"Liege & Lief" is the fourth album by the English rock band Fairport Convention. It is the third and final album the group released in the UK in 1969, all of which prominently feature Sandy Denny as lead female vocalist. (Denny does not appear on the group's debut album from 1968.) It is also the very first Fairport album on which all songs have either been adapted (freely) from traditional British and Celtic folk material (e.g., Matty Groves, Tam Lin), or else are original compositions (e.g., Come All Ye, Crazy Man Michael) written and performed in a similar style. By introducing songs of this genre into the group's repertoire, Denny, who had previously sung and recorded traditional folk songs as a solo artist, was instrumental in this transformation. Although Denny quit the band even before the album's release, Fairport Convention has continued to the present day to make music almost exclusively within the traditional British folk idiom, and are still one of the artists most strongly associated with it.
The album was moderately successful, peaking at number 17 on the British charts during a 15-week run. It is often credited, though the claim is sometimes disputed, as the first major "British folk rock" album. (This term is not to be confused with American-style folk rock, which had first achieved mainstream popularity on both sides of the Atlantic with The Byrds’ early work several years prior.) The popularity of Liege & Lief did a great deal to establish the new style commercially and artistically as a distinct genre. In an audience vote at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, the album was voted Most Influential Folk Album of All Time.
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