English fiddler Dave Swarbrick holds quite a resumé in the folk community, showing up on recordings by Ewan MacCall and Ian Campbell, among others, as well as being part of the backbone of folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention from 1969 to 1984. Lift the Lid and Listen, his second solo album originally released in 1978, proves why he was in such demand. This set focuses mainly on traditional fiddle tunes that Swarbrick's fluid style suits nicely. The band he has assembled for this recording, including Fairport colleagues Simon Nicol and Dave Pegg, are in fine form, effortlessly moving through the songs. The lovely title track is a standout, with Savourna Stevenson on the clársach (Gaelic harp) providing backup to Swarbrick's mandolin, giving the only Swarbrick-penned song on the album a sweet feel of a music box lullaby, while "Three Sea Captains/Kate Dalrymple" hints at the folk-rock sound Fairport Convention had cultivated while remaining completely rooted in traditional folk. Lift the Lid and Listen is a great album for those looking to find an excellent example of traditional Celtic fiddling as well as those interested in where the great Fairport Convention fiddler's passions reside.
AllMusic Review by Gregory McIntosh