Fairport Convention – Rising for the Moon

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Island Records release this Deluxe Edition of Rising for the Moon as is their want with classic albums. Here they tempt fans with the original album, some demos and a complete live set from the L.A. Troubadour.
1974 saw the return of Sandy Denny to the Fairport Family but all was not well with the line up, drummer Dave Mattacks took his leave and Rising for the Moon signalled the end of the band’s time with Island. What of the music? For most folk I know, Fairport = Sandy but the times have been a-changing. Richard Thompson was gone and now Dave Swarbrick’s earthy vocals and full on fiddle playing clearly highlight the different incarnation of Fairport.

Happily, Sandy Denny’s vocals ring clear and pure with echoes of the glorious, classic past. ‘White Dress’ is stunningly perfect (who could resist Sandy’s invitation to take her dancing?) while Dave Swarbrick’s ‘Let it Go’ is a classic example of the Fairport of the future. Holding everything together are two excellent Denny compositions: ‘Stranger to Himself’ and ‘What is True’ to balance out the awful ‘Night Girls’. There are some lovely moments to be found here, like ‘After Halloween’, for example. Jerry Donahue’s guitar is a welcome feature throughout and Dave Pegg’s bass keeps everything solid.

The treasure to be unearthed is the live set at The L.A. Troubadour, as it contains classic versions of ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes?’ and ‘Matty Groves’. The performance is a top drawer folk rock epic, although I can live without ‘That’ll be the Day’.

Fairport Convention’s legions of fans may already own the original album but even so this release is worth the price for the live set and even more so because of the haunting alternative version of ‘Dawn’. Magic.

Words: Keefy How

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