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FAIRPORT CONVENTION/THE CROPREDY BOX (Woodworm Records WR3CD026)

This 3-disc set is the latest addition to the line of "official" bootleg releases of the annual Fairport Convention reunion concerts. The 1997 concert, which this set presents, was a celebration of the bandís thirtieth anniversary. As usual the current lineup is joined by an assortment of past members and friends who collectively perform an overview of the bandís entire history.

The fact that Fairport Convention has only met with limited success in the US is a musical tragedy. Theyíve always been, are currently, and always will be one of the most important bands in the folk-rock genre. This is a band thatís served as a springboard for members to successfully branch out on their own and extend into the direction of their choice. The F.C. family tree includes the likes of Steeleye Span, Richard Thompson, The Hellecasters, Sandy Denny, Iain Matthews, The Albion Band, Ashley Hutchings, Fotheringay, Plainsong, Dave Swarbrick, Simon Nicol, and The GPs among others. Some met with even greater success, some didnít, but theyíve all consistently produced exceptional works as has each subsequent lineup of F.C. Itís simply a matter of talent and vision.

This release is the best of the "official" bootlegs and is absolutely essential for any folk-rock fan. Songs such as "Time Will Show The Wiser," "Now Be Thankful," "Rosie," and "Meet On The Ledge" are presented here in fiery versions. Fans of Richard Thompsonís guitar work will be thrilled because he really shines in this outing. (as opposed to his bad days when heís just a little better than everyone else) The set includes 33 songs in all, 32 recorded live at the festival and one studio track. A tape of an April fools joke is tacked onto the last disc as personal gift to longtime fans. (an "Explicit Swarbrick" warning sticker is also present as Dave Swarbrick is the target of said joke)

Fairport has always been more than just a band, itís really a whole attitude about music, and a having a great time. The bandís fans already know this and are a very devoted following. They probably already own this set, and many were even present the weekend it was recorded. For those of you who arenít that familiar with the band but enjoy folk-rock this set is the perfect introduction. Itís available only through Woodworm Records. (use the Fairport Convention Homepage link to the left) The bandís latest studio effort is also reviewed on my site (see link to the left) and is available in the US through Green Linnet Records.