It was a great honour to be asked to play at Richard's 70th birthday bash at the Albert Hall. I don’t know why I was chosen to sing 'Down where the Drunkards Roll' - though I do love the song, and had practised it every day the week before the gig. I did the rehearsal at 1.00pm and that went well despite Simon's absence (courtesy of Thomas Cook). Around 4.00pm I experienced a dreadful attack of stage fright which previously had only happened to me once before in Toronto on my first gig with Jethro Tull. I literally had a huge panic attack, and couldn’t even remember the song I was supposed to sing! I called Ellen and then wrote a crib sheet which I stuck in my pocket. On being announced I dropped it nonchalantly on the stage where it landed upside down! Merde! Thanks To Richard and all for a fab night - and here's me terrified on stage with (in my humble opinion) the world's greatest songwriter/guitarist. Cheers! Peggy
Fairport are back in Woodworm Studios in October to record a new album - Shuffle and Go - which will be available on the Winter Tour; tickets are now on sale. We have 13 new items to record and are very pleased with the chosen material. It will be nice to be back on the road for a few dates in the UK and to be going to Portugal for Costa del Folk. We are working on a new tour programme too with some great help from Nigel Schofield, who has constructed a 1970 calendar of Fairport's activities.
2020 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of the Full House album - and marks my 50th year of being a Fairporter.
Please do come and see us and book your tickets for the Winter Tour.
See you soon, cheers Peggy , Simon, Ric, Chris and Gerry.
Following the rapid sell-out of their 2020 Rhine cruise, Fairport Convention are delighted to invite you to join them in June 2021 on the trip of a lifetime along the beautiful River Danube.
Casting off in the wonderful UNESCO World Heritage city of Budapest and then taking in Bratislava, Vienna, Wachau, Salzburg, Linz and Regensburg, this is a unique opportunity to combine fabulous scenery, fascinating city sights and cultural experiences with luxurious accommodation, gourmet food, free-flowing quality wines and 5 nights brilliant entertainment from Fairport and Friends.
In this intimate setting you will have the opportunity to meet, chat and socialise with Simon, Peggy, Chris, Ric and Gerry who have promised to reveal some hidden talents - we will let you guess which band member is a keen magician, and which of them has ambitions to be a stand up comedian!
Click this link to find out more!
I am so proud of my son Matt. Very complex Wakeman music which he handles with apparent ease. Well done Matt - and see you at Cropredy.
Read a review of the Journey to the Centre of the Earth show here.
We had our annual village fete here in our garden last weekend in June and had some great music provided by my dear friends annA Ryder, Noel le Long, Paul Mitchell, Clive Bunker, Tim Mann, Dan ArBraz, Hilary and Tim Dieu De Bellefontaine, Herve and Gilles from “Long John Silver”, James Wood and Franck le Ray. Gilles and Gwendoline performed an amazing Diablo and hoop garden spectacular and a wonderful Chicken curry was cooked up by Richard and Ann Pouncey. Thanks to all our British visitors and Breton neighbours who came along and helped so much in making this such an enjoyable night. Heres a few pics to see what you missed.
Peggy writes: "Back in 1977, myself and Simon and Bruce went for a couple of days to the lovely village of Southwold as guests of the Adnams brewery. Chris Leslie and his brother John, myself and a friend of ours Arthur Conduit had written the songs and music for a film about the brewing process and Southwold. We were forced to drink Adnams ale and mime to our soundtrack which I had recorded in our cottage in Cropredy. Simon and I had mislaid the door key to the Crown hotel and in order to get in, I climbed a drainpipe in the early hours.Pre hip op obviously!. This is a lovely little film which you might remember seeing when we had Broughton castle as the venue for our festival. Enjoy!"
Watch the In One End video in full, for free.
Recently I had a conversation with a guy from Brum who said he had purchased a Gibson Les Paul guitar that Roger Hill had played when he was in Fairport. Sadly, I told him that I couldn’t remember Roger playing a Les Paul but I was wrong! Here's the proof.
So, apologies from me re that. My mate Paul Mitchell said he had a pic, and here it is!
(Also I am playing a Fender Jazz bass which I loved, but sadly got nicked. If anyone can shed any light on its whereabouts, there would be a reward for sure.)
Photo of Swarb, Pegg, Roger Hill and Tom Parnell courtesy of Paul Mitchell.
