A reissue of two albums originally released in the 70s, Saffron Summerfield’s Salisbury Plain / Fancy Meeting You Here! is a record full of passion and skill.
Summerfield is a musician of vast talent - she plays guitar like it was built for her, and is as at home with bottleneck blues style as with heavy strumming or gentle fingerpicking. Her voice is also very versatile, bringing life to her songs with the different styles she employs.
Opener Meet You There is a bright, upbeat track with guitar backing that initially appears simple, but quickly becomes more complex and climactic. It’s followed by the slightly anthemic Natural Life and then by the only traditional song on the album, The Dowie Dens O’ Yarrow.
Summerfield takes a completely different approach with this one, opening a capella and almost free-time before fading into gentle guitar fingerpicking. The breathy vibrato technique she uses to stretch out the end of the verses won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s very interesting and skilfully done.
Another standout song is the foot-tapping Francis Road Rag. The playing and singing here is so infectiously happy that it’s impossible not to have your spirits lifted by it. Summerfield also treats her listeners to an excellent rendition of Eleanor Rigby, full of mystery and anticipation.
This record is certainly not all bubbly and uplifting, though; Summerfield is fierce, impassioned and to the point in songs like I Won’t Stand Up and Passion for a Child. The title track of Fancy Meeting You Here is dark, nostalgic and something of a departure from the rest of the style, eschewing the guitar in favour of keyboards and strings.
Salisbury Plain / Fancy Meeting You Here! are two great albums that definitely stand the test of time.Sol Loreto-Miller
Re-released 11th of December 2015 on Talking Elephant Records. Originally released in 1974 (Salisbury Plain) and 1976 (Fancy Meeting You Here) on Mother Earth Music.
Recorded at Highbury Studios, London.
Produced by Saffron Summerfield.
Engineered by Curly Clayton.
All songs written by Saffron Summerfield and published by Mother Earth Music, except Dowie Dens O’Yarrow - trad arr. Saffron and Eleanor Rigby by Lennon/McCartney, Northern Songs.
1. Meet You There
2. Natural Life
3. The Dowie Dens O’Yarrow
4. Salisbury Plain
5. Francis Road Rag
6. The Sister of St Mildred
7. Will the Ploughman Ever Return
8. Six Years or More
9. A Little Dutch Toon
10. I Won’t Stand Up
12. Passion for a Child
14. Eleanor Rigby
16. Fancy Meeting You Here
18. Pictures in a Frame