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Meet On The Ledge
Fairport Convention
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Fairport Convention

Still going strong today, Fairport Convention are now well-established as Britain’s best-loved folk-rock band. But in 1969 when they released this, their second single, they were still being referred to as a “British Jefferson Airplane”.

When Fairport first played together in the summer of 1967, their repertoire consisted largely of covering American songs but by the time Sandy Denny joined the following year, Fairport’s precocious guitarist, Richard Thompson, was beginning to find his voice as a writer.

Fairport’s second album, What We Did On Our Holidays, boasted three Thompson originals, including the perennial favourite ‘Meet On The Ledge’. Today, there is still something stately and timeless in this pensive reflection on life, and death - and it’s hard to believe that Thompson was still in his teens when he wrote it.

Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson talks to Richard Skinner about what Fairport Convention were trying to achieve musically.

A very English blues, anticipating the sound of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours line-up which followed eight years later. Unusual seven-bar verses, with a memorable move to the dominant minor (on bar four at ”songs”), which also acts as key component of the chorus, where the vocal harmonies are earthy, gutsy and frayed. This singular production features an eccentric serial piano figure after the first chorus, and King Crimson-style psychedelic drum fills. Dominic King

Over the years, the composer has been evasive about the song’s actual meaning, although a schoolfriend believes that Thompson had in mind a school reunion on Hampstead Heath, beneath a tree branch they knew as “the ledge”.

On its release, Disc & Music Echo wrote of ‘Meet On The Ledge’: “It’s a hit for me personally, but could get lost in the Christmas rush.” While the song never was a hit, it has become inextricably linked to Fairport - and every summer, the band’s yearly reunion at Cropredy closes with twenty thousand fans singing ‘Meet On The Ledge’. Because, as the song’s chorus reminds you: “I’m gonna see all my friends… if you really mean it, it all comes round again!”

Your comments.In two verses the sense of loss you feel when you lose a friend is comforted.

Richard Powell

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