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Fairport Convention - Heyday BBC Radio Sessions 1968-1969 CD (album) cover


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3 stars Heyday is a very good album for the hardcore folk-fans, but this is not where to begin exploring F.C. if you're into the more progressive side of folk. Many of the songs exist in other versions on their other albums. At this early stage of their career the band didn't really stand out from other folk band, and they were too dependent on the Dylan and Cohen covers. Of course, there are some real highlight here, I like "Reno, Nevada" and "Close the door lightly...", but overall I think this album is a weak one compared to "Liege & Lief" and "Unhalhbricking". Don't get me wrong though, a F.C. album with this allstar line-up is NEVER bad. I see that the cd in this listing has a lot of bonus tracks, which my copy don't have. I can't say anything about these versions of the bonus tracks, but they shouldn't be a disappointment since the original versions are very nice. Three big stars!
Report this review (#63740)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Heyday" is a stellar compilation featuring Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny (IMHO, the best stage of this band's career), recorded at BBC. Originally released in 1987 and featuring only 12 tracks, this album was expanded to 20 on this CD re- release. These bonus tracks are important because they show Fairport's evolution to a folk rock band with more depth than the original 12 songs (which are closer to Fairport's first two albums). "I don't know where I stand" was featured at the band's first album, and it's interesting to compare Sandy Denny and Judy Dyble's versions. "Reno Nevada" and "Suzanne" (yes, Leonard Cohen's tune) were also released as bonus tracks at the first album, and although "Suzanne" shines here, "Reno Nevada" pales by comparison, since it lacks Thompson's guitar solo featured at the longer version available at the first album. "Fotheringay" and "Nottamun Town" came from "What We Did...", the second album (first with Sandy Denny), and these versions shows Fairport in a more relaxed way, simply playing for the good of it. "Si Tu Dois Partir", "Autopsy", "Cajun Woman" and "Percy's Song" all hail from "Unhalfbricking", and only "Cajun Woman" isn't up to the standards of the studio version. Finally, "Reynardine" and "Tam Lin" are staples from "Liege and Lief", Fairport's masterpiece, and both are simply wonderful. In sum, only 9 of the 20 tracks were released at the original versions, but almost all these new versions are pretty interesting. This makes "Heyday" a must to any Fairport Convention's aficcionado, and since it features a good overview of Sandy Denny's work with the band, will appeal to casual listeners too. Any prog-rocker interested in folk rock must give this album a good listen.
Report this review (#71157)
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars This BBC sessions collection might not just be a good intro to the prospecting proghead, since it concentrates on the shorter (and dare I say it, commercial) tracks with rather few traditional folk track but concentrating on a more American folk rock sound than usual.

One of the surprising highlights for the proghead is the Richard & Mimsy Farina Reno, Nevada cover with its great driving bass line and constant positive tension. Cohen's Suzanne and Bird On A Wire are also noteworthy. But the absence of longer tracks is really hurting the album and to make matters worse the track selection waits until the final track to give us Reynardine and Tam Lin. With the traditional Nuttamun Town, I just named the totality of tracks that can appeal to a proghead not particularly into Fairport.

Overall, what strikes about this collection is that it does not represent the more progressive or even more representative side of Fairport for that matter of fact. The many cover of contemporary artiste (Cash, Byrds, Dylan, Joni Mitchell and even Everly Bros covers are also on the menu) added to the lack of lenghty instrumental interplaying songs, just does not make this album a very good choice for the proghead. But if you are in Fairport, this might just be indispensable in your collection as this does show some unusual facets of the group, such as the Denny-penned Autopsy.

Report this review (#71863)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I guess this album is directed mostly to those who are interested of this band's material which was done with Sandy Denny. As a complete document this record is not as good as the two first studio releases from that time, but it has some interesting songs on it. I liked mostly the Leonard Cohen covers "Suzanne" and "Bird on A Wire", though there are some other nice tracks here too, like mesmerizing "I don't Know Where I Stand". Also the lighter and easier rolling tracks are all fine, though not maybe focusing to those characteristic which please me most. On the bonus track section "Fotheringay" and "Autopsy" are really great compositions, but these versions here aren't very astonishing when compared to the studio takes, giving however historical perspective both to their development and BBC radio broadcastings of the 1960's. Also the style of many songs are still closer to American folk than European traditional music, from where the focus moved later to tunes of Celtic musical heritage, and giving birth to the vivid personal sound when synthesizing these to the hippie rock manners of their heydays.
Report this review (#79061)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars We are here very close to a bland mainstream rock/country/blues that "Monsieur/Madame tout le monde" may like. Thus, I have a serious feeling of deja vu regarding the tracks. The record is less folky & refined than the first one: it is more straightforward country/rock/blues. I do not find the tracks really progressive. The overall music is pretty ordinary, I must admit: many times, the style really approaches a less catchy Fleetwood Mac's. It is a really not convincing record. My advice is that this compilation is not a good one. The country music dimension easily removes 1 star from the rating. I am disappointed since the version here of "I Don' t Know Where I Stand" has no longer a Rush's Caress Of Steel guitar style, so present on the first record. If you are a prog fan that do not like country and blues, then what you need is an anti-Heyday record, if you see what I mean...

Rating: 2.5 stars

Report this review (#124853)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permalink

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