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on 28 September 2017
This is brilliant.
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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2008
This was the first live album released by Fairport and dates from the period between the release of "Nine" and "Rising for the Moon" when Sandy Denny was performing with the band again but before she formally rejoined them. There is so much archive live and back-catalogue material available from Fairport these days that my first reaction to this remastered reissue was to note it, but not to rush ahead and buy it. Eventually I took the plunge and was very pleasantly surprised by what I heard - this is a classic set that benefits from the remastering treatment.

The original 1974 album contained nine tracks, recorded at three venues - the Rainbow Theatre (London), Fairfield Hall (Croydon) and the Sydney Opera House, although it is not revealed which tracks originate where. "Matty Groves", the opener, has been a fixture in the band's live set for decades and there are many recorded performances available, some rather hackneyed and uninspiring. This is taken by Sandy Denny at a slow pace (although it speeds up for the instrumental outro) which makes it a refreshing change - quite different from other recorded versions that I can recall. "Rosie" is another song that is available elsewhere in several versions. This is a slow-paced performance, sung beautifully by Swarb with beautiful guitar ornamentation by Jerry Donahue. "Fiddlestix" is a set of traditional tunes with Swarb virtuosity to the fore; it was not previously available in recorded form. "John the Gun" was a track on Sandy's recent solo album "North Star Grassman and the Raven" and here is given a funky Fairport treatment, as is the next track "Something You Got" - another track not previously recorded by the band. In the early 1970s "Sloth" was a highlight of the set and is another song that is available in many versions elsewhere, but this is a strong and atmospheric performance with some great guitar work by Jerry Donahue. It is followed by the instrumental set "Dirty Linen" and another song from Sandy's album - Dylan's "Down in the Flood" - where the band really rocks. The dazzling finale to the original album was "Sir B McKenzie", a set of traditional tunes originally recorded on the B side of the single "Now be Thankful".

The bonus tracks are all from a Sydney Opera House performance of 26 January 1974, where Fairport were the first rock band to perform in what was then a new arena. They are included complete with between-song chat from Trevor Lucas. Three are from Nine: a sprightly "The Hexhamshire Lass" followed two great performances by Trevor Lucas, "Polly on the Shore" and a lengthy and heartfelt rendition of "Bring 'em Down". Lucas then does a solo spot with John Prine's "Far from Me" before Sandy leads the band in a rocking encore-favourite - Buddy Holly's "That'll be the Day" - with Donahue's guitar much to the fore.

This is an album that shows this incarnation of Fairport at its peak. With over 77 minutes of music for less than a fiver this is pretty good value and is recommended.
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on 19 March 2015
Fans of Swarb's fiddling will love this, and Trevor Lucas is in fine voice. For a live album, the sound generally is very good. I'm afraid these are the only positive things I have to say. This is Fairport at an awkward stage of their development, post-Richard Thompson and post-Sandy Denny (while she guests on a couple of tracks here, her vocals struggle to be heard). As Jerry Donahue's candid sleeve notes make clear, this is not a well-rehearsed and discliplined band at the top of their game. For completists only.
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on 1 August 2013
This album, has some weak spots but also some great moments. Most goosebumps courtesy of Sandy Denny's magical voice, also Dave Swarbrick's much missed fiddle - I have always had a soft spot for the menacing sounding version of Matty Groves that opens this album. The first Fairport album I ever heard and a went on to buy a fair old few, so it must have made a good impression.
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on 22 October 2012
Fairport were always a very good group live and the CD capture the best line up (including Sandy Denny) when they were at the very top.I bought this as a LP in the seventies and wore it out now it is available on CD and remastered to give a clear authentic reproduction it is certainly a a must for all Fairport fans and it is the best live performance of all the many live Fairport CD.
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on 28 November 2014
Pretty poor album but supplier was great.
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on 3 December 2014
Fairport at there best. Good price.
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on 8 July 2016
Very happy highly recommend
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on 5 December 2014
excellent cd
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on 26 January 2015
I`M HAPPY.
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