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This review is from: Full House (Audio CD)
I came upon this fantastic album about 20 years ago and still love it dearly. It was born out of a situation that was neither expected or desired; having just released the seminal Leige and Leif in December 1969, Fairport received another punch in the solar plexus (the band's van crashed on it's way back from a gig at Mother's in Birmingham near Scratchwood services on the M1 and their drummer Martin Lamble died, as did Richard Thompson's then girl friend Jeanie Franks) with the shock leaving of both founder member Ashley Hutchings (to form mark 1 of Steeleye Span) and the wonderful tones and writing skills of Sandy Denny (to go on and form Fotheringay). Down a singer and a bass player the band ran off to a dilapidated pub called The Angel and started writing and looking for a bass played. Despite worries that Dave Swarbrick's musical friends would be olde folkies, they auditioned one Dave Pegg, and a Fairport line up that would be much loved and much missed was created.
The music here is folk rock in the truest sense of the phrase. Walk a while remained in and out of their set ever since, Richard Thompson's song writing was becoming something that made the jaw drop, Mr Pegg's totally original and wonderful bass playing was immediately an unmissable part of their sound (check out Dirty Linen on this album and be amazed; very tricky stuff, but fits perfectly), and knitted well with the drumming of Dave Mattacks, and of course, Dave Swarbrick's fiddle playing is fantastic. No weak links here.
Of note is one of the album's best tracks `Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman', a song by Richard Thompson, which remained unreleased for years, as he was unhappy with his solo! It is a treat of a song and I remember hearing them playing it live and hairs standing on my neck! Wonderful evocative stuff and unmistakably Fairport.
The CD reissue of Full House also comes with a great written piece by Simon Nicol, this is an album you will savour and return to on a regular basis. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Oh, and fab recording and engineering by John Wood of Sound Techniques. One of their best; while the singing sounds unsure of itself on occasion, it is a gem of a record.