Album Info

RELEASE
April 02, 2007
LABEL
Universal Gmbh
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock, British Folk, British Folk-Rock, Progressive Folk, Psychedelic

Album Review

Is a four-CD box set of Fairport Convention 1967-1974 BBC recordings excessive? After all, even the Beatles only got two CDs of Beeb tracks into official release. But it really isn't too much for fans of the band, for the quality of most of the stuff here is truly good, even if the very best of it was already issued on the Heyday compilation. There's a lot more here, however. While the expanded Heyday CD contains 20 tracks from 1968-1969, this offers a relatively whopping 69, and where Heyday focused exclusively on late-'60s sessions done while Sandy Denny was in the lineup (which was admittedly their peak era), this has a few recordings predating Denny's entrance into Fairport, as well as quite a few post-dating her departure (and a few from when she briefly rejoined the group in the mid-'70s). Most important of all, this has quite a few songs, particularly folk-rock cover versions from the late '60s, that didn't make it onto official Fairport Convention releases of the time. Certainly the first two discs of the set are the strongest, as all but three of the tracks date from the 1968-1969 Denny era. If you're already heard Heyday, you know how good some of these gems are, like their superb interpretation of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," and their fine reworkings of songs by Richard FariƱa ("Reno, Nevada"), the Everly Brothers, Gene Clark ("Tried So Hard"), Eric Andersen ("Close the Door Lightly When You Go"), Bob Dylan ("Percy's Song"), Johnny Cash ("I Still Miss Someone"), and Joni Mitchell ("I Don't Know Where I Stand"), as well as quality originals like "Autopsy" and "Shattering Live Experience." This set includes a few other goodies, however, some of which were previously on bootlegs and benefit from much-improved sound here (Joni Mitchell's "Eastern Rain," "Marcie," and "Night in the City"), and one of which ("Jack of Diamonds," an obscure Bob Dylan lyric set to music by Ben Carruthers from their first LP) had never even previously shown up on those old bootlegs. It's true the blues songs "You're Gonna Need My Help" and "If It Feels Good You Know It Can't Be Wrong" are kind of lame, but at least they preserve one aspect of the early band's repertoire. It's also true that disc three (all taken from 1970-1974 sessions) pales a little in comparison to the first pair of CDs, but these do document Fairport's transition to a much more English traditional folk-oriented group, with Denny re-entering on the four songs from 1974. The fidelity on disc four (subtitled "Off Air") is indeed taken from off-air recordings rather than original tapes, and has noticeably poorer fidelity, though it's actually not that bad. Even these performances, however (some of which found prior release on the Fairport Unconventional box set, as had a few other stray tracks from the first three discs), are quite enjoyable, with eight songs done in 1967-1968 when Judy Dyble was still in the lineup. Some of these songs, too, Eric Andersen's "Violets of Dawn," Bob Dylan's "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" -- never found release on their official albums, and there are other highlights (or at least intriguing oddities) like their December 1968 send-up of "Light My Fire" and a 1970 version of "Tam Lin" with male lead vocals (though Denny had taken the lead on the familiar studio recording). In all, this is essential for Fairport fans, and is not solely or primarily of historical interest, making for quite fine listening on its own terms.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Close the Door Lightly When You Gohttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643721&id=276643717
  2. I Don't Know Where I Standhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643722&id=276643717
  3. Some Sweet Dayhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643725&id=276643717
  4. You Never Wanted Mehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643728&id=276643717
  5. Nottamun Townhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643729&id=276643717
  6. Marciehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643730&id=276643717
  7. Night in the Cityhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643731&id=276643717
  8. Jack O' Diamondshttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643733&id=276643717
  9. Gone, Gone, Gonehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643734&id=276643717
  10. Suzannehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643739&id=276643717
  11. If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wronghttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643740&id=276643717
  12. Eastern Rainhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643743&id=276643717
  13. Fotheringayhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643744&id=276643717
  14. I Still Miss Someonehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643745&id=276643717
  15. Bird on a Wirehttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643746&id=276643717
  16. Tried So Hardhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643748&id=276643717
  17. Reno Nevadahttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643749&id=276643717
  18. Book Songhttp://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643752&id=276643717
  19. Who Knows Where the Time Goes?http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?i=276643755&id=276643717
  20. You're Gonna Need My Helphttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  21. Fotheringayhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  22. Shattering Live Experiencehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  23. Cajun Womanhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  24. Autopsyhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  25. Si Tu Dois Partir [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  26. Percy's Songhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  27. Reynardinehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  28. Tam Linhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  29. Sir Patrick Spenshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  30. Medley: The Lark in the Morning/Rakish Paddy/Foxhunter's Jig/Toss the Fhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  31. The Lady Is a Tramphttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  32. Walk Awhilehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  33. Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  34. Doctor of Physickhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  35. Sir Patrick Spenshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  36. The Bonny Bunch of Roseshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  37. Dirty Linen (Jigs and Reels)http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  38. Now Be Thankfulhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  39. The Journeyman's Grace [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  40. Now Be Thankfulhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  41. Tokyohttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  42. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Johnhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  43. Possibly Parsons Greenhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  44. Rosie [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  45. John the Gunhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  46. Fiddlestixhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  47. Rising for the Moonhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  48. Down in the Floodhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  49. Let's Get Togetherhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  50. One Sure Thinghttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  51. Lay Down Your Weary Tunehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  52. Chelsea Morninghttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  53. Violets of Dawnhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  54. If (Stomp)http://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  55. Time Will Show the Wiserhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  56. If I Had a Ribbon Bowhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  57. Meet on the Ledgehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  58. Light My Firehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  59. Flatback Caperhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  60. Open the Door Richardhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  61. The Deserterhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  62. The Hangman's Reelhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  63. Tam Linhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  64. Sir William Gowerhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  65. Banks of the Sweet Primroseshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  66. Sickness and Diseaseshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  67. Bridge Over the River Ashhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  68. Lord Marlboroughhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
  69. Angel Delighthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/fairport-convention-live-at/id276643717?uo=5
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