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3.8 out of 5 stars
6
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 25 June 2012
I adored Babbacombe Lee when it first came out - though I foolishly stuck the "Don't hang John Lee" sticker to the flywheel of my moped, so that's long gone - and I loved this performance when I heard it live at Cropredy 2011.

Based on the true story of a man who was convicted of murder in 1884, then survived 3 attempts to hang him, the album traces his story with range, colour and verve. It's a classic, beautifully written and performed by superb musicians at the top of their game.

But the sound quality on this MP3 is in places dire, especially on the first couple of tracks. This must be at least partly down to the encoding. The bitrates of individual tracks vary between 194 and 273 kbs. Other suppliers offer it at 320 kbs constant, so I assumed this would be the same. I'm now regretting the assumption.

***** for the performance, ** for the encoding.

Why don't Amazon disclose bitrate as part of the product description?
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on 3 September 2012
BABBACOMBE LEE (1971) remains one of my all time favorite Fairport albums. And from roughly 40 albums to select from, that's quite a statement. It didn't receive much love in '71 when it received mainstream distribution via A&M and Island; It's live re-creation in 2011-12 is ostensibly a well-kept secret among Fairport fans. Reduced to a quartet in 1971 this band has had numerous members come and go in the intervening years but remaining from then 'til now are Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. This was then the brainchild of fiddler Dave Swarbrick. It's taken a duo of fiddlers to replace him in Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie. That's a whole lot of hyperbole, of course, since Leslie devotes much of his time to the mandolin and he joined the band a decade after Sanders. But the point is, Swarbrick was virtually irreplaceable. Both Sanders and Leslie are incredible musicians, and more than abley fill the void instrumentally, but Swarbrick's mournfully broken yet empathetic vocals will never be equalled by the sweet and perfect Chris Leslie tenor. 'Newcomer' Gerry Conway (who joined the band in '99) assumes Dave Mattacks' role perfectly. With a lifetime of experience in British rock and folk-rock, no-one could have been a better replacement.

So 40 years later it is very satisfying that Fairport hasn't forgotten this erstwhile neglected classic. It's true to the original with no unexpected twists or turns. The only surprise to the casual listener, perhaps, is how good this band can still be. Much of their more recent work leans heavily toward the generic 'soft-rock' side of the folk-rock music spectrum but this release demonstrates that their British folk roots are still strong.
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on 2 September 2012
A great live performance of the classic album. Again this demonstrates the continuity of this icon of British folk rock. Some say that this and other albums like By Popular Request or Steeleye Span's The Very Best of Steeleye Span - Present and Now We Are Six Again are point less, how ever this is just plain wrong thinking. In jazz many great musicians re recorded their compositions many times. Any real Fairports fan will love this. It does appear that the CD option is a better option than the mp3 download though.
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on 25 April 2013
Heard them perform this live, and in gereral i dont go in for buying live recordings as they're never quite the same, with the major acception of this purchase.

I loved listening to it, and have listened to it again and again.

The original is a work of art and yet this version has so much to offer with Mr Lesleys vocals giving it a wonderful sound.
It has been well recorded and could easily pass as a studio album.

I really cant encourage anyone reading this enough to go and buy it, you will not be dissapointed.
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on 19 December 2012
have original on vinyl. Saw this line-up of Fairport live when doing promotional tour and v impressed with new version had to add recording to my collection and not displeased
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on 10 December 2012
i've seen FairPort more than 45 times. I was at The Cropredy recording of this LP. It was an absolutely painfullly bad experiance, The reworking of this is beyond bad. Around me in the crowd people started off dutifully listening, but it was'nt long before we were all shouting 'This is crap'! And boy it was. One humourless dirge after another, a dogs breakfast of an album. Ok, it has two almost good tracks on it, John Lee, and Wake up John, but two tracks don't make and album. Fairport have done at least 6 great LPs ( Debut, What we did on our holidays, Unhalfbricking , Liege and Lief , Full House, Angel Delight and Rising for the Moon) . Get them and enjoy. this Lp is like fingernails on a blackboard. Awful, middle of the road rubbish.
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