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Fairport Convention - Full House CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.61 | 63 ratings

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2 stars Without Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention seemed to be having a bit more fun, just 5 chaps, 3 of whom happen to be named Dave, getting together and trying out a few originals and traditionals. Yet one of the essential flaws in even the best Fairport lies in how they can simultaneously sound spontaneous and rote. You've got your instrumental medleys, your traditional songs, your Swarbrick-Thompson collaborations and your "epic", all spaced out appropriately and played with a passionless virtuosity and little melodic instinct. I know Joe Boyd is considered an elite producer but I don't feel he did a good job playing up the group's strengths and cloaking their weaknesses, even given the limitations of the technology of the day.

Side 1 of the original vinyl is the more promising, with the excellent "Walk Awhile" kicking things off, brandishing an arsenal of instrumentation in an ensemble singalong. "Dirty Linen" is good as these type of things go, particularly when acoustic and electric guitar work is matched and syncopated by the rhythm section. "Sloth" is another Fairport monstrosity that simply doesn't equal those on "Liege", as without Denny they are just a bunch of tipsy boys railing together. It's not bad but not very entertaining or memorable, and certainly not progressive in any real sense.

For the rest, only "Sir Patrick Spens" is especially noteworthy, reminding me of what the now departed Hutchings would do with the Albion Band. The subsequent medley is unwelcome and VERY long, while "The Flowers of the Forest" is an interminable 4 minute dirge.

Fairport Convention possessed all the qualities necessary to assume the mantle of British folk rock supremacy, and in the view of many they achieved this end. Yet even the oft regarded classic "Full House" has plenty of "room" for improvements.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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