Fairport's most traditional (although electric) album
Matthew Schwarz | Bridgewater, nj United States | 02/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of the 8 songs on this disc (tracks 8 & 9 are really just an extended intro for track 10 in my mind) I think 6 are actually traditional songs. Even their most trad. centered albums of the past ("Liege & Lief", "Angel Delight", "Full House", and "Bonny Bunch of Roses") were all about 50% original or contemporary songs. And, although Fairport have written some fine songs ("Crazy Man Michael" and "Fotheringay" are 2 of the most beautiful songs ever written), I really like to hear them perform traditional stuff.
This album has a slightly more laid-back feel at times to the preceeding "Bonny Bunch of Roses" with the new (acoustic) "Lady of Pleasure" and the trad. "Three Drunken Maidens" bringing a relaxed, pleasant feel to some of it. The overall feel of drunken revelry pervades most of the lyrics and music, and it's a fun album.
In one of it's more serious tracks, it also contains a contender for FC's best trad. ballad arrangement: the extended "Jack O'rion" - where Swarbrick interjects fiddle instrumentals at various points in the song to illustrate the lyrics with different feels.
Swarb brings a very British folky feel to the vocals, while the oft-overlooked Simon Nichol puts in the occaisional rich vocal, too (his fine vocals are beautifully featured on most of the post-reunion Fairport of the mid-80s to the present).
A fine example of mostly-traditional British folk in a rock context.