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Fairport Convention - Gottle O' Geer CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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1.56 | 28 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars No laughing matter

OK, this is not Fairport's finest hour, or even half hour given the brevity of the album. The album, which is the only one to be released under the abbreviated name (no "Convention") was recorded at a time when the band was in some disarray, with only Dave Swarbrick, Bruce Rowland and Dave Pegg left as full time members. Trevor Lucas and Sandy Denny had once again left the band along with Jerry Donahue. The album actually started out as a Swarbrick solo project, but in the end Island Records put it out under the Fairport name and used it to finalise their contract with the band.

On the plus side, a host of guests contributed to the album, including Martin Carthy, Gallagher and Lyle and Simon Nicol, the engineer for the album. This through leads to the album having a very un-Fairport like feel, the songs being generally anonymous.

There are just two traditional songs here, both arranged by Dave Pegg. The opening "When first into this country" is a decent up-tempo folkish piece, but it lacks the strength to lead off the album, especially when compared to "Rising for the moon" on its predecessor. "The frog up the pump" is a good old traditional reel, and in Fairport terms one of the few album highlights.

The drowsy drinking ballad "lay me down easy", written by Swarbrick and Rowland, actually comes across quite well, whereas any expectations of a Faiport classic on the teasingly titled "Cropredy Capers" are quickly dispersed by the lifeless dirge which ensues. "Don't be late" has the sound of a 1940's boogie-woogie number, complete with brass.

"Sandy's song" was actually written by Sandy Denny under the title "Take away the load". Swarb makes a decent attempt when singing this soft reflective ballad, but it is clear that the song would be best heard with Denny's pure tones. Her version is available on her "Who knows where the time goes" compilation. The cover of Gallagher and Lyle's "Friendship song" features said duo, the song being a simple folk pop song with a "Come on and get it" refrain.

The album closes with "Limey's lament", another Swarb/Rowland number which at least challenges their harmonic vocal dexterity.

In all, an admittedly weak entry in Fairport's vast discography. While the protagonists are to be admired for trying to do some things which were a little different, in the end this must be seen as an unsuccessful experiment.

Incidentally, I am not sure how widely he expression "Gottle O'Geer" is known, but it relates to what a ventriloquist reputedly says when trying to say "Bottle of beer".

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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