A Document of the End of an Era
Michael Weber | Atlanta | 02/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released on vinyl in 1979 as "Farewell Farewell" (with a much-superior cover), this is a documentation of Fairport's "Farewell Tour" before they broke up (and re-formed in '87 and continue to this day).It was re-released on CD once before, then went out-of-print, and is now available once again; the previous re-release added one bonus track, this one adds three more (the original LP ended with "Meet on the Ledge" as most live Fairport shows still do).Fairport are definitely best seen live, and this album comes veryvery close to matching that experience.To the best of my knowledge, this is the only legitimate Fairport recording on which one can hear Swarbrick tearing up "Orange Blossom Special" -- it's almost worth it just for that. In one of her novels, SF author Emma Bull says of a band that the bass player "grabbed a handful of strings and began to climb the alphabet"; in answer to "How does he *do* that?", the reply is "Too much Fairport Convention as a child." Peggie's bass on this performance of "Orange Blossom Special" might have been the inspiration for that crack, and Bruce Rowland (who only just recently replaced Dave Mattacks on drums in Fairport again) is right there too, driving the rhythm and complementing Swarb's fiddle perfectly."Bridge on the River Ash", as usual is a hoot -- all of the non-fiddler members of Fairport playing fiddles, with running commentary.Given that we thought at the time that it was the end for Fairport, the performance of "Meet on the Ledge", which is about endings and beginnings again and friendship and loss and all the things Really Good Music is about, was a particularly poignant ending to the original album, here somewhat undercut by the inclusion of four bonus tracks after it, though the bonus tracks included are all excellent and well-worth having, particularly "Rubber Band" and "Flatback Caper".Summing up -- an album worth having in and of itself, an important document of an important moment in Fairport's career, and a unique opportunity to hear any further proof you need that Dave Swarbrick is a Great Fiddler..."
This was not the end of the road
Philip S. Wolf | San Francisco,Ca | 11/24/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You are lucky that this CD exists because this was to be the last recording of Fairport Convention at the time of it's release in Nov 79. It is a taste of their final UK tour, it features Dave Swarbrick on vocals & violin, Simon Nicol on guitar & vocals MR. Dave Pegg on bass guitar & vocals and Bruce Rowland on drums. This is Fairport doing what they do better than anyone else: PLAYING LIVE AND HAVING FUN DOING IT! No this isn't the greatest Fairport record, but it is Swarb playing the best fiddle tunes, Pegggy playing better bass than anybody has a right to, Simon and Bruce in-sinc as a great rhythm section. This band is alive and well 33 years after they formed and still tour the world to small but very happy audience. " Matty Groves" & " Meet On the Ledge are on this CD (they are played at every Fairport concert) and a very wierd Version of "Rubber Band"."