Great Performance...Poor Recording
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 04/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fairports live in and around 1970 were an awesome experience despite the personnel changes that seemed to be the only constant aspect of it's existance.While the personnel changed the quality of the musicians remained high and the focus shifted. Richard Thompson blossomed and matured helped by the interplay with Dave Swarbrick. The vocals may have taken a backseat after Sandy Denny but then there were two lead players instead.I do not wish to add much to the other reviews of this album about the individual tracks save for to mention the development of Matty Groves into what Ric Sanders came to call Fairport Convention plays Pink Floyd track. Here at a measley 3.44 minutes the song is sung at breakneck speed but you can see that the seeds have been sown. Sloth remains the outstanding track of the album as others have said.The performance at the Troubador is excellent but you cannot say that about the recording. For a full sounding band the recording is weak both in volume and quality. There are some excellent quality bootleg recordings out there from this tour which put this official version to shame. If anyone out there is listening perhaps a clean up job with extra tracks could be done to rectify this situation. Given the number of shows that the band played around this time, there must be other tapes available to get a true representation of Fairport live at this time. This, like Full House, is essential Fairport Convention. If you do not own it already you should jolly well order it from Amazon right now."
Just Misses 5 Stars
Michael Weber | Atlanta | 03/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen close approximations of all of them at Cropredy, Fairport live in any of its incarnations seems to have been an awesome thing.But this was the noblest Fairport of them all, in terms of sheer virtuosity and jaw-dropping chops -- and this album documents that to the hilt. This would be a 5-star album except that the sound is a bit thin and dry... and, even at that, it just misses.((If the mobile truck had been there for some of the moments mentioned in the liner notes, it would be about a 6-star album.))It flat doesn't get any tighter and solid on stage, with Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol and the Three Daves -- Swarbrick on his demon fiddle dancing with & around RT and SN's guitars and Pegg on bass & Mattacks on thundering drums providing a bottom and a beat that has to be experienced to be appreciated -- Fairport mounted a sonic attack that is almost firghtening coming from a "folk" band.Granted, absent Sandy Denny, neither Richard or Swarb *really* fills that gap on vocals, but what this band has in its own right that the "Liege & Leaf" Fairport didn't exploit as fully is its sheer power and virtuosity."Matty Groves" is a classic Fairport raveup, "Sir Patrick Spens" is a nice reading of a "trad.arr." ballad, "Mason's Apron" a nice instrumental... But "Sloth", at something like twelve minutes is simply incredible."House Full" is an important document of a transitional time in Fairport's history, as is its 1970 studio complement, "Full House"; both are necessary to your collection if you're buying more than one album -- but this is the one to buy if you can only afford one today."