Sandy Denny's haunting, ethereal vocals gave Fairport a big boost on her debut with the group. A more folk-based album than their initial effort, What We Did on Our Holidays is divided between original material and a few well-chosen covers. This contains several of their greatest moments: Denny's "Fotheringay," Richard Thompson's "Meet on the Ledge," the obscure Joni Mitchell composition "Eastern Rain," the traditional "She Moves Through the Fair," and their version of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It with Mine." And more than simply being a collection of good songs (with one or two pedestrian ones), it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group. The strong original material, covers of little-known songs by major contemporary songwriters such as Dylan and Mitchell, and updates of traditional material were reminiscent of the blend achieved by the Byrds on their early albums, with Fairport Convention giving a British slant to the idiom. The slant would become much more British by the end of the '60s, though, both gaining and losing something in the process. Confusingly, What We Did on Our Holidays was titled Fairport Convention in its initial U.S. release, with a different cover from the U.K. edition, although Fairport's very first album from 1968 had used the title Fairport Convention as well.
What We Did on Our Holidays Review
by Richie Unterberger