FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Old, New. Borrowed, Blue.

FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Old, New. Borrowed, Blue.
Talking Elephant TECD110


As Fairport celebrate yet another significant birthday they are adopting the more is more concept of product marketing, with the re-release of a number of rare or deleted products.  This item falls into my category of ‘albums I didn’t buy at the time and regretted since’.  Having seen this line perform a couple of blinding sets in Edinburgh as this Fairport Acoustic Convention incarnation (Queens Hall), I am reminded of how tight this combo were at the time.  There was no sense that there was something missing in the rhythm section (DM not being available [or perhaps interested] at the time).  Seven of the 16 tracks are recorded at Woodworm Studios Mark 1 (before the recent upheavals) and include the first appearance (at that time) of Lalla Rookh and James Taylor’s blinding Frozen Man.  This also about the only place you’ll find their joust at Loudon Wainwright III’s politically dodgy Men.

The live tracks show FC at their confident best, sampling the well-trod path that is their monumental back catalogue, with the addition of The Swimming Song (another LWIII song, most familiar to McGarrigle fans) and the statutory (at that time) inclusion of a Hugh Williams song (Struck It Right in this case).  Annoying aspects include purposely playing discordant passages in these two songs in particular (may have been a giggle at the gig but doesn’t transfer to disc well), and the questionable segue between Matty Groves and Dirty Linen.  Not a groundbreaker this, but essential purchase for FC followers, and a lot of fun for acoustically orientated rest of us.

Grem Devlin


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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.