Updated Dec 2012
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August 24th 1968.
Fleetwood Mac at the park © Stephen Burrows
Family © Euge Gannon
( see bigger versions at his flickr site)
The third concert of the first summer season. This would have been a great line-up . All these groups could deliver , most especially Fleetwood Mac, Family and Fairport. If I'd have lived in London I would have been at this one without a doubt.
Alvin Lee of Ten Years After dangles a mic to pick up the drum solo © Alan Grange
Graham Howard recollects :At the time Family were an extremely potent unit. At the height of their powers, with sax player Jim King and gonzo vocalist Roger Chapman, they were fit to tear down the house on a good night . Playing songs from their fabulous psychedelic masterpiece " Music From A Dolls House " this would have been a set to see .
Definitely Leicester's finest product ever!
© D Moore
I went to two Hyde Park free concerts in 1968 - Roy Harper apart they had very little in common.Saturday 24th August was my first ever free concert of any kind though I had paid to go to the magnificent Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival the preceding summer. I was 17 in 1968, into music and occasionally attending London clubs like The Marquee, travelling up by train from Watford. Stuart gave me a lift to Hyde Park and if memory serves me right, I borrowed my sister’s mascara to beef up my fledgling moustache. This concert was in the Cockpit on a sunny afternoon, featuring a very varied and contemporary line-up: I saw Ten Years After, Peter Sarstedt (Eden Kane’s brother?), Fleetwood Mac, guitarist Stefan Grossman, Fairport Convention, Roy Harper and Family. The audience was relaxed, music great and the afternoon was generally imbued with 1967’s love and peace. My diary entry read: “Really fantastic and enjoyable. I’m so glad things like this can happen”.
© C Curtiss
My recollection is that Ten Years After came on and did a John Mayall number(?) which lasted for their whole set, with the obligatory solos. Fleetwood Mac were brilliant, Fairport were Fairport, but because the Blues scene was so strong then, I had little affinity with them or Roy Harper but really woke up to the sound that day. Family were demented or rather Roger Chapman was! but what a performance.
I cannot remember one thing about Eclection.
It was a culture shock to see so many "cool" people in one place, with all the trimmings of the anglo-hippy culture, contrasting with the wanabees like me. I remember seeing this really tall Black guy with an afro that out afro'd Jimi Hendrix, the bubbles and the bollocking I got off my girlfriend's Dad because I had bought a Day-Glo badge that stated, "I was a Virgin."
I remember attending this concert, clutching my brand new copy of 'undead' by Ten Years After, which had just been released. As it was one of the earlier concerts that was held in the cockpit the view was pretty good from wherever you were seated, and it was a sunny day as well, what more could you ask. Ten Years After played first as they had to get away early to reach another gig on time, I don't remember what they played only that it was good. I believe that Fleetwood Mac played next it being one of their first gigs with Danny Kirwin in the band also an excellent set. The running order of the rest of the acts is a bit vague although I did enjoy Fairport and Family. Eclection, I don't remember them playing so I probably didn't go to much on them.
Roy Harper was the compare for the whole show as well as doing his own set, who can forget the immortal line "a Chinese wrestlers jockstrap cooked in chip fat on a sunny day". Other acts that seem to have missed a mention that also played: Stefan Grossman (acoustic blues guitarist) and Peter Sarstedt (of 'Where do you go to my lovely' fame) both did short sets and the whole show, for those who stayed to the bitter end, was finished by a typical shambolic set by the Social Deviants, overall it was a great day, with some great music and some good vibes.
Wonderful Archive. Here are some notes from my diary.
A very beautiful afternoon started by Ten Years After with some really mindbending instrumental work..original lead guitar playing by Alvin Lee..In one number he ran through excerpts from half a dozen blues classics, with a different voice for every one.
Next came a minor folk act, somebody Salstead (actually pre-fame Peter Sarstedt) whose best offering in an otherwise titter-raising set was 'I am a Cathedral in the Night'.
Fleetwood Mac with new four guitar line-up did some pretty pure blues..'Need your love so bad' 'Dust my Blues / Believe my Time ain't long'.
Stefan Grossman popped up from nowhere to do a few very nice acoustic items, including 'Mississippi Blues.
Next came Fairport Convention, the best act of the day, I thought. Judy Dyble replaced by Sandy Denny, who is even better. Their entire beautiful offering to this unbelievable concert was Tim Buckley's 'Morning Glory', their dramatic percussive version of 'Suzanne', the novelty 'If it feels good it can't be wrong' and the Richard Farina classic 'Reno Nevada'.
