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Found: The 'Lost' Fairport

Jonny Moen

Jonny Moen, who kindly sent this splendid feast of Procol Picture-sleeves, tells of the extraordinary story of how he came to release an official, live CD by an unremembered line-up of his favourite band!

Fairport Convention: Many ears to please – Live in Oslo 1975 (order here)

This is the story of a very different CD release. It tells how two Norwegian Fairport Convention fans found a unique recording of a 70s line-up everyone assumed had been unrecorded. And how they are now releasing it with the full approval and cooperation of key members of that very line-up, outside the usual distributional channels of the music industry. Spreading it by word of mouth. A CD truly made by the fans for the fans.

The story starts in 1975. Fairport Convention have just received a major blow: Drummer Dave Mattacks leaves the band halfway through the recording of their next album, right at the start of a series of gigs in Germany, Holland and Norway. There’s no way they can hold auditions for a new drummer in time for this short tour. The gigs may have to be cancelled.

Enter roadie Paul Warren, who’s watched Mattacks from the wings many times. He asks for an audition and surprises the entire band by sounding more-than-adequate for the tour. He then proceeds to play drums for Fairport Convention for the next couple of weeks. The band is prepared to continue with him as the permanent drummer, but is persuaded by the “powers that be” to go for the safer solution of finding a more experienced sticks man. It’s the end of Warren’s time with the Fairports. And none of his gigs with the band had been recorded.

15 years later, Norwegian Fairport fan Thor-Rune Haugen got a 'phone call from an old mate who had stumbled across two boxes of tapes that simply
said “Fairport Convention”. Haugen listened to the tapes and suddenly realised the boxes contained recordings of a great concert he’d been to at the Chateau Neuf hall in Oslo in 1975, featuring a very unknown Fairport drummer – Paul Warren. The recordings had apparently been made with two
mikes hanging from the roof, obviously without the knowledge of the musicians on stage: Sandy Denny, Dave Swarbrick, Dave Pegg, Jerry Donahue,
Trevor Lucas and the aforementioned Warren.

Haugen and his friend (Procol-fan!) Jonny Moen bought the unique tape for their own collection and sent copies to Dave Pegg and Jerry Donahue, who both liked it, Donahue even suggesting a release. And to cut a long story short, this recording is now coming out on CD.

Titled Many Ears to Please – Live in Oslo 1975, the tapes have been remastered and made to sound the best they could. The accompanying 16-page booklet has liner notes from Jerry Donahue, who has also been part of the remastering process. Dave Pegg and Dave Swarbrick have both been part of the creative process that lead to this release. The booklet also contains previously-unseen pictures of this rare line-up, which featured two long-gone legends: the great Sandy Denny and her husband Trevor Lucas.

It comes out on Molldur Records – a tiny, newly-formed record company in Norway. Two big fans are experiencing the realisation of a dream: they are releasing a CD with their own favourite band. with the band members helping out in all sorts of ways. A refreshing way to release an archive recording of any band. We hope you will agree!

Thanks, Jonny

Many ears to please – Live in Oslo 1975 order here

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home