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Fairport Convention - Acoustically Down Under 1996: The Woodworm Archives - Vol. 2 CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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4.83 | 3 ratings

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5 stars An sadly overlooked or mostly unknown gem.

Acoustically Down Under is FC's acoustic tour recorded while they were in Australia in 1996, after just releasing the semi live acoustic album Old, New, Borrowed and Blue (and renders that album superfluous.) This tour was also the last for long time guitar wiz Maartin Allcock (who spells his first name with two As) and this version of the band was determined to go out with a bang.

For those that don't know, this Allcock era of FC featured a virtual renaissance in quality album releases that encompassed The Five Seasons, Red and Gold and their near masterpiece from 1995 The Jewel In The Crown. The band, sans drummer Dave Mattacks, were also in top performance mode, having played together for almost twelve years.

The key to the band's resurgent album quality was their incredible knack for gleaning top flight songs from outside songwriters such as the great Steve Tilston, and future FC member Chris Leslie.

The remarkably long selection of quality songs, which includes Slip Jigs And Reels, Frozen Man, the incredible The Naked Highwayman, Portmerion, and Lolla Rookh are only the tip of the iceberg. There's also an encore (at least on this album's song tracking) with the great Dave Swarbrick making a guest appearance on his own signature song Rosie, as Swarbrick was residing in Australia at the time.

Remarkably clear recording and vibrant recordings really brings this album to life as does the incredible playing by Allcock (who does fabulous turns on nylon string guitar), Ric Sanders on violin and Dave Pegg on bass is easily matched the better than ever vocals of Simon Nichol who displays emotion, range and projection only hinted at on the previous studio albums.

Released in 2005, this album seems to coincide with the release of the Acoustic Strawbs' Baroque And Roll album from 2003 and Horlips' acoustic homage Roll Back album from 2004 and makes an incredible triumvirate with those two stellar acoustic releases from Prog Folk /Folk Rock groups of the same caliber and rich history. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

SteveG | 5/5 |


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