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Fairport Convention - Babbacombe Lee - Live Again CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Fairport's one and only concept album gets an upgrade in quality. Babbacombe Lee is Fairport Convention's studio album from 1971 that tells the true story of a convicted English murderer that escapes both death and his the prison sentence when he survives three attempts by the state to hang him. A macabre tale, without a doubt, that is largely successful for the way the group jammed in so much narration and exposition into the album's songs without coming off sounding the least bit verbose and, more importantly, pretentious.

What adds quality to this superlative album is that new member Chris Lesley, who takes over the vocal duties for the late Dave Swarbrick, is a much more accomplished vocalist and easily displays emotion without the near straining vocal efforts of Swarbrick. And founding member and guitarist Simon Nicol's voice has grown into a wonderful baritone over the years and adds even more great vocals to mix. Bassist Dave Pegg's adequate voice has remained just that. adequate. But the improvements in recording technology, even if live, is so improved over what the studio could offer 40 years ago and really lets all of the vocal and musical nuances of this fine work really shine. Ric Sanders drops his octive splitting electronics for more conventional fiddle playing while drummer Gerry Conway's subtle but tasteful drum fills really bolsters the songs.

Once again, the songs "John Lee", "Little Did I Think", "The Sailor's Alphabet", "Breakfast In Mayfair" (which might be Nicol's best ever penned number, about a trivial look at the morning news), "Trial Song", "Cell Song" and the spacey "Dream Song" are the standouts and remain some of the best original songs (save the trad. "Sailor's Alphabet") the group has ever composed over their long and storied career.

If you were a fan of the old studio album, then do yourself a favor and pick this one up. 4 stars

SteveG | 4/5 |


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