Fairport Convention release charity version of classic Meet On The Ledge

Folk rock legends Fairport Convention have released a new ensemble version of their 1969 classic Meet On The Ledge as a charity single. Proceeds from downloads will be donated to Help Musicians UK, formerly the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.

“Help Musicians UK has been doing its best to support people through the Covid-19 crisis so it is the logical choice of beneficiary,” says Fairport singer Simon Nichol. “Those on the single are professional musicians themselves so this is something by musicians for musicians.”

You can watch the ensemble video in full below, which reunites the song’s writer Richard Thompson with his old Fairport band mates as well as drummer Dave Mattacks who drummed on the Liege And Leaf album which featured Meet On The Ledge.

Also featured are Rosalie Cunningham, Clannad singer Moya Brennan and a host of singer songwriters from the folk world including Ralph McTell, Chris and Kellie While, Martin Joseph, Emily Barker, Maddie Morris, Rob Allum of Turin Brakes and more.

The festival’s finale would’ve seen most of the line-up joining Fairport on stage to sing Meet On The Ledge at Fairport’s annual three-day festival at Cropredy in Oxfordshire in August 2020. The idea of creating a virtual replacement for this ensemble performance came from BBC Radio Oxford producer Will Banks who invited the musicians to film themselves performing to a guitar guide track. The resulting videos were stitched together to form a high-quality audio and video stream which was first broadcast on Radio Oxford on Saturday 15 August.

Emily Barker “Where Have the Sparrows Gone?”

The reflective song looks outside an apartment window and imagines a post-apocalyptic, birdless London; sensitively directed by Tom Jacob, the video focuses on a family’s search for closure as a powerful metaphor for the loss of species and destruction of natural environments.

“Over the last few decades the Sparrow has gone from being one of the world’s most common and widespread birds to being Red Listed as a species of high conservation concern,” Emily reflects. “When writing the song, my thoughts returned to the sparrows outside my window – how sad it would be to look out and not see and hear their vibrant movement and chatter. I hope that day never comes.”

Of the video she adds:

“The lyrics for ‘Where Have The Sparrows Gone?’ tell the post apocalyptic tale of a mother and child fleeing a devastated London to find a safer place to be. Rather than trying to portray the whole story in a short video, we decided to focus in on one verse: “Ashes in my pocket / I’ll scatter them when we stop / He loved to be by water / Down where the waves bow and buck”, which tells a story within a story. We don’t know exactly what happened to the father, but we know he is no longer there. As they flee, the mother and child make a detour to the ocean to scatter his ashes’” – FRUK