Peggy writes - "The Fairports will be doing the Cropredy Warm up shows at Banbury Trades and Labour Club on 5 & 6 August. We will have special guests joining us on both nights including Dave Mattacks and "Fairport Extension “. This will be a 10 piece line up enabling us to tackle some “big production” items from our past repertoire. Do please join us for these special pre-Cropredy Festival events."
You can buy tickets from the Fairport shop.
Peggy and AJ tour together each November. This collection of ten songs is a summation of seven years of doing so. AJ has a keen eye for observation, a sharp wit for writing and a knack for turning phrases, evident in titles that make you wonder “what on earth could that be like? viz Routine Love, Irishman In Paris and Let Me Tell You How It Works.
This is not a reproduction of their stripped-back, seated live sound – aside from mandolin, Peggy plays electric and bass guitar; La Belle Julia Porter, who co-wrote the songs, adds piano and strings; Adrian Black provides entirely apt clarinet and Mark Walker plays chimes. The songs benefit from these added dimensions.
Try the full-on rock sound of Until the Wall Comes Down or Life’s got its own agenda, a song that could only otherwise exist if Jake Thackery had been transplanted to Basin Street!
There are songs that make you smile, songs to make you think and songs for which the only reaction is “yes – exactly”.
How can you resist a line like “I lost my religion in a poker game”?
The songs are all direct and involve you immediately, but the craft in writing, subtlety of narrative and deftness of observation all reward repeated listens. Even after one listen, those skilfully coined phrases will leap into your head – and you’ll thrash around to recall where it’s from…and when you remember, this album ends up in CD player: it’s an endlessly repeating cycle. Earworms that never get earworn.
- Nigel Schofield, Tykes
Damian Davison has sent us a link to a wonderful film he has created based on the Fairports' version of The Sailor's Alphabet. He has done a great job on it and luckily chose the original Babbacombe Lee version of the song - and not the revised alternate lyric version. Thanks Damian.
Great video that features the track Donegan's Gone from the album that Peggy made with PJ Wright in 2011, Galileo's Apology. Thanks to Tom Robinson for letting us know about this. You can buy Galileo's Apology here.
Here's a great video produced by Chris Short of my fave Breton band - the Churchfitters. Find out more on the Churchfitters' website.
Now's your chance to enjoy 10 of the fabulous songs Dave Pegg and Anthony John Clarke managed to perform amidst all the gags and laughter on their MIRTH and MISCHIEF autumn tours.
Everybody round here is crazy
Years ago, not now
Life in the Old Dog Yet
Irishman in Paris
Until the wall comes down
Cute Little Angel
Let me tell you how it works
Pitlochry, Loch Lomond and the Nun's gate
£10, plus £1.50 p&p
Alternatively, contact Julia via www.anthonyjohnclarke.com website for other ways to obtain!
I am so proud of my grand daughter Ava taking part in the march along with her dad Matt. Simon Nicol did it too, and I would have been there also but had stuff to do here in Brittany. I can’t believe the stupidity of our politicians and the ignorance of the fact that Brexit could never be an advantage for the U.K. Revoke !
My great friends The Churchfitters - who many of you have seen at Cropredy - have a short film promo, produced by Chris Short. Take a look and please if you're on Facebook help spread the word about one of my favourite bands.
I know he feels bad that the 50 odd years of low frequencies have shaken me follicles out and kindly offered to share some of his still huge mane with me for this pic. Do look out for Saving Grace as they plan to do more gigs.
We have a couple of months off now so Ellen and I are off to Brittany for a rest and lots of gardening. I hope to be getting the new CD - called Sit Down Stand Up - which Anthony John Clarke and I have recently recorded. Check Anthony's website and do get hold of one; he has some fab. new songs.
Looking forward to seeing you on the Fairports' May/June tour.
I have had a great response from those of you who have purchased “Off the Pegg” Thanks so much. Nigel and myself may have to do a second edition. I am very happy with it despite having spotted some spelling mistakes. Proof reading is not my forte. Sorry.
"Maart’s last few hours were spent with him telling me his wishes about his book and I promised that I would finish it for him. I now feel ready to do this but I need some help. Maart had written chapters up to 1990 along with other paragraphs and ideas. I am trawling through his emails and other documents on his computer as it is important that as much as possible is written in Maart’s own words. I’m looking for transcripts/recordings of any interviews both pre and post 1990 along with any good stories that will be interesting for readers, especially the humorous ones that gave Maart such delight. Obviously, I have all Fairport’s tour/Cropredy programmes and some of Tull’s along with videos/DVDs made about Fairport. I also have the Q&A session that Maart did on Talkawhile which has provided me with some valuable information. Is there anyone out there who recorded Maart’s farewell speech at Cropredy?
