Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Fairport Convention - Rising For The Moon CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Is it too late to change the way we're bound to go?

The late Sandy Denny's final album with Fairport Convention found her departing on a real high. This is almost entirely due to the final track, "One more chance" which is for me the finest thing either she or Fairport ever did. The song is truly a folk prog masterpiece. It opens with Denny's distinguished vocals delivering a delightful lyric. With such a powerful and emotional performance to conclude her career with the band you would think the track had served its purpose and the album concluded. But what follows is a quite stunning instrumental passage which gradually develops from an almost ambient start through violin and guitar passages to a soaring crescendo leading to the return of Denny's vocals, multi-tracked, to send the track on its way to those heavenly parts reserved for only the absolute cream of musical performance. I can only hope I have managed to convey a glimpse of the majesty of this song.

While the band clearly saved the best for last here, this is a highly competent and enjoyable album. The opening title track is an upbeat light folk rock number with a strong violin basis. Jolly is an appropriate word to describe this toe tapper, which, while hardly challenging, is well crafted and highly enjoyable. "White dress" is a soft reflective Swarbrick ballad sung by Denny, along the lines of "Who know where the time goes". Denny is writer or co-writer of a good number of the tracks here, Dave Swarbrick's overall contributions in particular being notably low key.

On the down side, it is just as well Denny is in such fine form, as what tracks there are by the other band members are variable at best. This may be down to the extended line up, with no less than seven Fairport stalwarts being present. Rather than leading to a meeting of the minds, this seems at times to dilute, not strengthen some of the other tracks. Both Trevor Lucas "Restless" and "Iron Man" are prosaic, and do not represent his undoubted talent well at all.

Musically, the album is one of Fairport's least folk influenced overall, being considerably heavier than usual. Even Denny's ballads are more akin to her solo work than her previous time with the band.

In all though, essential for the good tracks, especially the sublime "One more chance".

Sadly, Sandy Denny would never record with Fairport again. Her untimely death robbed the music world of one of its finest female voices.

Report this review (#76629)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A Mixed Bag

I must have bought Rising For The Moon soon after it was released in 1975 on LP, so for 30 years I have a) loved it and b) believed it to be an underrated classic until finally obtaining it on CD last year. I have to declare from the outset that, aside from this album, I find much of Fairport Convention's music somewhat uninspiring, this despite owning several of their albums at one time or another. I appreciate the part they played in creating English folk-rock in the late 60s, but they soon lapsed into a cosy middle-aged-spread blandness which continues to this day. For me, Rising For The Moon was a little oasis in these sands of mediocrity. And of course, the jewel in the crown is the glorious voice of Sandy Denny.

Viewed from the perspective of the noughties I can see that my memory was only partially correct. Some of this is fantastic - worthy inhabitants of any adult-compiled CDR. Sadly, it is equally true that the good is accompanied by the not-so-good, the originality-challenged seriously-deficient-in-ideas department of slow meaningless generic 'love' ballads. Let's get these out of the way first. White Dress is a pleasant slow love song. What Is True is a pleasant slow love song. After Halloween is a ..... non-descript parlour-band Denny ballad with a short Swarbric viola solo. So much for the dregs. A fourth Denny song is borderline OK - Stranger To Himself is saved by a hypnotic drum pattern and a far more original arrangement based on a one-note synth bass.

Next we find a group of 4 country-folk-rock songs, two from Swarbrick and 2 from Trevor Lucas [one of 3 ex-Fotheringay members, and Denny's husband]. Let It Go is a stripped-down laid-back chugger with a strong Swarbrick vocal [though his singing voice is an acquired taste!], on which he exhorts us to "let it breathe, let it live, let it go". Night-Time Girl is an up-tempo gently rocking song, very driven by Swarbrick's fiddle and some lush harmonies supporting his vocal. Lucas's pair are both about 'the railroad', lolloping country-rockers defined by his deep resonant voice and some astonishingly wonderful harmonising from Denny. I adore Restless, a song brilliantly evoking a mid-western hobo "born between a river and a railroad" hopping on and off trains because "there's something in the wind seems to call me like a friend / so I guess that I'll be on my way, on my way again". In Iron Lion he is an engine driver, a similar song with a rock-and-rolling accompaniment but a little less memorable.

