Sometime this morning I was quietly listening to Tina Dico, following up on a recommendation made by Sean. And one of the tracks reminded me of a song by Sandy Denny on an album called Fotheringay, by a band with the same name. I was brought up staunchly Wodehousian, so I have no choice but to pronounce it Fungy :-). It’s one of my favourites, but it’s a strange album. Nothing before, nothing after. A collection of people who came together for a reason, made some beautiful music, and then went merrily on their way again.
My father’s lifetime was contained in one job. I will probably have seven. My children will probably have seven —- but in parallel, not like my sequential efforts.
As the cost of travel and communications continues to drop, and as social networking begins to impact our lives, I think we may see the same thing happen to bands. In my father’s time a musician belonged to one band. In my lifetime musicians belonged to seven. My children will see musicians belonging to seven bands at the same time.
So maybe we’ll see many Fotheringays. A group of people who come together for a small number of sessions, do one album and move on. I tend to think of Fotheringay as an “orphan album”, in the sense that it doesn’t connect easily to a single other artist or group.
I have many albums. Very few of them are orphans. In fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of three others:
I can hear the purists screaming already. How dare you mention Fotheringay and On The Road To Freedom in the same breath as Blind Faith and Super Session? Relax, take it easy. What the four have in common is their orphan status, there’s something very-individual-yet-everything-is-miscellaneous about them. If I was forced to be pedantic I would give Blind Faith and Super Session a whole category to themselves.
Of course, there are other albums that share this characteristic. They’re called live concerts for a purpose. So my Woodstock and my Concert for Bangladesh are orphans as well, except that I can classify them as concert albums.
Do any of you have favourite non-concert orphan albums?