‘Si Tu Dois Partir’: Fairport Convention In French, And On ‘Top Of The Pops’

Fairport LP

A Bob Dylan cover landed the folk heroes on TV and in the UK singles chart.

By Paul Sexton

Hit singles were never the name of the game for Fairport Convention, who made (and have kept) their reputation on full-length albums and fine live performances. But there was just one exception to that rule, and it showed itself on the UK singles chart for July 23, 1969 — when Fairport translated Bob Dylan into French, with a song that landed them on Top Of The Pops.

“Si Tu Dois Partir,” their French version of Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now,” entered the bestsellers that week, tickling the bottom of the Top 50 chart at No.47. The very sight of Fairport in the hit parade was incongruous, especially sandwiched between Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tracks Of My Tears” and Tom Jones’ “Love Me Tonight.” But they sensed the Island single had potential, and they were right.

‘A load of rubbish’

When the idea cropped up of covering the song in a Creole style, it was lead singer Sandy Denny that suggested they should also do it in French. She later disowned the entire idea, calling it “a load of rubbish” and adding venomously: “The people who bought that record were cheated. If they didn’t know us, they’d think we were some French group.”

Dylan wrote “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” in 1964, but didn’t release his own version in either the UK or the US until it appeared in his Bootleg Series of albums in 1991. A different version by Bob became a Dutch single in 1967, but by then it had been snapped up as rich cover fare.

British group the Liverpool Five won US airplay, but no chart honors, for their 1965 version, before the hit factory that was Manfred Mann took their rendition all the way to No.2 in the UK in 1966. French star Johnny Hallyday was among the other artists to record an interpretation.

Fairport translation

Fairport translated the lyric into French in their usual lighthearted way and released it as a single at the same time as their third album Unhalfbricking, on which it featured. The 45 climbed steadily, helped by the (inevitably lip-synched) appearance on TOTP, and spent two weeks at No.21.

That unlikely success helped Unhalfbricking climb to No.12 in the UK. “Si Tu Dois Partir” was the only visit to the singles chart that the band ever made, but it had been quite an adventure.

Source: ‘Si Tu Dois Partir’: Fairport Convention In French, And On ‘Top Of The Pops’

Fairport Convention “I’ll Keep It With Mine”

Judy Collins, Nico, Marianne Faithful and Bettie Serveert have covered this brilliant Bob Dylan song – but Fairport Convention’s is the best. I love Sandy’s vocals on this. Below are Dylan’s lyrics.

You will search, babe, at any cost
But how long, babe, can you search for what is not lost?
Everybody will help you
Some people are very kind
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine
I can’t help it if you might think I am odd
If I say I’m not loving you not for what you are
But for what you’re not
Everybody will help you
Discover what you set out to find
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mineThe train leaves at half past ten
But it’ll be back in the same old spot again
The conductor
He’s still stuck on the line
And if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine

Watch this FREE new film and support the famed Newport Folk Festival

Support the future Newport Folk Festival

‘Tis a little-known-fact that THE HOBBLEDEHOY’S editor-in-chief Johnny Foreigner spent many days of his youth on the streets of Newport, Rhode Island – famous for Danish socialite Claus Von Bulow (found not guilty at his second trial of killing his wife “Sunny”); The America’s Cup Sailing Races; and of course, the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals. Where was it that Bob Dylan first  played an electric guitar in concert? Why, in Newport, of course! Normally, Johnny Foreigner would be sitting on a blanket in Fort Adams and digging the festival vibes these past weekends, but due to the Covid virus, all events were canceled. Ah, me.

Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival “goes electric” and folks flip out

JFK in Newport
President John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie watching the America’s Cup races in Newport, RI

Claus Von Bulow, the Danish socialite known for being accused of the attempted murder of his wife Sunny

This terrific new film – OUR VOICES TOGETHER – is available for online viewing starting Sunday, August 2.

“Newport has a 60-year history of giving artists a place to play, collaborate, and speak to the times. It has been a megaphone for not one singular voice, but many. Although this year there is no physical stage, the spirit of the Newport Folk Fest continues on through this film with a collection of original performances and an ending Newport fans expect each year: A moment of togetherness.”

It may be the next best thing to actually being in Newport for the live festivals, and your contribution will help fund future festivals. Please watch and give what you can! This film will only be viewable for 24 hours.

And please tell THE HOBBLEDEHOY your opinions of the film, the festival, and also whether or not you think Claus actually murdered his wife “Sunny” in 1979.

Source: Newport Festivals Foundation

Murder Most Foul-dehoy

Michael Stevenson | The Hobbledehoy

I’m crawling out of me skin during this Covid-19 lockdown, so to kill some time I’m adding lyrics to Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul.”
Feel free to join in:

Righteous brothers be right; Andrews sisters hold tight
Ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?

Rudy can’t fail, shorty on the wood
Is that the only law that Liberty understood?

Hand in hand to a barbecue stand
Emanuel chose Richard to leave The Band.

Diamond in the back, sunroof top,
She’s big at the little and bottom at the top

Ruby, Ruby how I want ya
Oliver Stone is a-gonna haunt ya

I Like Ike, tell me What’d I Say?
Chicken in every pot; Jockomo feena nay

Pay Allen Price, bare Eric Burden
Sew my ol blue jeans behind an iron curtain

Time’s gonna take it’s toll
Pay for the love that we stole
On the side of the street that’s sunny
That’s Just Montgomery Clift, honey!

Crash on the levee and a wreck on the highway
Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Becomes final today

Charlie Pride comes before The Fall
Kicker Conspiracy, b-de, b-de, b-de,
Folks, That’s all!