She Moves through the Fair - Fairport Convention


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb43-Q70olM

if you don't believe me about the influence of the legendary Jefferson Airplane on the equally legendary UK folk rock pioneers Fairport Convention, check out "She Moves Through the Fair" released just over a year after "White Rabbit". But Fairport have taken it a lot further. Four minutes fourteen seconds of mesmeric beauty from the Fairport's classic breakthrough LP "What We Did on Our Holidays", seemingly drenched in luscious greenery and ancient sunlight from first to last.

But the story is much darker than this: it's a ghost story.

The first two verses recall a moment in the fair where the narrator's lover muses on their forthcoming marriage, but maybe the possible objections that she dismisses came into play after all, as by the third and last verse she is "my dead love" so that Denny's beautiful singing becomes, literally, a haunting vocal. This is an old Irish folk song but the rhythms are classical Indian, accentuating the unworldly feel to the whole sound

"My young love said to me "My mother won't mind and my father won't slight you for your lack of kind" and she laid her hand on me and this she did say "Oh, it will not be long, love, till our wedding-day"..."

so that, on second listening you realise the whole piece is a haunting, that she haunts him, and neither he nor she can ever move on; there is a premonition of this in the beautifully poetic second verse, as she floats from stall to stall in the fair and then is compared to a solitary star, and the white ghostlike swan, famous for its faithfulness to its mate.

"...and she went away from me and moved through the fair and fondly I watched her move here and move there

and then she went onward, just one star awake like the swan in the evening moves over the lake...."

Then the heartbreaker, with Denny proving that where passion is concerned, in folk singing especially, less can be more:

"Last night she came to me, my dead love came in, so softly she came that her feet made no din and she laid her hand on me and this she did say: "Oh, it will not be long, love, till our wedding-day"....."