Unhalfbricking is a worthy followup to What We Did On Our Holidays – again there’s a mixture of originals from Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson, and Bob Dylan covers. The significant addition to Fairport Convention’s scope is the 11 minute cover of the traditional ‘A Sailor’s Life’, which features extended instrumental passages from Richard Thompson and guest fiddler Dave Swarbrick.
I find it more admirable than enjoyable, but as the first electrified folk cover it’s an important blueprint for similar pieces on Liege and Lief and for British folk-rock. The obvious classic on Unhalfbricking is Sandy Denny’s ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’, a subtle yet universal torch song. Thompson’s opener ‘Genesis Hall’ is another highlight, a hyper-melodic folk piece, while there’s a wonderful cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Percy’s Song’, with Denny and Ian Matthews harmonising.
Fairport Convention’s ambition and range on Unhalfbricking is admirable, and the best material is unique and impressive. Before Unhalfbricking was released the group were involved in a serious van accident, and drummer Martin Lamble and Thompson’s girlfriend were both killed.