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Fairport Convention Angel Delight album cover
3.05 | 45 ratings | 6 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lord Marlborough (3:21)
2. Sir William Gower (4:54)
3. Bridge Over The River Ash (2:12)
4. Wizard Of Wordly Game (4:05)
5. The Journeyman's grace (4:31)
6. Angel Delight (3:34)
7. Banks Of Sweet Primroses (4:12)
8. Instrumental Medley (3:25):
-The Cuckoo's Nest
-Hardiman The Fiddler
-Papa Stoor
9. The Bonny Black Hare (3:04)
10. Sickness & Diseases (3:47)

Total time 37:05

Bonus track on 2004 remaster:
11. The Journeyman's Grace (3:53) *

* Recorded for BBC Radio (broadcasting on 19 Nov 1970)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Swarbrick / lead (1,4,5,10,11) & harmony vocals, fiddle, viola, mandolin, Cuckoo pipe (8)
- Simon Nicol / elec. & acoustic guitars, viola (3), dulcimer (1,9), bass (9), lead (2) & harmony vocals
- Dave Pegg / bass, fiddle (3), viola (9), electric guitar (10), harmony vocals
- Dave Mattacks / drums, percussion, tambourine, bass (3), piano (4), harmony vocals, harmonium (uncredited, on 4?)

- Richard Thompson / guitar (11)

Releases information

ArtWork: Roberta Nicol

LP Island - ILPS 9162 (1971, UK)

CD Island Records - IMCD 166 (1993, UK)
CD Island - IMCD 307 (2004, UK) Remastered by Paschal Byrne w/ 1 bonus track

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FAIRPORT CONVENTION Angel Delight ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Angel Delight reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Heptade
3 stars If folk rock is prog, then all right, here we go... This was the first Fairport album without guitar genius Richard Thompson, who had also been singing a lot of the lead vocals on Full House. The lead guitar and vocal role was filled by Simon Nicol, who does a good job. None of the current members were strong vocalists, but they harmonize well, and their traditional music vocal technique is OK. There is no epic like "Sloth" and no guitar pyrotechnics, but fiddler Dave Swarbrick guides the band further than ever into folk/rock fusion on "Lord Marlborough", "Sir William Gower", "Banks of the Sweet Primroses" and the "The Bonny Black Hare", all of which benefit from fuzzy guitars and dulcimers and atmospheric fiddling. The originals are slight, but fun songs, similar to what the late 70s version of the group (featuring the same lineup sans drummer Dave Mattacks) would put out- long on humour, short on pretension. Not a step forward, not necessarily inventive, but a darn good time that fans of Fairport and Steeleye Span won't want to miss.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!

With Richard Thompson also gone (after Denny, Matthews and Hutchings), Fairport reconvened as a quartet and again managed another good album despite losing another strong songwriter: this last remark being relative since five of the ten tracks are traditional numbers (therefore confirming the direction Hutchings wanted them to go towards) and three other tracks are still penned by Thompson. The remaining tracks are normal folk rock in the US mould or a copy of the trad songs they cover.

To call this album progressive is an overstatement because even if the playing is outstanding and sometimes downright impressive, aside from two tracks, it never reaches the brilliance (or the intensity) of other groups like The Pentangle or Comus. If you are into jigs and square dances this album might just be for you, but if you are looking for adventure (even on familiar grounds) you might be best advised to look elsewhere, some tracks being a downright bore for the average proghead. Highlights for a proghead might include Bony Black Hare with its keen dronal ambiances and to a lesser extent Sir William Gower, but little else exciting. The lack of "progressiveness" of this album compared to the other Fairport albums is costing it one star. Sounds severe from me? Are you not yet used to it? ;-)

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "There's a hole in the wall where a lorry came in."

In the early 1970's, the members Fairport Convention decided that it was no longer practical for them to live in various parts of the UK and continue to work together. They therefore bought a disused pub ("The Angel") in the countryside about 30 miles north of London, and moved in together. The story goes that they originally decided against occupying the run down pub, but since Dave Swarbrick had already packed up and was heading for his new communal home, they had a rapid change of heart. By the way, the photograph on the front cover is not of The Angel but was taken nearby.

Along with the band members came their families and sundry crew. This resulted in two albums, "Full house" and "Angel Delight". Prior to the recording of "Angel Delight" Richard Thompson left the band to pursue his solo career, but the fact that he continued to live in the Angel is testimony to the convivial atmosphere enjoyed by all.

