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Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.29 | 65 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Some people are a bit hard with FC's debut album, partly because it doesn't feature the classic line-up, but instead of the over-rated Sandy Denny, we have the delicate Judy Dyble (later GG&F and Trader Horne) and Iain McDonald/Matthews on vocals and it's just as good. Where the comparison may hurt a bit with future albums is that a good part of the album is looking at West Coast folk (that US WC, not Wales you wise arses ;o)) and only touches UK folk, but this will always be the case, just in reverse proportionality and the presence of many covers (Mitchell, Cohen, Dylan).

So this very psyched-out folk album with an intriguing lamp artwork is a still a very worthy album, no matter what purists say and is certainly no less challenging than Babacombe Lee or Nine Lives, or dare I say the highly-touted Full House. Part of its charm is that there are a few gutsy psychedelic folk rock tracks, like the opening Time Will Show (where the band shows their electric chops) or the dark It's Only Witchcraft. Other pure North American folk tracks like Mitchell' Where I Stand and Chelsea Morning & Dylan's Jack O Diamonds are electrified and drummed up (the later has a definite acid folk rock sound), and the least we can say is that the very cute Judy holds her own

The few FC originals like Stomp, Decameron, the instrumental Portfolio, the superb jazzy Sun Shade leading in the full-blown psych of The Lobster (maybe my fave on the album with Dyble's small recorder parts) and One Sure Thing are of correct quality, even holding up their own on the prestigious all-too- often-heard covers. On the weaker M1 Breakdown is below par, being a jug band thingie, but even then it's not bad, because it stays short and funny.

The remastered version of the album comes with a quartet of great bonus tracks (and a superb illustrated booklet), all covers (although who needs yet another version of Cohen's Suzanne, even if a bit different), including a version of Buckley's Morning Glory and a fantastic full-blown seven minutes rendition of US folk giant Farina, called Reno Nevada, where FC show they the longer tracks like sailor's life or Matty Groves were in their blood right from the start. All four tracks are of correct sound quality and just add more weight to the original album, which is easily as worthy as its four successors. Don't shy away from thi

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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