Dave Swarbrick, violinist for the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention, died today at age 75. He was a guest performer on their 1969 album Unhalfbricking and became a full-time member on Liege & Lief later that year. Both albums are masterpieces of the British folk-rock revival, two of the greatest LPs of all time. The Guardian reports:
Swarbrick made the fiddle a lead instrument alongside Thompson’s guitar, and immediately the two men were writing songs together. Swarbrick provided the tune for Crazy Man Michael, and the partnership resulted in classic Fairport songs – Walk Awhile, Sloth and Now Be Thankful. But when Denny, Thompson and Ashley Hutchings left the band, Dave found himself lead singer, main instrumentalist and songwriter. The influence of Lloyd and Carthy can be seen in the traditional songs that Dave brought to the band, while his early days playing with Marriott supplied many of the tunes.
Swarbrick suffered from hearing loss and emphysema for several years, but he performed up until 2014. Read the full obituary here. Also, click the jump for some fantastic examples of Swarbrick's work, including Fairport Convention's interpretation of English folk songs "A Sailor's Life" and "Matty Groves." RIP, Swarb. Thanks for the fiddle.