Ashley, Simon and Richard had now met up with Martin Lamble and Fairport Convention had convened. They quite fancied having a girl in the band and I guess I was the nearest, so I was asked. I agreed, thinking it would be a hoot. I can’t remember when my first Fairport gig was but it was probably June or July 1967. In September 1967 my eldest sister got married and I was a bridesmaid. I sang at the reception dressed in elegant pink satin and then dashed off to a gig with Fairport (not in pink satin) on a boat. I seem to remember the boat sank.
We all had jobs, Tyger as a journalist; Richard started work with stained glass artist Hans Unger. His fingertips were usually cut to ribbons. How he played guitar so brilliantly with sliced fingers never ceased to amaze. Simon had a job as film operator at one of the local cinemas. Martin’s only previous job was, (as he so delicately put it), ‘child’.
One by one the day jobs fell by the wayside and I had to make a choice between Library School and Fairport. No contest, and we set out on the upside down life of being in a band. It was fun, even the old Commer van, with no heating and a hole in the bottom where the snow came in, was fun. Bradford, (Harvey the roadie’s dog), did keep me warm in a later Transit by lying on my feet blocking up the holes in the floor.
Anyway on it went, Cilla Black was glimpsed freaking out to us at the Speakeasy (I’ve got the press cutting!), Joe Boyd professed himself ‘knocked out’ (oops sorry, Joe!) and there we were in Sound Techniques Studio recording our first album. OUR FIRST ALBUM!!!! I’m pretty sure Iain Matthews (Ian McDonald as he was known then) joined us as we were making the album. He added sort of spoken vocals to ‘If I had a Ribbon Bow’ and added harmonies to songs that I had been singing on my own or with Richard, and it all seemed to be going swimmingly. The single ‘Ribbon Bow’ was released (to stunning silence!) and we continued to gig and have a good time.
Richard and I had been sort of ‘going out’ since before I joined the band as singer, but that ground to an unspoken halt and then I was unceremoniously dumped by the band just before the album was released. Hmmm. I asked to do the last gig in Rome (why?) and then that was it. I gave them back my beloved electric harp and left to go to the airport. Then I had to go back because I’d forgotten to ask for my ticket. No one came with me and there was no one to meet me. That was May 1968. Now that all sounds far too gloomy. In fact, had it not been for leaving Fairport, I would not have been in the next right place at the next right time and never have come across my 3rd band.