I don’t want anyone to go to a lot of trouble in providing me with something that I already have so, if you have any suggestions or can point me in the right direction please email me first at
Hard copies of anything can be sent to me:
PO Box 31
Yes, I have always kept my maiden name!
Many, many thanks in advance,"
Well, from 16 – 23 June 2020, it meanders through 50 years of folk rock history, taking in the spectacular scenery along one of the most attractive rivers in Europe, on an exclusive cruise hosted by none other than Fairport Convention. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy ‘up close and personal’ the many and varied talents of Simon, Peggy, Gerry, Chris and Ric, and they are as excited as we are about the 5 evenings of on board entertainment being planned.
Please follow THIS LINK for 'Early Bird' tickets and more information.
There will be songs old and new from the Fairports of course, but so much more as well aboard the newest addition to the Amadeus Fleet ~ The MS Amadeus Imperial. Your luxurious floating home from home. With only 150 guests on board, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans.
How about a Fairport ‘Beatles singalong’, or even getting up to do a karaoke with the Fairports as your backing band? Wouldn’t that be a video to impress friends and embarrass the grand children?
Peggy is threatening to tell a few tales which couldn’t be included in his recent book ‘Off the Pegg’, and Gerry might teach you how to play the cajon, whilst Ric and Chris are planning solo and duo sets. And…. who could have expected this …. a couple of band members would like to demonstrate their abilities in performing magic tricks and stand-up comedy!
Expect "Fairport Unconventional" – a rare, unique opportunity for a maximum of 150 fans to share a wonderful experience and generate some magical memories with five of the nicest icons of British music history. Dress Code throughout will be smart casual / No Formal Nights.
Now, thanks to JHS Musical Instruments, Matt and Tony have a signature Jerry Donahue Telecaster which they have had signed by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Lynne, Dave Gilmour, Richard Thompson, Pete Townshend, Andy Fairweather-Lowe, Albert Lee, Martin Barre, Joe Brown, Tony Iommi, Al Stewart, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine and - 'yours truly!'
This is a fantastic achievement and we know that the guitar will raise many thousands of pounds to help Jerry get some more treatment to aid his recovery. Watch the Fairport website for when the auction will happen .
Meantime, here are some pics of our guitar heroes signing the guitar.
A great band which, sadly for me, has run its course after 20 happy years..
This is your chance to own a classic piece of Prog-Folk history and for only 99p it's an absolute snip. Please help us get it up the Christmas chart by buying a copy and sharing this with your friends.
You can buy I Believe in Father Christmas on iTunes.
I have one more concert with my dear friend Anthony John Clarke on Tuesday in St Neots then we have 9 shows with the Dylan Project before Christmas. Do try and get to one of these - you can find details on the Gigs page.
Many thanks to all of you who purchased “Off The Pegg” - Mr Dylan has said that he enjoyed it so I am so chuffed.
Thanks to Nigel and Christine Schofield for keeping the mail orders going.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year, cheers, Peggy.
You can download the single from December the 1st from the Red Shoes website and you can watch a short video of Time Stands Still here.
Time Stands Still was produced by Jared Bryant at Seven Valley Studios in Worcester and is only available as a digital download. It will be available through the winter months and then be taken off.
but Peggy's been auditioning a new band member...
OK, it's actually a sculpture by Achiel Pauwels, poured in bronze by Dirk De Graeve and unveiled in 1993. It celebrates Lionel Bauwens, a singer and accordion player who often accompanied himself with a large bass drum - hence his nickname, 'Tamboer'. Peggy found him in Eeklo, East Flanders on the recent Fairport tour.
Off The Pegg is subtitled Bespoke Memories Of A Bass Player, but any reader expecting just that will be-spoke too soon (as it were), for there’s a myriad of activities to consider: not least, long-term membership of several bands (Fairport, Tull et al.), the founding and running of Cropredy Festival, Woodworm Studios, and so much more beyond the scope of this humble, spartan word-count. Peggy is one of music’s great raconteurs, and this book is liberally spiced with choice anecdotes and memories of times spent in the company of many of the great names in rock and folk. It doesn’t require a chronological approach (although a bass-ic timeline is provided). Along the way, the anecdotes prompt, and are prompted by, invaluable nuggets of information and clarification, “betcha didn’t know”-type stuff that pub quizzes and Mastermind rounds are made of but invariably with much more than temporary fascination value and of genuine interest to all levels of fan. There’s also a veritable gallery of photographic evidence.
