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Music  >>  CDs  >>  Rock/Pop

Fairport Convention

Live In Finland 1971

Fairport Convention Live In Finland 1971
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Hosts of the annual Cropredy Festival and a mere year shy of their 50th anniversary, Fairport Convention is THE British folk-rock group, and many of the most talented and celebrated musicians in the scene have passed through their ranks. Of their many line-ups, generally it’s the Richard Thompson-Ashley Hutchings-Sandy Denny era that gets the most attention, followed by the return of Denny in the mid-‘70s with husband Trevor Lucas. But if there is one line-up that really doesn’t get its due, it would be the quartet of guitarist Simon Nicol, bassist Dave Pegg, fiddler Dave Swarbrick, and drummer Dave Mattacks that remained after Richard Thompson departed following Full House. Together, the four made two fine, underrated studio albums, Angel Delight and “Babbacombe” Lee, but live—as this unreleased August 1971 concert demonstrates—they were a revelation. Never during any of its eras did Fairport rock harder, and, though the band lacked any lead vocalist of the stature of Denny or Iain Matthews, all four members of the group sang and sang well, which lent their on-stage act extra energy. The show begins with the viola/violin duet between Nicol and Swarbrick on “Bridge over the River Ash” that appeared on Angel Delight along with the second track, “The Journeyman’s Grace,” but then the set list gets delightfully obscure for Fairport fans with a piledriving version of “Mason’s Apron,” a tune that never showed up on any of their studio albums. Old faves “Sir Patrick Spens” (from Full House) and “Matty Groves” (from Liege and Lief) follow, but then the band launches into the rollicking three-song medley “Sir B. McKenzie’s Daughter’s Lament” which only appeared on a 1970 single and whose extended original title vied for entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest of its kind. The show winds up with the more elegiac “Sir William Gower” from Angel Delight, but, make no mistake, this is one blazing set of music, and the ample low-end of this concert recording—mastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision—will have you dancing a jig across your living room. With notes by Richie Unterberger featuring quotes from the band, and photos from the Fairport archives, this is a major addition to the band’s vast discography.
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