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Fairport Convention - Gladys' Leap CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.16 | 15 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars "How many times do you have to fall before you end up walking?"

Glady's Leap was the first Fairport Convention album in seven years and it started a new chapter in the band's long history. Even if I think that the previous two albums, Tippler's Tales and Bonny Bunch Of Roses, were both good, I would say that the band had lost its way as far back as in 1973 with the weak and disappointing Rosie album. In the light of that the present album constituted not only a return to the scene, but a return to form. Glady's Leap was the first of a series of albums in the same style that included albums like Red And Gold, Five Seasons, Jewel In The Crown, Who Knows Where The Time Goes? and Over The Next Hill over the rest of the 80's, the 90's and into the 00's (the exception being Expletive Delighted! which is all instrumental). If you like one of these albums there is no reason you should not like the others - they're all good! But the present album is not the best of them.

The great fiddler Ric Sanders played here with the band for the first time and the rest of the band is Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks. Richard Thomson plays guitar on one track (Head In A Sack) and Cathy Le Surf sings lead vocals on another (My Feet Are Set For Dancing). The material is mostly not the band's own but written by outsiders. However, Dave Pegg provides the first two parts of the Instrumental Medley '85 where the second part gives the album its title. The story behind the title is this. There was a female post man in Cranham, a village near Stroud in Gloucestershire, England whose name was Gladys Hillier. To save a two mile walk, she used to jump across a stream on her round. In 1977 the spot where she used to jump was named in her honour and became Glady's Leap.

The most similar of the albums I mentioned above is probably Red And Gold, but Glady's Leap does not have the highs and lows of that album. The first five tracks are by far the best while the last three are a bit less interesting. Still, this is a good and rather typical Fairport album. We have here Folk songs made in Rock style with electric and acoustic instruments. Most of the vocals are by Simon Nicol.

This album is recommended to anyone interested in this period (from 1985 till today) of the band's career, which in many ways is their best and certainly their most consistent period! For Prog Folk fans, this period of Fairport Convention is well worth investigating.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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