Fairport Convention – What We Did On Our Holidays

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All the Titles that Potentially Sound Best on Import

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  • An outstanding UK copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it, and the first copy to hit the site in years – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Bigger and bolder, with more bass, more energy, and more of that “you-are-there-immediacy” of ANALOG that set the best vintage pressings apart from reissues, CDs, and whatever else you care to name
  • 4 1/2 stars: “… more than simply being a collection of good songs, it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group.”

The “haunting, ethereal” vocals of the lovely Sandy Denny (or Alexandra Elene McLean Denny as she’s listed on the sleeve) are sublime here. Some of you may recognize her voice from a ditty called ‘Battle of Evermore’, found on a grayish ’70s rock album that no one even bothered to give a name. Wonder what ever became of that group? No doubt by now their story is lost to the sands of time. I have to say I thought the music was pretty good though.

This vintage Island pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of What We Did On Our Holidays have to offer is not hard to hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1969
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on What We Did On Our Holidays

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Fotheringay 
Mr. Lacey 
Book Song 
The Lord Is in This Place 
No Man’s Land 
I’ll Keep It With Mine

Side Two

Eastern Rain 
Nottamun Town
Tale in Hard Time 
She Moves through the Fair
Meet on the Ledge 
End of a Holiday

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Sandy Denny’s haunting, ethereal vocals gave Fairport a big boost on her debut with the group. A more folk-based album than their initial effort, What We Did on Our Holidays was divided between original material and a few well-chosen covers. This contains several of their greatest moments: Denny’s “Fotheringay,” Richard Thompson’s “Meet on the Ledge,” the obscure Joni Mitchell composition “Eastern Rain,” the traditional “She Moves Through the Fair,” and their version of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine.” And more than simply being a collection of good songs (with one or two pedestrian ones), it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group.