Off The Pegg is a weighty tome (272 jam-packed pages), with the highest production standards; it’s also a gleefully picaresque (or should that be “peggaresque”?) volume that, with Nigel’s exceptionally simpatico wordsmithery, really captures the essence of Peggy. The book’s aspirational and inspirational scholarship ensures that the reader will do far more than just “touch bass” with the living legend that is Peggy."
- David Kidman, The Living Tradition
But there is so much to “Off The Pegg”, Dave Pegg’s long-threatened and finally released autobiography - 272 pages of quite small print - that I expect to take a while to get through it all, and it’s only fair to let everyone know of its existence and worth well before then!
Peggy either has an excellent memory or has kept lots of notes, for his descriptions of long ago events are quite detailed, to the extent that stories concerning the formation and career of earlier bands such as The Way Of Life become much more vivid and real to the reader, rather than just a vague footnote.
John Bonham as a bandmate in that group and a lifetime friend altogether also provides a lot of colourful stories, including around the time Fairport played the infamous LA Troubadour gig in 1970. The fact Dave was in any condition to play at all is remarkable! My only concern, though, is that giving away too much of any individual story would take away from the pleasure of reading it in Dave’s own words in the book. Suffice to say, his friends who badgered him into finally getting it done, with the assistance and persistence of Nigel Schofield, were right in thinking there were too many tales that needed to be told.
(Peggy was the guitarist in Jimmy Cliff’s band when the latter first arrived in the UK? Cliff stayed at Dave’s parents’ house and used to descend the stairs on his hands?)
The fact it’s done in an entertaining way is another bonus. The book is by no means chronological, and sometimes this can be a bit confusing, but it also makes it easier to dip in and out of the thematic chapters at will. Nigel Schofield adds his own narrative throughout, but uses a different font to make clear who is saying what.
A later chapter deals with Fairport’s Australian connections, with a nice nod to the Aust Friends Of Fairport, and another story of an ill-fated hike in the Blue Mountains with Dave Swarbrick.
As opposed to the dramatic story from many years previously - hey, if the book can jump timeframes, so can I - when it seemed Peggy would be going to prison for an accident he didn’t cause, but being recognised as a member of the Ian Campbell Folk Group got him off.
See, this is what I mean. So much to read, and trying to relate everything of interest would become a short story in itself. Regardless, the distinct impression throughout, along with the humour, is that Dave has approached the story-telling with fairness and respect, and an ability to describe situations evocatively enough to make the reader feel they were almost there in so many different times and places. I get the impression he is amazed to have fit so much into his life, too.
The story goes right up to 2017 and therefore Fairport’s 50th year. He also mentions his recent hip operation - “My hip’s behind me now. Not literally of course, otherwise I’d be having words with my surgeon!”
The small print is unfortunate but also necessary to keep postage costs to a minimum, while not relegating too much to the book equivalent of the cutting room floor. It would be handy if it came out as an e-book for the sake of easier distribution and font adjustment but I have heard of no such plans.
Sadly, the chance of Dave or Fairport touring Australia again appears to be remote as well. But “Off The Pegg” can act as a worthy reminder of the man, his life and his music. Maybe we now need a bio-pic!"
- Michael Hunter
"Maartin Allcock, who has died of liver cancer aged 61, was a musician and record producer who spent 11 years as a guitarist with the folk giants Fairport Convention, doubling up for some of that time as guitarist and keyboard player with prog-rockers Jethro Tull.
He was also a fine bass guitarist and violinist, his other instruments including the pipes, mandolin and mandocello, or bass/baritone mandolin, and he was a session musician on more than 200 albums. In later years he championed Welsh-language rock and folk music.
He was born Martin Allcock at Middleton, near Manchester on January 5 1957. He studied music in Huddersfield and Leeds, and when he was 19 began playing in folk clubs and dance bands. The following year he toured with the comedian and musician Mike Harding in Harding’s band, the Brown Ale Cowboys.
He lived for a short time in Brittany then trained as a chef in the Shetland Isles. In 1981 he returned to music, joining the Bully Wee Band, a Celtic folk group.
He teamed up with Fairport Convention in 1985, making his first recorded contribution on the 1986 album Expletive Delighted! Dave Pegg, a stalwart of band, recalled: “[Violinist] Ric [Sanders] and Maart were both writing stuff, composing these great instrumental pieces … So we put out an all-instrumental album.”
