What We Did on Our Holidays

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What We Did on Our Holidays
Studio album by Fairport Convention
Released January 1969
Recorded June–October 1968 at Kingsway and Olympic Studio No. 1
Genre Folk rock, folk[1]
Length 38:07
Label Island ILPS 9092
A&M SP-4185 (USA)
Hannibal (reissue)
Producer Joe Boyd
Fairport Convention chronology
Fairport Convention
(1968)
What We Did on Our Holidays
(1969)
Unhalfbricking
(1969)
Singles from "What We Did on Our Holidays"
  1. "Meet on the Ledge" b/w "Throwaway Street Puzzle"
    Released: December 1968, Island Records WIP 6047
  2. "I'll Keep It With Mine" b/w "Fotheringay"
    Released: 1969, USA-only
Alternative cover
US cover.
US self-titled release on A&M Records

What We Did on Our Holidays is the second album release by the band Fairport Convention and was the first to feature Sandy Denny, whose "haunting, ethereal vocals gave Fairport a big boost", according to Allmusic's reviewer.[1] The album also showed a move towards the folk rock for which they became noted, including tracks later to become perennial favourites such as "Fotheringay" and the song traditionally used to close live concerts, "Meet on the Ledge".[2]

History[edit]

Following the departure of Judy Dyble, the band conducted auditions for a replacement singer, and Sandy Denny became the obvious choice. Simon Nicol has said "it was a one horse race really...she stood out like a clean glass in a sink full of dirty dishes".[3]

The album has been described by author Richie Unterberger as "a near-ideal balance between imaginative reworkings of traditional folk songs ... quality covers of contemporary folk-rock singer-songwriters, some quite obscure ... and original folk-rock material by various members".[4] Simon Nicol has cited the album as his favourite.[5]

The cover features a sketch of the band performing, described in the album credits as "from a blackboard assaulted by Fairport Convention"[6] and the reverse of the original sleeve a photograph of the band performing. The Island Masters 1990 re-release IMCD 97 also features a portrait of Sandy Denny.

In the USA, the album was released by A&M Records (SP-4185), containing an identical track listing but featured new cover art, and was retitled "Fairport Convention."[7]

In 2008 Four Men With Beards released a 180 gram version of the album that is being distributed by City Hall Records.

Reception and influence[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[8]

Neal Casal, of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, lists What We Did on Our Holidays as one of his favourite albums of all time.[9]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Fotheringay"   Sandy Denny 3:06
2. "Mr Lacey"   Ashley Hutchings 2:55
3. "Book Song"   Iain Matthews, Richard Thompson 3:13
4. "The Lord Is in This Place...How Dreadful Is This Place" (based on "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson) Hutchings, Thompson, Denny 2:01
5. "No Man's Land"   Thompson 2:32
6. "I'll Keep It With Mine"   Bob Dylan 5:56
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Eastern Rain"   Joni Mitchell 3:36
2. "Nottamun Town"   traditional, arranged by Denny, Matthews, Thompson, Simon Nicol, Hutchings, Martin Lamble 3:12
3. "Tale in Hard Time"   Thompson 3:29
4. "She Moves Through the Fair"   traditional, arr. Denny, Matthews, Thompson, Nicol, Hutchings, Lamble 4:14
5. "Meet on the Ledge"   Thompson 2:50
6. "End of a Holiday"   Nicol 1:07

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel
  • Bruce Lacey & his robots on "Mr. Lacey"
  • Claire Lowther – cello on "Book Song"
  • Kingsley Abbott – coins on "The Lord Is in This Place...," backing vocals on "Meet on the Ledge"
  • Paul Ghosh, Andrew Horvitch & Marc Ellington – backing vocals on "Meet on the Ledge"
  • Peter Ross – harmonica on "Throwaway Street Puzzle"

Production and other credits[edit]

  • Recorded at Sound Techniques, London and Olympic Studio No. 1, London (except "The Lord Is in This Place..." recorded at St. Peter's Church, Westbourne Grove, West London). Further work recorded at Morgan Studios
  • Engineered by John Wood, Sound Techniques, London
  • Photography by Richard Bennett Zeff & Annie Brown
  • Design by Diogenic Attempts Ltd.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Fairport Convention: What We Did on Our Holidays > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Fairport Convention: Meet on the Ledge". www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Sold on Song – Song Library – Who Knows Where The Time Goes". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "THE BIRTH AND HEYDAY OF FAIRPORT CONVENTION". Retrieved 4 May 2008. 
  5. ^ "Fairport Convention – Keeping Cropredy in the Happy Family". Retrieved 5 April 2008. 
  6. ^ Liner notes
  7. ^ "Fairport Convention: What We Did on Our Holidays". www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Fairport Convention". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Interview: Neal Casal (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals)". stereokill.net. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  10. ^ http://archive.richardthompson-music.com/QAgeartunings.asp