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Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.78 | 131 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Rebounding quickly after the death on drummer Lamble, L&L appeared less than six months after Unhalfbricking. With Mattacks on the drum stool, the band added Swarbrick on violin (he had appeared on previous albums of theirs). L&L with its very traditional-type of artwork was an instant hits with the crowds pretty well everywhere the album was released. I must say that it's a great improvement on their Dylan/Cohen/Mitchell-esque previous albuus, as the group finally found their way, following Traffic's footsteps into renting out a cottage to write the album (remember Genesis and Zep Bron Y Aur things??) and it shows.

Although L&L is considered by many the ultimate British folk rock album, it's typically the type of album that I don't think should be regarded as progressive as in prog. Sure the electrified usual folk became folk rock, which was a progression in itself, and the band had excellent interplay skill, it simple was not "prog" in the manner this site makes it out to be, because the group mostly modernized standard by electrifying them. Even in the longer tracks Matty Groves or Tam Lin, where the band develops excellent interplay and lengthy solos, the group settles into a groove and maintains steadily (tam is in 5). Outside that, we have a delicious rendition of the trad Reynardine (the arrangements are brilliant but have been heard before), a much less interesting sing-along Come Ye' All and the 4-)jigs medley (not really what I call useful, it can even be seen as a filler) and a good Deserter version. Getting back to Groves and Lin, both tracks are the clear highlights of this album showing FC's brilliance both virtuoso and in intra-group tightness. On the other hand the band's few original songs are rather few and not exactly shining, with the afore mentioned Come Yea All, Thompson's Farewell (heard somewhere before, or since) and Crazy Man Michael lacks the touch to become real pouignant tune, partly because of conservative songwriting.

The remastered version boasts two bonus tracks, the second of which makes the price of upgrading worth it. Indeed after an average Sir Patrick (a preview of the FH next album), we are offered a cover of Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood, which is to rank with the groups' series of mini-epic life Sloth, Groves or Sailor. It's easy to see why L&L is generally picked out by fans as their best album, and there are indeed plenty of arguments in its favour, but even FC's best album pale in comparison to any of Pentangle's early albums. IMHO, of course.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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