Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Fairport Convention - Angel Delight CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
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.
Report this review (#65394)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
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? ;-)

Report this review (#71862)
Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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.

Report this review (#72612)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
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.

Report this review (#177531)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Angel Delight" is the sixth full-length studio album by UK folk rock act Fairport Convention. The album was released through Island Records in June 1971. Itīs the successor to "Full House" from July 1970. 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 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 "Full House" solely features male vocals. A pretty big change of the bandīs sound which is continued on "Angel Delight".

Stylistically the material on the album is folk rock with an either melancholic (not often) or predominantly jolly mood. Lots of fiddle, acoustic guitars, and mandolin. The vocals are better performed 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 (as lead vocalists). "Angel Delight" features the obligatory instrumental traditionals medley, a high number of re-arranged folk traditionals, and only a few tracks are original compositions (about half).

The musicianship is generally on a good level, but I donīt appreciate the vocals much (even though they are better than on "Full House" as mentioned). There are moments when they are decent, but they generally are the weak link of the album, which is a bit of an issue as most of the tracks are vocal driven compositions. A more distinct sounding vocalist could have brought much to the soundscape.

The album features a well sounding production job, which suits the material well. Itīs an organic, detailed, and professional sounding release. Upon conclusion "Angel Delight" is a quality folk rock album by Fairport Convention. It leans heavily on the folk part of their sound, and less on the rock side. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#197653)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
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 piece with the addition of Dave Pegg on bass. I am going to say straight up that as far as I am concerned, Dave Pegg is a vastly superior bass player to Ashley Hutchings.I will also say that Simon Nicol is a most underrated guitarist and singer.Suddenly the four piece line-up are up to the task.

I might raise the ire of other Fairport Convention fans but much as I love the sheer bravura of Liege and Lief, I actually think Angel Delight is a far better production overall.The performances are tighter, the arrangements leaner without losing their inherent sophistication and the recording is cleaner.They are also more concise and punchier -no drawn out dirgy work outs here.I am not going to give a track by track assessment- just an overall comment that like preceding albums, this album comprises a hugely enjoyable mix of Rocked-up instrumental medleys of Traditional tunes , some elaborate arrangements of traditional songs and a few excellent originals. I really love this album

I know I am going against the grain with this one but I am giving this one five stars

Report this review (#2712289)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just as Full House saw Fairport Convention adjusting to the departure of Sandy Denny, so too did Angel Delight see them adjusting to the departure of Richard Thompson - though he does get writing credits on The Journeyman's Grace and the lively album closer, Sickness & Diseases.

To a certain extent, this is Full House Part 2, with the male vocalists continuing to work on stepping into the gap left by Sandy Denny, and their increased confidence in this realm helps compensate for a comparative lack of musical development over that album. If you enjoyed Full House and fancy more with a similar sound, this won't disappoint - but if you're disinterested in Fairport without Sandy Denny, then this is unlikely to win you over.

Report this review (#2871814)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2022 | Review Permalink

FAIRPORT CONVENTION Angel Delight ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of FAIRPORT CONVENTION Angel Delight

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.