Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fairport Convention: Tokyo

One of my favorite instrumentals comes from Fairport Convention’s ninth LP, which was appropriately titled “Nine.” Although the LP was released in 1973, I didn’t get my copy until 1976. It is not the typical fare for the band, but “Tokyo” showcases the band’s prowess as instrumentalists with guitar, fiddle, bass, drums, and keyboard pyrotechnics and the liberal use of wah-wah pedals.

The song was primarily a vehicle for Jerry Donahue to show off his talents as a lead guitarist, but it also provides an opportunity for his band mates to shine as well. There are a couple of places that showcase Dave Swarbrick: one has him on double fiddles and the other has him playing electrified violin complete with the aforementioned wah-wah pedal.

Additionally, Dave Pegg is keeping up on bass by using a plectrum for attack and speed. Drummer Dave Mattacks not only provides some interesting tom work, but he plays a mean clavinet that really adds to the mystique of “Tokyo.” I can only imagine that Trevor Lucas handles the rhythm guitar parts on the track.

At the close of the song, everyone is in unison. I can’t swear to it, but it sounds as though there is a mandolin in there as well. If so, it is either played by Swarb or Peggy. As you might expect, “Tokyo” was penned by Jerry Donahue. Nice stuff from an album that is not typically considered anyone’s favorite Fairport LP – but I like despite what anyone else thinks.

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