A Sailor’s Life was recorded by Fairport Convention in 1968 and marks the transition of the group from a pale copy of the American West Coast sound to an original and innovative re-interpreter of British folk songs. At the time of the recording the lead guitarist, Richard Thompson, and the singer, Sandy Denny, had been with the group a matter of months, and the fiddler Dave Swarbrick had yet to join the group on a full time basis. The track was recorded in a single take, but is for me as good an example of the sublime interaction between these three as you will find (and not to forget the contribution of bassist Ashely Hutchings, guitarist Simon Nicol, and drummer Martin Lamble). Read more at the You Tube link. Put on your headphones, turn up the volume, and expand the video to full screen to enjoy the excellent accompanying graphics. This is in my opinion an exceptional piece of music by any standards.
Whilst researching the background to the Fairport version, I also found this fine interpretation by Sheila Chandra. Very different, with some interesting parallels: