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Fairport Convention - 'Babbacombe' Lee CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.71 | 51 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars By the time FC came on with this album, most of the notable front persons of the band had left (Denny, Hutchings, Thompson and Matthews, Lamble, also more tragically) but Fairport kept on putting high standards record (look at this is a relative way from a proghead view) although not really reaching the heights of Liege or Full House. It was not for lack of trying as the remaining foursome (three of them will later play with Jethro Tull in the 80's) and only Simon Nicoll from the original line-up (this his last album, too as he will found the Albion Country Band) composing a concept album as their seventh record. Most fans will agree that this is the last classic album from Fairport, and I will agree too. Many fine moments on this record and maybe the most dramatic ones in all of FC's career in the lenghty closing chapter, this might just be the best description of a raconteur-troubadour folk rock has produced.

The concept is about a character John "Babbacombe" Lee's tribulations from the navy to jail and unjustifiably accused of murder of lovers, condemned to death penalty, escape etc. The first two chapters (we cannot speak of tracks here a 6 and 10 min long respectively) speak of the happier and "lawful" days of the hero, while the much shorter third chapter starts out with the brutal description of a murder and tells you how the hero gets accused. A rather duller 7-min fourth chapter represents the prisoner's lament but, as mentioned previously, the final chapter provides a loadful of drama and an increasingly tense and haunting climate regularly interrupted by verses and choruses. Clearly the album's highlight.

Musically, we are dealing with usual Fairport sound that remains somewhat constant that even the continuous personnel changes cannot change. Meandering between its fair share of jigs, Celtic ballads and their usual folk rock, one cannot say that this record is anything else than a worthy Fairport album as all of the preceding ones were.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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