Full House: Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol at Sound Techniques

Simon Nicol kindly stopped off at The Part’s You Don’t Hear London headquarters to chat about his many accomplishments at Sound Techniques, Chelsea. Simon, guitarist alongside Richard Thompson and founder alongside Ashley Hutchings was just 17 years of age when recording the self titled debut Fairport Convention (1968) album produced by Joe Boyd and engineered by John Wood. This marked the beginning of an intense educational journey in recording which eventually led to him co-Producing and Producing albums from 1971 onwards in the very same studio in which he felt so at home.

As with Linda Thompson in our recent interview, Simon would also make use of the relaxed, friendly attitude at the studio and tended to hang out at other sessions including some of Nick Drake‘s with whom he was in awe of his unique guitar style and tunings, at one time lending him his beloved semi-solid Gibson guitar for a more jazzy vibe on the ensemble classic Poor Boy off Nick’s second album Bryter Layter (1971). Simon was also called in as a session player on Vashti Bunyan‘s rediscovered classic Just Another Diamond Day (1970), playing banjo on 3 tracks including the lovely Where I Like To Stand. After 7 albums with Fairport Convention, Simon joined his old friend and bandmate Ashley Hutchings in The Albion Country Band.

Simon cites the second Fairport Convention album but first with classic vocalist Sandy Denny, What We Did On Our Holidays (1969) as a personal favourite along with Full House (1970), their fifth album and first without a female vocalist and first with new bass player Dave Pegg (also interviewed recently). Incidently both Simon and Dave Pegg are the longest serving members of Fairport Convention who are busy as ever and are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the band this year with a series of concerts. We would like to thank Simon for taking the time to visit with us and share his memories for our epic tale of recording history which is The Part’s You Don’t Hear.

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