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Chris Leslie, interviewing a Fairport Convention member.

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Wednesday, 23rd February 2011 – David Franchi
Chris LeslieFairport Convention is a leading band of the folk rock movement born in 1960s.
Today they are still recording, live performing and hosting, since 1979, the Cropredy Festival, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, the largest such annual event in UK.
At the concert of the 19th February 2011 at the Union Chapel in Highbury, London,
we have met Fairport member Chris Leslie, composer, and vocal and multi-
instrumentalist and had an interview.
 
D. After one year back in London in the Union Chapel again.
A. “Yes, it’s great to be here. We’ve had lovely time when we played last time. We’ll hope to repeat same thing again this evening. Yeah it’s great to be here.”
 
D. This year there is also a new album and Cropredy Festival just won the TPi award.
A. “Yes, the festival won TPi and we’re very pleased about that because we think that, obviously, it’s a flagship for our festival. We run in a so much work and experience over 30 plus years now. And I think, I recall good things about that it  takes many years to get right. You build; you get fantastic experience after decades. It’s something happening. This year it gets the awards that we’re very pleased. Particularly, I’m Chrissie Leslie here I’m part of the band, but I have very little to do with the organising of the festival. Really it has all done by Gareth Williams, Dave Pegg and Sam Nichol the three major players in it. What’s wonderful tour’s crew is from the festival, so all the people have the input. It’s like a lovely thing to be recognised. It’s a hard work coming off. So we’re here with the brand new album, Festival Bell, which I’m very pleased with, literally finished in the back end of the last year. So it’s the first tour we’re taking it out. We’re doing a show in two halves: in the first half we’re bringing back an album which was released 40 years ago. An album called ‘Babbacome Lee’. Most of the material was written by Dave Swarbrick with contributions from Simon Nicol and from Dave Pegg. The line up at the time the album was produced was Dave Swarbrick, Dave Pegg, Sam Nicol and Dave Mattecks. And it’s a concept album. Remember concept albums?”
 
D. Very old style…
A. “Yeah, yeah and it tells the tale of a man called John Lee, hanged from his small village in Devon, called Babbacombe. To take a long story short he was accused of murder and sentenced to be hanged in the bad old days. They try to hang him three times and the scaffolding wouldn’t work.”
 
D. Is it a true story?
A. “It’s a true story, yeah. Late eighteenth hundreds it happened. Later on he was sentenced but sentences back to the old of the eighteenth break rocks! But Dave Swarbrick found the story in a series of old newspaper 30 years ago in an antique shop. The album was fathered by that tale and put together in this album. So the first half of the show we’re doing that album completely from the start to the finish as it is on the LP. And in the second half we’re doing the brand new album, most of them, not all the set of the new album, you know, but possibly 90% is from the new album. So it’s a very nice show to be taking out. Because it celebrates Fairport Convention past and celebrating Fairport present and the future.”
 
D. The future of Fairport Convention?
A. “Well to keep touring and keep making music that we want to make. There’s nothing like getting new material out I think. It’s nice because Fairport has a fantastic back catalogue to deep into bowl. I mean of course ‘Babbacombe’ is an exception. To do a complete new album usually we can do back in all those kinds of areas of the band and pull stuffs into the present line if it’s suit. We’ve always had current materials going alongside. Rick writes great instrumentals and I write some songs and we’ll find songs other great songwriters. So it’s always good to have a new album. Fairport tour has to do with current repertoire; it’s never just look backwards. But it’s wonderful to have a beautiful back catalogue to go back to.” 
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Written by davidfranchi

February 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm

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