The band’s new line-up would be one of the most stable in the band’s history, sticking together for 11 years, and Allcock played a leading role on such albums as Red & Gold (1988), The Five Seasons (1990) and Jewel in the Crown (1995), as well as touring with the band in the US, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Turkey.
He changed the spelling of his first name in the mid-1980s, he recalled, after talking to a fellow musician in Dublin, who, when Allcock told him his first name, recognised his accent as north Manchester, telling him he had to spell it with a double “a” from then on.
He stayed with Fairport until 1996, doing much to revitalise a band that had been together, with shifting personnel, for nearly three decades. Between 1988 and 1991 he was also a member of Jethro Tull.
He played on the band’s 1989 album Rock Island, which continued in the hard rock vein the band had recently begun tapping and went gold in Britain. He also toured with the band in Europe and the Americas.
Another project was Waz!, a band he founded with melodeon and concertina player Dave Whetstone and another multi-instrumentalist, Pete Zorn – they took the band’s names from their initials. They released two albums, the second, Fully Chromatic (1999), when Steve Tilston had replaced Whetstone.
In 2000 Allcock moved to Snowdonia. He studied Welsh at Harlech College and began working with the Welsh-language record label, Sain, as a session man and producer.
In the early 2000s he played bass for the Nashville singer and songwriter, Beth Nielsen Chapman. He recorded several solo albums, and worked with other musicians including Yusuf Islam, when the former Cat Stevens made his musical return in the 2000s; the experimental Tuvan throat singer, Sainkho Namtchylak; Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin; Adrian Edmondson’s band, the Bad Shepherds; Ralph McTell; and the former Seeker, Judith Durham.
In August 2017 he joined up with Fairport at the Cropredy Convention Festival – founded by the band in 1979 – to mark their 50th anniversary, and this year, a few weeks before his death, he made his final public appearance at the Festival.
Although he was ill, he played with the band on a rocking version of one of their best-loved songs, Matty Groves. At the end, he told Fairport’s fans: “You’re the best friends I’ve ever known.”
Maartin Allcock is survived by his wife, Jan, and by two daughters and a son from his first marriage.
Maartin Allcock, born January 5 1957, died September 16 2018."
The Midland Hotel was a lovely old art deco design with a wonderful staircase which became more optically challenging the more we had to drink. I think Maart and I tried at one point to climb up the underside of it. Yes we were refreshed!
Maart was a music student and we bonded instantly and became great buddies. I invited him to join Fairport when we reformed after the Gladys' Leap album and he moved to Barford St. Michael to be near us and Woodworm Studios. A wonderful musician who could read and write the dots brilliantly and also improvise, write great tunes and play many instruments so well, he was a real blessing for the new Fairport.
I later joined Jethro Tull and managed to get the Fairports on a U.S.A. tour in a supporting role. Ian Anderson was obviously impressed By Maart's ability as he asked him if he would like to tour as a keyboard player with Tull. The piano was not Maart's first instrument and he did a fab job learning some complex keyboard parts in a short timeframe and also was featured on guitar and bouzouki and bass when I played mandolin. He enjoyed his Tull period and I celebrated the birth of his son with him in New Orleans on one tour.
We were all deeply saddened by the news of his terminal illness and he was such a hero at Cropredy - and so brave and courageous to come and say his farewells to us all. He asked us to rent a new Boss pedal for him to use at the festival and he was still programming it on Tuesday before Wednesday's soundcheck. Maart was a genius with computers.
I gave him a copy of my book at Cropredy and he was really chuffed but said he couldn’t read it until he’d finished his. I know he had got up to 1991 last time I spoke to him and I really hope we will see the finished tome - and also hear some new music he was working on.
He loved the Boss pedal and I got one for him as a present and he said, “Peggy I’m so chuffed and I am leaving it to you in my will.” Maart - I didn’t want it so soon. If I find that you programmed your “Metal Matty” effect in it, I will use it in future performances.
I miss you dear Maartin.
Tickets are available now from Wegottickets at £15.00 each + £1.50 booking fee.
Or call the club on 01295 254168.
Doors - 7pm
Anthony John Clarke and Peggy - 7.30pm
8.30pm - 15 min interval
Churchfitters - 8.45pm
Interval 9.30pm (15 mins)
Churchfitters - 9.45 - 10.30pm
BOOK TICKETS NOW