Finally to the crème de la crème, the main reason why anyone would want to buy this album - 3 big Sandy Denny numbers with full-band arrangements. First up is the title track - Rising For The Moon - an up-tempo song with brilliant jogging rhythm, fantastic melody and an even better chorus, terrific fluid guitar and fiddle solos and some lovely meaty male harmonies. This is very much an 'up' song, a make-you-feel-better type of thing and one of my all-time favourites. It seems to be about her role as a musician in a band. Dawn is a melancholic ode to lost love where tears fall, hearts bleed and clouds storm on a barren land. It too gets the big band treatment, especially the chorus of massed-Dennys wanting to "sleep .... oh to sleep in peace once again". One More Chance has Denny "calling all olive branches and laid off doves" to piano accompaniment on a lilting song with gentle band support. But then she asks "is it too late?" and invokes a darker mood altogether in a 'middle-8' section. So far so alright-ish, and the song fades ..... but very quietly, a rhythm guitar can be heard. Gradually the band return for a rousing rock coda mostly featuring electric guitar, before building to a climax with the "is it too late?" refrain.

Rising For The Moon is unloved by many Fairport Convention fans - probably because it has 3 distinct styles and very little folk. Neither do the band themselves hold it in high regard - much of it has the air of a Sandy Denny solo album, and the band weren't gelling as a unit [Denny and Lucas left in December 1975]. I saw them in concert that year and I have to say it was not amongst the most memorable.

A couple of good country-folk-rock tracks [geddit?], a couple of good soft rock songs and one absolute stomper, but a very low Prog quotient. The verdict - a) I still love it, but FFW over at least three songs b) no way a classic but OK. Three stars I think.

Report this review (#79902)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Sandy returns

Rising For The Moon is a very uneven album featuring some good material, but also some awful stuff. The country influence from the previous album is still there and it brings this album down. Also, there are no real jigs or reels! here, which is a large part of what I like about the band.

The songs sung by Sandy Denny are the better ones, the other songs are horrible. Dawn is in my opinion the best song here. Many reviewers have talked about the One More Chance track. To my ears it is just a half-decent power ballad. It takes more than a great guitar solo to make anything Prog!

Rising For The Moon is more of a Country rock album than a (Prog) Folk album. A decent album, but not really my cup of tea. Fairport Convention has made many far better - and for a Prog fan much more relevant - albums, both before and after this one.

Fans and collectors only.

Report this review (#177530)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This one should have been Fairport Conventions ticket back to the high life. It´s really a shame it wasn´t. All the effort to bring back Sandy Denny to the fold, and the recording company suggestion of ace producer Andy Johns to coordinate the whole project should do the trick. Sadly it did not. Johns was against the use of traditional material or covers, in a time they did a fantastic version of Dylan´s All along the Watchtower. Besides, Trevor Lucas did push their sound maybe a little too much into american styled country rock (the presence of yankee Jerry Donahue certainly did not help matters), which alienated much of their fan base. Or maybe the timing simply was not right.

Still, the music here is beautiful, with Denny delivering some of the best tunes and performances of her short career. Her and Lucas voices blend very well too. Songs like the title track, White Dress and One More chance are the highlights of this very good album. Production is a little slick, but it works. With time I´m sure Fairport Convention would find their feet and could take this line up very far. Alas, this was not meant to be, since Denny and Lucas would leave the band after the tour to promote it. Some people think it should have been a Sandy Denny album, but really it only takes a few spins to figure it is far better than most of her solo work. The magic was there, they just didn´t let it grow its debut (few) limitations.

All in all a very fine album, although not that much folk-ish. My rating would be something between 3,5 and 4 stars. I´ll round it up to four because I really love it.

Report this review (#2204672)
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | Review Permalink

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Rising For The Moon ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of FAIRPORT CONVENTION Rising For The Moon

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.