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Matty Grooves Records (2005)

Some bands like wines get better with age and Fairport Convention are certainly one of these.

2004 marked a traumatic year for the band as the bass player Dave Pegg separated from his wife, Christine and this meant major upheaval as these two people were the driving force behind the band’s label Woodworm Records and the annual Cropredy festival.

Thankfully it wasn’t too messy and the band soldier on producing one of their best studio albums in over fifteen years in my humble opinion.

Interestingly there are a lot of outside writers this time including Steve Tilston, Ben Bennion and a Dylan cover - ‘Si Tu Dois Partir’. Band mainstay Simon Nicol still sounds in fine voice and relative ‘newboy’ Chris Leslie seems to have breathed life into the band and has a decent set of vocals himself.

Highlights include ‘I’m Already There’ and Fairport do a bit of prog rock even on ‘Wait For The Tide To Come In’. Violinist Ric Sanders shows his worth on the two instrumental medleys the uptempo ‘Canny Capers’ and ‘Some Special Place’. ‘Westward’ is the sort of rousing folk tune Fairport does so well.

If you’ve never sampled the delights of this band this album is as good as any place to start. We are very lucky to have such a gifted and talented band like this still producing fine music this many years down the line.


Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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