Fairport Convention

The Manor Album [Not Released]

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By early 1972, Fairport Convention were in absolute disarray. Key member after key member had departed over the past two years, with the loss of Simon Nicol and Dave Mattacks (bound for the Albion Band) seemingly striking a death blow. But Dave Swarbrick and Dave Pegg were made of sterner stuff and, by April, a new lineup had been completed with the arrival of guitarist Roger Hill and drummer Tom Farnell. The lineup did not settle, however, although it was announced that the next LP already had a title, Love Songs from Swarb. But the scheduled release date was first postponed, then scrapped, and Hill was replaced by American guitarist David Rae. And, when the group did finally move into the newly opened Manor Studios to record in earnest, the results were canned almost as fast as they were taped. By the time a new Fairport album did finally emerge, 1973's Rosie, the group had dumped at least one other full LP's worth of material, and it is these outtakes that have become known among fans as The Manor Album. Rosie itself included four of the songs that make up this purely mythical collection ("Me With You," "My Girl," "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John," and "Rosie"; the Fairport Unconventional box set adds "Sad Song" to the brew. Other tracks that circulate on sundry bootleg and semi-official releases include "Sharecropping Woman," "Rattle Trap," and "Maverick Child," together with a handful of instrumentals.