Dave Pegg has been in the music business for more than 50 years. He started out on the Birmingham pop scene in the middle of the 1960s, first as a guitarist then turning to bass. He played in various groups with people like Steve Gibbons and John Bonham. He then was invited to join the Ian Campbell Folk Group, learning the double bass for the task. But contrary to popular belief, he was not in the group while Dave Swarbrick was a member.
Going back to electric music, Pegg auditioned for a number of groups, like the Foundations, but it was Fairport Convention that picked him up to fill the vacant seat after Ashley Hutchings left the group. Pegg says the group’s music suited his style of playing and after the folk excursion he felt he knew both rock and folk. The rest is history, as people say, and now he is FC’s longest serving member, even though he for a long period played in both FC and Jethro Tull.
In Off the Pegg Dave tells his story to Nigel Schofield, who has written a number of books about Fairport and past members. Basically the books consists of Dave Pegg talking to Schofield’s recording machine, with the co-author putting in comments to bridge any gaps in the narrative.
But remember, this is Pegg’s memoirs, not a biography. It does not follow a strict time line, and it does not claim to cover every aspect of the bass man’s career. Sometimes the same story is repeated and there is a lot of side-tracking.
Dave Pegg has done a lot through his life and through the book you get an insight to what happened, how it happened and why. Everything is told in good spirits — Pegg is not one to slag off others. Of course secrets are revealed, but do not read it to find scandals.
The main focus is Fairport of course, but there is also a lot about the Cropredy Festival and a chapter about Pegg’s time with Jethro Tull. Pegg also often comes back to his early days and his connection to various stars from Birmingham, Robert Plant being a very special friend.
It is one of those books you find hard to put away once you have started reading. Exciting and easy to read, it is highly recommended to anyone with a interest in Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull or folk rock in general. And if you are a Led Zeppelin fan or like Janis Joplin there are also bits that may interest you. The index of people mentioned in the book alone covers five pages! So get your copy ASAP.