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Fairport Convention - What We Did On Our Holidays CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.60 | 86 ratings

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3 stars It's an evolution in sound, but who cares? Evolving from generic, timid, 1960's folk rock to well written, generic, 1960's folk rock isn't the grandest leap I've seen...

Fairport Convention - What We Did On Our Holidays (1969)

Overall Rating: 9


Hey, at least the melodies are stronger this go around, and the band doesn't wanna use typical psychedelic pop rock standards on which to base every other track on in some post-love gobbledygoo. No, this time around, there's...still no distinct personality, just the tunes are written more interestingly, ya dig? What am I getting at, then? Is Fairport Convention's second album a smash success? Hell no! Is it good? I don't know. It's alright, I suppose. What are you looking at me for, anyway? Eh, that's too many questions, and I'm afraid we've only got time for one answer, and that answer is:

Fotheringay is really neat folking. It's pretty in the direct sense of the word, and I really like it! Wot's 'at? It's about as dangerous as a wet noodle wrapped around a bubble farm? Sorry, chaps, I can't but be harsh on account of me needing something more engaging. I don't wanna fall asleep, especially not if it means missing the lame friggin' boogie of "Mr. Lacey", which is just silly, can we agree to agree that the song is nothing more than a silly waste of our time? Let's move on for the love of dirt!

The primary difference between this and their debut is that the boring moments are less boring, and the pretty moments are prettier. It's about as simple as that, no kidding. This makes the previous CD absolutely inessential, even if you don't even need this sucker, right here. Why then do I give them the same mediocre rating? Well, they're both mediocre, duh! I just prefer good mediocrity to mediocre mediocrity, see? "Book Song" is laid back and Thompson's then-unknown guitar fireworks lace us up a bit for some fun, while the following gospel styled roots crooning of "The Lord Is In The Place" just doesn't do a damned thing for me. It doesn't go anywhere, and the melody is practically non-existing. Who am I kidding, there ain't no melody there for miles, bub.

You'll be able to guess how each song will end by the first fifteen to twenty seconds, I swear. There might be accordeon romps with hand claps galore, but it never takes off or rocks my world, and I'm in need of a good world rocking. The only song that doesn't follow suit happens to be the only worthwhile song on the entire record. I'm speaking of the majestic, energetic, and flowing "I'll Keep It With Mine", which has Sandy Denny's most captivating vocal performance, where she swells during the chorus and carries the song with a fine melody. It's not a masterpiece, no, but it's good anyway. On second thought, I'll probably never listen to any of this stuff again. Feel free to go wank it to Let It Bleed, or something. There's nothing else to see here.

Or is there? No, everything is incessantly predictable, painfully generic, and overtly trivial for such a productive year like 1969. The record picks up steam with some real gem melodies on the final stretch, particularly on the haunting Nottoman Town, but it's a case of too little, too late, and it can't save the album from falling into mere contented boredom, which is what I hate most about any given record. As a study piece, the last half of side two seems to be a large point in the direction they'd take in the future, and meager violins pop up from time to time. By and large, though, it's just another product of an era, and not even a daring one, at that. At least our twiddling diddlers would move onto actually expanding their sound and vision later on, even if they're no Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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