Swarbrick, Dave & Nicol, Simon - In The Club,
After the demise of Fairport Convention in 1979 it was no surprise that singer/guitarist Simon Nicol and fiddler extraordinaire Dave Swarbrick would continue their working relationship and hit the folk clubs as a duo. ‘In The Club’, the first of three albums they recorded, was originally released on cassette in 1982 before being reissued on CD in 2001, and now reissued again by Talking Elephant. Initially the album contained eleven songs recorded at Woodworm, but that has been extended by also including two songs performed as part of Richard Digance & Friends on Capitol Radio in 1981, one song from Stratford Festival in 1984 and two from Faringham Folk Club in 1983. This reissue also contains sleeve notes from Simon, and has been released as a digipak.
Although much of the album is instrumental, there are also some “songs”, probably the highlight of which is a stunning version of “The Widow Of Westmoreland’s Daughter”, which shows that Simon is a far finer guitarist than he is often given credit for. This, like some of the other numbers, is a traditional song that Fairport had recorded, and while the whole album is made of up of traditional folk there are others that had been recorded by Fairport as well as some by Swarb. For any fan of English folk or Fairport Convention this album is simply essential, capturing two of our finest exponents of the genre doing what they did best. I wasn’t aware of this album at the time, but to be able to finally hear it is just sheer delight.