Unhalfbricking Album Cover
Unhalfbricking is graced with an unforgettable cover. Unsullied by album title or band name, the photograph, by Eric Hayes, is of an elderly, middle-class couple -Neil and Edna Denny- posing in front of their home in Arthur Road, Wimbledon in the Autumn of 1968. Through the high fence behind them you can just make out Fairport Convention, lounging playfully on the lawn under a tall, old beech tree. The misty church spire in the distance underlines the image's assertion that this is rock music unlike any other, rock music from a different lineage.
(The house shown on the Unhalfbricking album cover is at) 9B Arthur Road, SW19, Sandy’s parents' place at the time. I believe it was a house divided into flats, with a communal garden, which is where the band are lolling. Go at the end of the month and you can take in the tennis at the same time!
I am quoting from the beginning of the updated liner notes in the English version of the Unhalfbricking remaster:
”The third Fairport album was given the undecipherable title, "Unhalfbricking". Actually this was made up by Sandy during an hilarious word-game in the group van, travelling to or from some forgotten gig."
A "Game of Ghost" that Fairport was playing once. It's a word game where a word is constructed by each person adding a letter to that contributed by the person before them (in either direction). You have three lives to lose and you lose a life by adding the last letter of the word.
From what I have read it was outside Sandy's parents house in Wimbledon. Sandy was very nervous about introducing the band of long haired musicians to her mother, but apparently they were delighted and put on a traditional English “High Tea” for them. Sandy's parents can be seen standing in the background. They were big supporters of Sandy and all her work.
Interestingly, when the album was released in America, A&M Records thought the audience wouldn't understand the photo so they replaced it with one of pink elephants similar to those in Disney's Fantasia!
Good luck visiting Sandy's places. When you are in London don't forget to visit Fairport House on Fortis Green Road in Muswell Hill. It's where Simon Nicol grew up, Ashley lived and Fairport Convention first recorded.
The US release of Unhalfbricking was designed by Tom Wilkes and I like it more than the UK sleeve probably for sentimental reasons, because A&M's Unhalfbricking was the first LP I've ever bought.
On the UK release, the band is not seen clearly. However, the US release shows a sharp pic of Fairport when having tea in the garden. When Fairport Convention were in Turkey for a show back in 1993, I requested Simon to sign on the LP.
When Simon was signing, Ric approached us and asked "whose album that was"! He'd never seen the US sleeve before!
A&M released also What We Did On Our Holidays with a different sleeve design and titled the album simply as "Fairport Convention" probably because that was the first Fairport album released in the US.