Fairport Convention: Many Ears To Please, Live in Oslo 1975

From: Guy Anthony Brown, 8 February, 2006

Let me first make one thing perfectly clear: This IS an official release. It has the full approval of the Fairport line-up in question. Guitarist Jerry Donahue has written liner notes and also been part of the remastering process. Fiddler Dave Swarbrick and bass player Dave Pegg have also given it their full approval. All royalties for songs and arrangements are being paid for.

The background for this release is very different from most CD's you'll find. In 1975 I attended a great concert by my favourite group Fairport Convention. It did, however, feature a slightly different line-up. Drummer Dave Mattacks had just left the band. And since they had a few European shows just round the corner, there was no time to hold proper audtions for a replacement to save this short tour.

That's when roadie Paul Warren bravely told the band he'd been playing a bit of drums himself and he'd been watching Mattacks closely from the wings. A test showed he was more than good enough for the tour. So this is how Warren became Fairport's drummer for a couple of weeks. This line-up has been largely unchronicled and none of the gigs had been recorded by the band. After the tour his days in Fairport were over Bruce Rowland eventually took over permanently. This CD proves that was a massive mistake.

15 years later an old friend calls me up, telling me he's been made aware of some tape rolls in boxes that simply said Fairport Convention. He knew I was a fan and asked me up to hear it. When I arrived, I could hardly believe it. It was the very concert I'd attended in 1975. Me and a mate of mine decided to buy the tape for our own collection. No ambition of release ever crossed our minds.

But to cut a long story short, I sent copies of the tape to Dave Pegg and Jerry Donahue. Both liked it. And eventually Jerry went one step further and suggested we'd put it out on CD. So here it is, fresh from the pressing plant: The "lost" Fairport recorded in Oslo 1975. Released on the freshly created Molldur label.

The tapes were originally recorded through hanging mikes. They have now been professionally remastered and the CD comes with a 16 page booklet. Containing liner notes from Donahue and totally unseen pictures (taken the day after the gig in question).

So there you have it: The story of a very different kind of CD release. Made by the fans for the fans - with the full approval and total cooperation of Donahue, Pegg and Swarb. Sandy Denny and Trevor Lucas are, of course, no longer with us. And the elusive Warren is nowhere to be found. But the remaining members are all in it. I hope you will enjoy this CD.

Payment by Paypal or well concealed cash in letter (at buyer's risk, of course) Postage is $5 (Europe) and $8 (rest of the world). We think you will like this CD if you're a big enough Fairport fan to have read this far.
From: Bill Windsor, Feb.10, 2006

Just received (very promptly & well-packaged) copy of the above from Norway yesterday and I have already informed the Oslo connection & would now like to advise all doubters & our American friends doubting the value of this release - THIS is the best recording of this tour official or otherwise!! It overshadows the Ebbets Field (still sounds like a bootleg regardless of the hard work to "tweak")and even the Woodworm's "Who Knows?"(sorry Peggy please don't shoot me nor take me off-list with future attempts on archival stuff) & in reality betters the Island Fairport "Live" Convention due to being a recording with Sandy "Officially" back in the band (the American leg only had Sandy there as a "guest"{of hubbie obviously} if I am not mistaken!!). So this recording certainly is a truer memory-recollection of the November 74 tour witnessed in Edinburgh's Usher Hall!! Can someone else please confirm that both All Along the Watchtower was played on November 25th as well as "Down In The Flood" - I always maintained that Fairport played two Dylan songs on that tour but could not find proof before this. No longer "I'm a dreamer" - how can we better this???? Anyone disagreeing PLEASE,PLEASE share!

From: Andrew Batt, January 15, 2012

"Many Ears to Please" was recorded live at Chateau Neuf, Oslo, on 5th February 1975. The two track reels were discovered in the early 1990's and brought to the attention of Dave Pegg and Jerry Donahue by Thor-Rune Haugen, all of whom readied the tapes for release. Jerry also contributes some sleeve notes, as does Jill Swarbrick. Overall I think this is one of the better gigs to have turned up over the years- the sound is pretty good and whilst this isnt one of the bands most amazing nights ever, all are on form and give a good performance. For example this is much better than the recently released Ebbets field gig, or the "Who Knows..." concert, so fans looking to purchase one non-island release of the band live at this time should probably plump for this one. In addition the artwork is good throughout, and the photos which were hitherto unpublished are also excellent, so its a nice cd to own. hope this helps!

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