> Fairport Convention > Songs > Liege and Lief Medley

Medley: The Lark in the Morning / Rakish Paddy / Foxhunter’s Jig / Toss the Feathers

[trad. arr. Fairport Convention]

Though Scots fiddler Harver Webb and jazz clarinet-player Bruce Turner had played together in the earliest days of folk revival, and Swarbrick’s work with the Campbells and as a duo with Martin Carthy (most notably on the EP No Songs for Fontana) had blazed the trail, this track was when reeling and rocking finally came to terms with each other. It appears halfway through electric folk’s watershed album, Fairport Convention’s Liege and Lief (Island, 1969). The playing is rougher than the band were to achieve later, but rarely has a single album had more influence, notably in the remarkable affinity between Swarb’s fiddle and Richard Thompson’s electric guitar. For this medley, the remainder of the classic personnel was Simon Nicol, rhythm guitar, Ashley Hutchings, bass guitar, and Dave Mattacks, drums. Mattacks established a whole new repertoire of drum licks for the accompaniment of traditional dance rhythms; for instance, note the way he breaks of three 6/8 bars of Foxhunter’s Jig into one long 3/4, this giving it a heavy basic pulse without destroying the lilt of the dance.

The Lark in the Morning is exceptional in having four parts; a 1926 recording of it by Irish fiddle legend James Morrison has been issued. A version of Rakish Paddy can be found on the Chieftains’ first album. Foxhunter’s Jig is included in the medley The Foxhunt on The Chieftains 2.

This medley has also been named after the first tune, The Lark in the Morning or alternatively Jigs and Reels. Reels are in 4/4 time and jigs are in 6/8 or 9/8 (a hop or slip jig).

Originally recorded for Fairport’s groundbreaking Liege and Lief album, this medley was later included in The Electric Muse and the Fairport sampler Folk With Poke.

A live recording from The Los Angeles Troubadour appeared on Fairport’s 1970 Live at the LA Troubadour album, where it is called Toss the Feathers. Another 1970 live recording of this, from the Philadelphia Folk Festival, was included in the 2003 Dave Swarbrick anthology Swarb!. A further live recording probably from 31 October 1975 at Brunel University, Uxbridge is on the CD Who Knows? The Woodworm Archives Vol. 1. Finally, this medley is the first song performed on It All Comes ’Round Again; recorded at Cropredy in 1987, and it is played by Allcock / Mattacks / Nicol / Pegg / Sanders.