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Music Reviews

FAIRPORT CONVENTION/WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES? (Green Linnet Records GLCD3122)

It’s been some time since Fairport Convention has had any personnel changes but nothing lasts forever. Multi-instrumentalist Martin Allcock decided to leave last year to pursue other interests and was replaced by Chris Leslie. Chris plays violin, mandolin, and guitar as well as handling some of the vocal duties. He appears to fit nicely into the band and his violin skills, coupled with those of Ric Sanders, now give the band a duel violin option when appropriate.

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" contains 12 tracks. 10 are new studio tracks and 2 live tracks are thrown in for good measure. The first live track is a version of "Heard It Through The Grapevine" recorded at Fairport’s annual Cropredy festival in 1995. It features guests Richard Thompson & Roy Wood. The second is a new recording of "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" from March of 1997. The live tracks certainly weren’t necessary to the album but make for a nice bonus for Fairport fans.

The studio tracks show the band to be in fine form. Fairport Convention is a band of extremely talented musicians who consistently produce exceptional work. They helped create the English Folk-Rock sound almost 30 years ago and even through many personnel changes remain masters of that genre. Simon Nicol, the only founding member still present, has developed into one of the best male vocalists on the scene. Ric Sanders is continually impressive on violin and the rhythm section of Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks is always solid.

One of Fairport’s biggest assets has always been their ability to choose great material to perform and this release is no exception. Whether it be original, traditional, or from outside writers the band’s musical taste is impeccable. The standout tracks here are "Wishfulness Waltz", "Dangerous", "The Bowman’s Retreat", and "Spanish Main".

This release is an early candidate for the "Best of ‘98" list and will fit nicely into anyone’s folk-rock collection.