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Fairport Convention [VINYL] [CD]

Fairport Convention Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Timeless
  • ASIN: B00172AHPI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairport's First 5 Jan 2005
By Lozarithm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Long out of print, as I discovered after trading in the Polydor vinyl album some years ago, this re-mastered reissue includes bonus tracks including their first single, a cover of Maxine Sullivan's 1940 recording of If I Had A Ribbon Bow. The best track is probably the Dylan-influenced and rather psychedelic It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft.

Among the other original material, some of it dating from Richard Thompson's previous band, is a fair smattering of well-chosen songs from contemporary performers. Joni Mitchell was virtually unknown and unreleased on record in 1967 when this album was recorded and her own versions of the two songs here did not appear until her second album, Clouds, in 1969. The Fairports knew her as she had been in the UK at the invitation of their producer, Joe Boyd, and she had played some British dates supporting the Incredible String Band. Emitt Rhodes was still performing in the obscure group the Merry-Go-Round when they recorded Time Will Show The Wiser to open the album.

Dylan's Jack O'Diamonds was actually a poem which turned up on the liner-notes of Another Side Of Bob Dylan. He had given it to an actor friend called Ben Carruthers at the Savoy, who had used it in a TV play called A Man With No Papers, and subsequently recorded it with his group Ben Carruthers And The Deep, aided by Jimmy Page and Nicky Hopkins, on a flop single. One Sure Thing was a cover of a little-known duo called Jim and Jean (Jim Glover and Jean Ray).

There is no clue from this eclectic mix of songs featuring Ian Matthew and the very underrated Judy Dyble that they were to virtually reinvent folk-rock with Sandy Denny just a couple of years later. I saw the band a couple of times around the time of this album and, much as I enjoyed their later albums, rather miss these styles of playing in their music.

Their version of Suzanne used to feature alternate verses sung by Ian Matthew and Sandy Denny but the May 1968 version here sadly falls between Judy Dyble leaving and Sandy Denny joining, but you can hear the dual-vocal version from their August 1968 Top Gear session on Heyday
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairport's 1st, pre-Sandy Denny, album was very good 30 Nov 2003
By woburnmusicfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Before Sandy Denny came along, a very young Fairport Convention recorded this lovely album full of warmth and open-hearted innocence, with Judy Dyble and Ian MacDonald (later known as Iain Matthews) on vocals. It's full of the singer-songwriter material found on "What We Did on Our Holidays". The album starts with the rocking single, Emmitt Rhodes' "Time Will Show the Wiser." Dyble sings a pair of Joni Mitchell songs, including a fantastic arrangement of "I Don't Know Where I Stand," while MacDonald does Bob Dylan's "Jack o'Diamonds." Richard Thompson's prolific recorded career began on this album, with five co-written songs, including the sad but lovely "Decameron", wistful "Sun Shade", and blues-rockers "If" and "It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft". Dyble's voice isn't as strong as Denny's, but she provides a variety of musical touches, like the recorder solo on "Jack o'Diamonds", autoharp riff on "The Lobster", and piano that frames the instrumental "Portfolio". Throughout the album, the band is experimenting with dynamics, tempos, and sound textures.
(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last--Mark I, Complete! 16 Feb 2004
By T. A. Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
CD buffs can rejoice now that the first Fairport album is re-issued as it should have been done in the first place. The original 12-track album is here in all its spledor, but the real treat is the first single, "If I Had a Ribbon Bow". It is a vibe-driven jazz number with Richard Thompson's Wes Montgomery-style guitar running throughout. Judy Dyble's deft vocal is triumphant. An amazing throw-back to summer '67 Frisco sound in a British context, the rest of the album simply shimmers on songs such as Decameron, It's Only Witchcraft, The Lobster and a rare Harvey Brooks (Electric Flag) tune, One Sure Thing. This album is a preview to what Judy would do a year or two later with Trader Horne. Let's hope that one comes out soon.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising Fairport Convention debut. 29 Dec 2006
By Ben - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For over 3 decades Fairport's debut album on Polydor had been deleted and finally now has been given a rebirth on CD, and not before time. Although this album was the one where music critics suggested that Fairport were the Brit version of Jefferson Airplane or the Byrds, there really is only little similarity to either of those bands, particularly where vocal harmonies are concerned. This is the only album FC made which featured no traditional folk rock, which later was to become their hallmark. Instead there is a mixture of rock, contemporary folk, light jazz and even a c & w number. There is some highly melodic material included, as well as weirder experimental stuff (The Lobster'), but then this was recorded late 1967 at the height of psychedelia.

