I don't remember hearing Fairport Convention on the wireless in the late 1960s, so this came as a great surprise to me. This collection from the BBC archives has the band tackling many American songs, some from contemporaries, others from the band members' youth.
And just how well they do them! Eric Andersen's 'Close the Door Lightly When You Go', Jackson C Frank's 'You Never Wanted Me', Richard Fariña's 'Reno Nevada', Gene Clark's 'Tried So Hard', the Everly Brothers' 'Gone, Gone, Gone'... these are just some of the songs that truly shine, and which they make their own rather than merely cover. Whilst I quite like a lot of Fairport's folk music, and the version of 'Tam Lin' here is amazing, what we have here I find preferable to the jigs and reels that were soon to make up much of the band's repertoire.
The sound quality varies, there's a slightly intrusive DJ intro and outro on one track, not every song stands up well -- such as the strained original 'If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong', and Bob Dylan's 'Percy's Song' isn't one of my favourites -- and there are a few vocal and musical fluffs, but altogether I find myself playing this CD more than any other by the band.