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Percy’s Song

[ Roud - ; DT PERCYSNG ; Mudcat 95653 ; Bob Dylan]

Bob Dylan wrote Percy’s Song in about 1964 but released by himself only in 1985 on Biograph. Is was recorded much earlier by Fairport Convention; the first time in January 1969 with Sandy Denny and Ian Matthews for their Unhalfbricking album. This track was later re-released on the double CD compilation Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years 1967-1975. It is one of the most brilliant renderings of Sandy, as her emotion gradually changes “from moodiness to compassion to outright fury” against “the impassive Kafkaesque judge”. (Both citations from Patrick Humphries’ Fairport biography “Meet on the Ledge”)

Fairport Convention’s second recording was on 18 March 1969 in The Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, for the Top Gear / John Peel radio show and broadcast on 6 April 1969 with a repeat on 4 May 1969. The radio track was released on both Heyday CD versions, but not on the cassette, and on the Fairport unConventioNal 4CD set. (The latter’s notes claim this to be both an Unhalfbricking out-take from a rehearsal tape and a 1968 BBC session, but it is clearly the same Top Gear recording as on Heyday though of worse quality.)

Both versions feature organ (Sandy Denny?) and dulcimer (Richard Thompson); Richard also plays electric guitar on the studio version. Ian Matthews joins Sandy for vocals on the studio version which is the only track with him on Unhalfbricking. As he had left Fairport by the time the radio version was recorded, Richard, Simon Nicol and Ashley Hutchingssing backing vocals.

Another live recording from Cropredy 1983 with Cathy Lesurf was released on the cassette The Boot - 1983 Fairport Reunion.


Please find the lyrics for this song at Bob Dylan’s website.