"Angel Delight was Fairport's follow-up to their master-piece "Full House".
Guitarist and songwiter Richard Thompson had left the band before the recordings for the album, but some songs had been written and rehearsed before he left. Thompson is co-writer on two songs and though his personal vocals are missed, his absence is actually surprisingly not very obvious.
Before the recordings of "Full House" the band had moved in together in an old inn called "The Angel Inn" ( hence the title of the album ), and they lived there together during the recordings of this album too. Actually Richard Thompson still lived there after he had left Fairport Convention to pursue a solo-career; so obviously he still played a part in the band's musical direction.
Guitarist Simon Nicol reveals in the sleeve-notes that he was not too familiar with the electric guitar at this point; but he obviously had been very much inspired by Thompson's style and his playing on the album is great.
As with "Full House" the songs is a mixture of traditional songs and new originals written by the band.
The opener "Lord Marlborough" is one the traditionals. This old folk song features great lead vocals by Dave Swarbrick; catchy melody in a very unusual/difficult rhythm, which makes the song even more fascinating.
Simon Nicol takes over the lead vocals on the next traditional "Sir William Gower". The distorted guitar makes you think of Steeleye Span at their most electric/rocking period. Another good track!
The first of the album's two instrumentals is the the violin-dominated "Bridge Over the River Ash" - almost like a classical piece.
Dave Swarbrick takes over again the lead vocals on his and Simon Nicol's "Wizzard of the Worldly Game". Classic Fairport Convention at their best; fine solo by Nicol!
"The Journeyman's Grace" written by Thompson and Swarbrick is a song much in the same vein as "Walk Awhile" from "Full House"
The title track is a catchy and optimistic tune with autobiograpical lyrics. Great drum-breaks by Mattacks.
The traditional ballad "Banks of the Sweet Primroses" was from the the first time I heard the album my favourite track; and it still is. A gorgeous melody.
The instrumental medley is as always a pleasure; showing what great instrumentalist they all were.
The last traditional song "The Bonny Black Hare" is probably my least favourite track, which by no means makes it a bad track.
Swarbrick and Thompson's "Sickness and Diseases" is the most hard-rocking track on the album. Great closer of the original album.
The single bonus-track is a BBC recording of "The Journeyman's Grace"; not that much different from the album version, but still interesting as it features great guitar-playing from Thompson.
Conclusion: Classic Fairport, and a must-buy for any fan of the band.
Great comeback -- terrible price!
D. A Campbell | Annandale, VA United States | 09/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Angel Delight is not only one of Fairport Convention's very best ablums, but it is one of the greatest comebacks in rock history. I use the term "comeback" not in the sense that the previous albums were weak, as they were just as good. But to lose Sandy Denny after Leaf and Leige, and then Richard Thompson after Full House, and still have the talent to put out a work of this quality is simply amazing. High points for me are Lord Marlborough and the classical-tinged instrumental Bridge Over the River Ash. Unfortunately, the boys then let things drop off rather percipitously after this album with the very forgetable Babacombe Lee (good concept, poor execution). But why on earth is this album priced at $25? And only one measly bonus track (a live version of the weakest track on the album) for that hefty price? Come on, if you want me to replace my album with the CD, get the price down to the normally ridiculous high CD costs. I won't be buying this until you do."
A Noble Effort
Wileytown | Morristown, TN United States | 09/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like to play this disc for folks who possess a casual familiarity with Fairport. The strength of the album can be surprising! It might not be a FULL HOUSE, but its still a flush! It stands well with the classic Fairport works preceeding it. Recommended!"
Fairport's first album without Thompson a delight
woburnmusicfan | Woburn, MA United States | 03/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One album after singer Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention, guitar virtuoso Richard Thompson also departed. Fairport responded with the beautiful "Angel Delight" album; while it doesn't soar as brilliantly as "Full House", it is very good in its own right. The 10 tracks include two leftover Swarbrick/Thompson collaborations and six traditional songs. In the title cut, the band members humorously discuss each other's foibles and experiences to a lively melody (including Swarb's recent brush with death, "There's a hole in the wall where a lorry came in"). The timeless "Wizard of the Worldly Game" and rocking "The Journeyman's Grace" are also strong additions to the Fairport repertoire. There's the lewd traditional ballad "The Bonny Black Hare" and a good-hearted stab at a string quartet on "Bridge Over the River Ash" (only Swarbrick regularly played violin). "Lord Marlborough" has the same melody as "Reynard the Fox", another traditional tune later recorded by Fairport."