was from this white label that Fairport Convention got “Million Dollar Bash” and Fairport splinter group, Fotheringay, took “Too Much of Nothing”. Manfred Mann scored a hit with “The Mighty Quinn”, Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger, “This Wheel’s On Fire” and, lest we forget, The Tremelos “I Shall Be Released”.

This new compilation of vintage covers of Bob Dylan’s work by Fairport Convention and their friends, “A Tree With Roots — Fairport Convention And The Songs Of Bob Dylan“, will be released on Island on 3rd August. It comes just ahead of the 2018 edition of the band’s celebrated Cropredy Festival, which takes place this year from 9th-11th August with Fairport themselves in the traditional headlining slot.

In their early days, before they developed their own song writing, Fairport were much given to covering the work of Dylan, one of their prime influences. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the American bard’s Basement Tapes acetate in London, from which the nascent English folk group took ‘Million Dollar Bash.’ It also offered up ‘Too Much Of Nothing’ to the Fairport splinter group Fotheringay.

Dylan was also responsible for Fairport’s one UK hit single, ‘Si Tu Dois Partir,’ their version of his ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now’,’ written in 1964. It prompted an appearance by the band on Top Of The Pops and featured on their third album Unhalfbrickingspending two weeks at No. 21 on the UK singles chart.

That version is on A Tree With Roots along with such Dylan copyrights as ‘Lay Down Your Weary Tune,’ ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’ and the more widely-celebrated ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.’ Tracks by Fotheringay and Fairport’s former lead singer Sandy Denny are also included.

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