The thing about record buying was the foreplay. Hearing John Peel say their names, often months before you got to see them in a record shop. Then you’d go back and visit them in the shop, learning the names of the tracks and reading the sleeve notes. This came out in 1965. Don’t think I bought it until 1980. That’s 15 years of foreplay.
This was recorded in 1972 after Gram Parsons and Sneaky Pete had left, when they were playing a combination of bar band soul covers, Parsons songs and bluegrass tunes showcasing Byron Berline’s fiddle. It’s actually one of my favourite live albums. It’s just got a spirit, particularly towards the end of side two, that few records have. Listening to it just now for the first time in ages I wonder for the first time how live it is. The audience don’t sound real and they don’t credit a venue, which is very unusual. It was engineered by Eddie Kramer who I talked to not long ago. Should have asked him.
This came with a 7” flexi-disc of another tune. Since it sat under the stylus, it must have been finished by hand, which is a lot of trouble to go to for a Fairport spin-off group. Did I lose it? Of course I did. I never heard anyone use the expression “collectors-item” about records of any kind until they’d stopped making them.
You can do it better, but it’s always gonna be the same grammar, you know? Every artistic form—the blank-verse drama, the Greek plays, the novel—has only so many possibilities and only so long a life.