For me, the outstanding track on this album is the Joni Mitchell cover 'I Don't Know Where I Stand' sung beautifully by Judy Dyble, the original female vocalist. Richard Thompson's lead guitar on this number interplays superbly with Simon Nicol's rhythm guitar. Another example of Dyble's sensitive vocals are found on 'One Sure Thing' with an unusual and imaginative solo by RT. In fact his guitar work is already showing quite a remarkable standard as well as versatility in styles, and his solos on 'Sunshade', 'Lobster' and the c & w track `If (stomp)' demonstrate this well. FC's strange first single 'If I Had A Ribbon Bow' included as a bonus track is an old fashioned cocktail jazz number and again Dyble's vocals are perfectly suited to it. `Reno Nevada' is the only disappointment here, as the band used to play this number live which used to last several minutes, thanks to a long jazz solo by RT. It so impressed producer Joe Boyd on first hearing this played at a club, that he signed up FC immediately.

For those who like their music more hard-edged, there is the opening track 'Time Will Show The Wiser' and Thompson's jokey Dylan title, 'It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft, with a Hendrix type solo in the middle.

So Fairport Convention in thir early phase had no particular style of music that one could clearly identify with. However all the music on here is wonderfully played by all band members, with the voices of Judy Dyble and Ian Matthews blending well. Dyble, for me was the better singer of the two. Ian Matthews had a weaker, almost twee voice, when singing on his own, which could be irritating, particularly noticeable on `Decameron'. RT co-wrote a few tracks, but his songwriting talent was yet to develop more prominently as it did over the next few years.

Overall this album should definitely please Fairport fans, who were not around in the late `60s and want to hear how the band originally used to sound in their early days. It should also interest the curious, delving into RT's musical history. But do not expect an album like `Liege & Lief'. FC were a very different sounding band when they started out.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Album Rocks! 2 May 2009
By Zombiesfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This eponymous 1968 debut album has little to do with British folk music. Rather, it presents Fairport Convention as a rocking unit who can play psych rock and delicate west-coast style folk-rock with equal aplomb; a remarkable feat considering that each member was still in his or her teens! The album kicks of with Richard Thompson playing some dirty licks on an AWESOME revved-up version of "Time Will Show The Wiser." Although this highlight is a cover, there are some fine, albeit slightly immature, Thompson originals, written with singer Ian Matthews (or MacDonald as he was then known) and bassist Ashley (or Tyger!) Hutchings. Also present are rare compositions by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. Overall, the musicianship is surprisingly tight and impressive: the rhythm section of Hutchings, drummer Martin Lamble, and stalwart rhythm guitarist Simon Nicol drives everything along like a steam engine. Judy Dyble, Sandy Denny's predecessor, has a lovely, breathy voice that works well with that of Ian Matthews. Judy's finest moment is probably "One Sure Thing," a chilling cover that she delivers beautifully. The bonus tracks perfectly compliment the album, especially "If I Had A Ribbon Bow," Fairport's very first single! Although there is no "Matty Groves" or "Sloth" on this album, there are plenty of great moments by a very young and energetic band; Ashley's liner notes are quite entertaining too! So pick this album up soon... you're sure to enjoy it.
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