the advertisements for fairport convention's epoch-making fourth album ran: "the first (literally) british folk rock lp ever." while that's not (literally) true, 'liege and lief' created the template for all subsequent recordings in that style. it also represented a catharsis for the band, which reconvened after a traumatic road accident that killed drummer martin lamble. once again focused and with redoubtable folk fiddler dave swarbrick now permanently involved, fairport threw themselves into the electrification of ballads, myths, and rollicking jigs. the results were both innovative and stimulating. the union was blessed. if you sat down and tried to imagine a dream folk-rock band, it still would not match the potential here. from the lusting pace of 'matty groves' to the tender cooing of 'crazy man michael,' sandy denny's voice and richard thompson's virtuosic guitar are the perfect conduits for this milestone, which has been imitated a thousand times, but never equalled.