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Fairport Convention - The History Of Fairport Convention CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.91 | 20 ratings

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4 stars If you want a good introduction to the original incarnation of Fairport Convention, this compilation gives a pretty good overview of their fist seven albums and the celebrated line ups featuring Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson et al. It's of particular interest to prog fans because it also includes three extended tracks that justify defining them as prog folk.

Like the Byrds, Fairport were constantly evolving and mutating. They started off with lots of covers of Dylan songs and the like plus a smattering of their own material, but only really found their feet with their excellent third album Unhalfbricking. This included the lengthy A Sailor's Life, a traditional folk song plugged into the mains and played as a semi psychedelic jam - Richard Thompson's lead guitar is remarkable. Liege and Lief saw them plunge headlong into folk rock, and the addition of violinist Dave Swarbrick added another dimension to their sound. Matty Groves was the stand out track, a Merrie England tale of lust, deceit, betrayal and murder in roughly that order. Their fifth album was recorded after the departure of vocalist Sandy Denny and featured another lengthy, proggy excursion in Sloth. Soon after that Richard Thompson also departed and the band recorded another two albums including the conceptual Babbacombe Lee, following which this compilation was released. The prog folk material aside, there's plenty to enjoy here, including the eccentric Dylan cover Si Tu Dois Partir (if You Gotta Go, Go Now in French) and Sandy Denny's beautiful ballad Who Knows Where The Time Goes.

There is only one track from the masterful Liege and Lief, and the first three songs are a bit forgettable, but this CD is excellent value and gives a good overview of Fairport's early career. Recommended.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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