Compere Roy Harper was up next. I agreed with almost nothing he said, but he sings it so well!..from the sardonic 'Nobody's got any money in the Summer' to the pretty 'Composer of Life' to the powerful 'She's the One' and 'I hate the White Man'. Quite brilliant!
Family are a five man rock orchestra. They played 'See Through Windows' 'The Voyage' and a twenty minute version of 'A Song for Me '..could have sounded very self indulgent on record, but undead in the Park it was an exciting and agreeable noise!
We left during The Deviants set. I think Eclection came on after that, which is perhaps why no-one remembers their set!
Although not at this concert , long time Fairport fan Scott N Miller has this to say about the Fairport set list
The post above explains why I don't remember too much about the first time I saw RT, with Fairport---they only did four songs (three of which were moody pieces by American songwriters). I do remember that singers Ian Matthews and Sandy Denny were positioned on opposite ends of the stage, with the instrumentalists (including a very shaggy-haired lead guitarist) between them, so there was no obvious lead singer. I believe that on these four songs the vocals were equally shared. It's interesting that none of these four songs was officially recorded by Fairport for an album (though they're all now available in live versions on CD).
I'm amused to realize that the first RT song (well, a co-write with Ashley Hutchings----shades of the pre-FC Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra?) that I heard him perform live was the mock-jug-band-style "If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong," a kind of humorous dig at the hedonism of the 60s. The title, of course, is far afield from RT's philosophy. As OH said of recording "The Bunch," "It was the kind of thing that was fun to do---but then so what, what's fun got to do with anything?" And "If It Feels Good...." was the most upbeat number of this short Hyde Park gig.
Song sources for this set: "Reno, Nevada," was on Richard and Mimi Farina's mostly acoustic 1965 album "Celebrations For A Grey Day." Humphries states that Fairport learned "Suzanne" from Leonard Cohen's debut album, released in the UK in February 1968, but the song was already well known through Judy Collins' version on her 1966 album "In My Life."
Tim Buckley's song "Morning Glory" was co-written with poet Larry Beckett and was on Buckley's 1967 classic LP "Goodbye and Hello." There's a very oblique connection with the Fab Four here, as "Goodbye and Hello" was one of the few albums to be displayed at Apple's short-lived clothes boutique on Baker Street (which I used to ride by every weekday on the way to school on a London double decker bus route from Marble Arch to Regents Park). I presumed that G&H was a favourite album of the Beatles. The Apple boutique was not a commercial success, and the Beatles closed it by having all the merchandise given away free, which led to some tremendous lines on Baker Street.
For the lyrics to "Morning Glory," a real doom-and-gloomer that describes an enigmatic and ominous encounter with a hobo, see the Tim Buckley archives
As Ashley Hutchings recalled, "I remember very clearly the turnover of material around 1968 was incredible. We would learn new songs and perform them onstage almost weekly.....The material that we got through was incredible." Music journalist John Platt said, "I can remember seeing them at that free concert in Hyde Park in 1968 and being very impressed by the way they handled American material like 'Reno, Nevada' and 'Suzanne.' "
And as RT remembers that period: "We were very lyric conscious as a band---we thought Dylan was very cool, and Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, that kind of stuff. We were very into lyrics and the place to find the good singer-songwriters at that time was America. We did some pop stuff. It was a very eclectic mixture at the start. You could say we didn't have a direction except that it was kind of folk-rock, or soft-rock in the American sense, and we liked lyrics."
Oh, for the days when Fairport were doing lots of outstanding material by many relatively unknown American songwriters.
Scott N. Miller
Peter Sarsted was definitely there, he played while 10 years after's setup was being finished. At first he was well-ishly received but encouraged by that ,would not stop when 10 years after was ready to play. They were the band we went to see just returned in triumph from America. He eventually was persuaded off i think his mike was switched off but cant be sure on that...
There is a recording of a portion of this show this consists of two tracks by Family " See Through Windows " and " The Breeze " and Fleetwood Mac's " Need Your Love So Bad " ). The taper was right down the front for this ( he's even on a photo that featured on a repackaged edition of the first two Family albums taken from this concert ). The recordings are quite reasonable, certainly listenable. More details to come soon regarding tracklisting when we've had a good listen to the recordings.
Concert reviews and info -1968-71
(These pages include large photogalleries of the concert, most especially King Crimson and Jack Bruce. )
Concert reviews and info -1974-76