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Fairport Convention - 'Babbacombe' Lee CD (album) cover

'BABBACOMBE' LEE

Fairport Convention

 

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3.73 | 51 ratings

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LSDisease
4 stars This concept album tells the story of the man who was sentenced to death for murder. John 'Babbacombe' Lee known also as the 'man they couldn't hang'. It was impossible to execute him because of hanging mechanism failure, however John claimed his innocence. In early 70s Dave Swarbrick found couple of articles about that fact and it was a basic for this release. Originally Babbacombe Lee was album including 5 pieces. Remastered version is a compilation of 13 shorter cuts. It wasn't bad idea because the first version seemed a bit unnatural but in the other hand you listen to the whole album not skipping anything cos skipping short intrumental or speech pieces is sensless. Album starst with short speech and later we can hear typical British folk track. It sounds like something taken from Jethro Tull's Benefit (Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks joined Jethro in late 80s). Next we have some country stuff which isn't bad. I mean it's much better than Dylan's work from 60s. I don't think any American artist could stand the pace when British rock was at its peak. Speaking of Tull.... John Lee fragment amazes me cos it sounds like something taken from Too Old To Rock And Roll Too Young To Die (Pied Piper?). That Jethro album was released 5 years later! Breakfest In Mayfar vocal lines remind me of ELP's The Sheriff and this song was also recorded later (for Trilogy album). Trial Song and Cell song were one piece on original release. The first is a vivid folk rock track the second is very quiet and introspective. Last three pieces sum up the album. The Time Is Near is a gloomy song with lots of pathos. It works here fine. Dream Song somehow appears as psychedelic track but it isn't improvised. Suits just fine. Wake Up John.... yeah a waking song. This one is vital and sounds optimistic. It wasn't good moment for John Lee but knowing he wasn't killed we can listen to some good folk rock country piece. Remastered version includes aslo two bonus tracks recorded for BBC but I don't think it was needed. Babbacombe Lee is a concept and it ends with last sounds of Wake Up John. To me the best Fairport Convention release and not only because it's a concept album, it's beacuse it's the most Tull flavoured record and Jethro Tull is one of my favorite bands of all times. A classic.
LSDisease | 4/5 |

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