For this their fifth album, Fairport had slimmed down to a four piece, all male line up. Dave Swarbrick steered the band back towards a straight folk direction, with shorter traditional songs very much in evidence. The usual Fairport influences were applied to these songs though, in particular their fine vocal harmonies. Indeed, with four highly competent vocalists in their line up, those harmonies are probably the most under appreciated aspect of Fairport's music.

The album opens with Fairport's arrangements of a couple of traditional biographical portraits, one (reasonably) factual, the other fictitious. "Sir William Gower" may not actually have existed, but the murder and incest of which the story relates is disturbing nonetheless. Of similar dubious taste is the deceptively lightweight "Sickness & Diseases", which focuses on STDs. "The bonny black hare" on the other hand precedes the inevitable STD's with a less than subtle romp in the woods.

The title track offers a picture of life in The Angel, with virtually everyone who lived there getting a mention including bassist Dave Pegg, whose face will apparently light up when presented with a "Couple of kippers and a glass of cider".

While Dave Swarbrick tends to regularly assume lead vocal duties, these are shared among the other band members too, with Simon Nicol in particular contributing some strong work.

There are two instrumental pieces on the album. The title of the traditional melody "Bridge over the River Ash", (which flowed through the back garden of the pub) may change depending where the band perform ("Bridge over the River Nile" perhaps), but the tune remains the same. With three of the four band members performing on string section instruments, this is "classical folk" in its purest form. There is a complete absence of drums on this track. The other instrumental is one of Fairport's traditional medleys which features a Swarb recital using mandolin, fiddle and whistle.

The bonus track on the remastered CD is a version of "The journeyman's grace" featuring a guest appearance by co-writer Richard Thompson. The remaster also includes an excellent and highly informative booklet.

The album was the most successful release by the band up to that point, its ascent of the album charts prompting a bizarre appearance in the newly introduced "album slot" on Top of the Pops. For me, this is a masterpiece album, but given that it contains little in the way of prog folk, a solid four stars.

After the release of "Angel Delight" the band moved out of the Angel, prompted in no small part by the fact that a lorry lost control on the adjacent steep hill and crashed straight into Dave Swarbrick's bedroom, (as mentioned in the lyrics of the title track) killing the driver.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars This is one of the better Fairport albums. Unlike most other albums the emphasis is equally on the rock and the folk here. There are also more originals here than on the earlier albums were they mainly updated old English folk tunes.

A good thing about this album is that it sounds all British and not American like on latter albums. The country influences would later destroy albums like Nine and Rising For The Moon. But here and on the excellent follow up Babbacome Lee that had not happened yet.

I prefer Angel Delight and the even better Babbacome Lee to the earlier 60's albums as well.

I'll give this album three stars even if it is not really prog at all.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Angel Delight is the sixth studio album from UK folk rock act Fairport Convention. After Fairport Conventionīs fourth album Liege & Lief (1969) lead vocalist Sandy Denny ( and bassist Ashley Hutchings) left the band, and the remaining members where left to re-consider how they would carry on. They decided not to employ a new female vocalist and took on the vocal duties themselves which means that Fairport Conventionīs fifth studio album Full House (1970) has all male vocals. A pretty big change in their sound that also continues on Angel Delight.

The music is folk rock with an either melancholic ( not often) but mostly jolly mood. Lots of fiddle, guitar and mandolin. The vocals are much better than on Full House where I think it was obvious that it was the first time the singers had to be in front of a mike. Thereīs the obligatory intrumental medley of folk traditionals, but most songs are vocal driven original songs.

The musicianship is good, but I donīt like the vocals much ( even though they are better than on Full House as mentioned). There are moments when they are allright, but generally they are pretty weak IMO.

The production is good. Professional and well sounding but not to my personal taste.

Angel Delight is not an album that I enjoy much. Itīs simply not in a style Iīm interested in. I prefer my folk rock to be more rock than folk and on this album itīs the other way around ( or maybe itīs just me thatīs confusing things). I still think Fairport Convention miss the strong and distinct vocals from Sandy Denny to really make them interesting. Itīs also as if the songs have become less memorable and the highlights have become fewer than on the sixties albums. I canīt give more than 2 stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Let's Split" With all the original stars (Sandy Denny,Ashley Hutchings,Richard Thompson) gone it would be fair to assume that Fairport Convention's day would be numbered ar at least the quality would drop dramatically.As it turns out neither happened and The band simply carried on a a four p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2712289) | Posted by Lupton | Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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