FAir­porT CoN­veN­TioN

UNCUT - - Archive - Cel­e­brat­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the folk-rock pi­o­neers STEPHEN DEUSNER

Come All Ye: The First Ten Years UNi­ver­SAl 8/10 In Fair­port’s first decade, more than 20 mu­si­cians joined and left the band, some last­ing only a few weeks (drum­mer david Rea) and oth­ers re­turn­ing af­ter years away (drum­mer dave Mat­tacks). The mer­cu­rial mem­ber­ship al­lowed Fair­port to de­velop in fits and starts, start­ing out with cov­ers of Amer­i­can rock tunes be­fore even­tu­ally find­ing their true mis­sion re­viv­ing cen­turiesold folk tunes like the epic “Tam Lin” (from their 1969 break­through Liege & Lief ) and the rol­lick­ing “When First Into This Coun­try” (from 1976’s Got­tle O’Geer). The early line­ups re­main the most com­pelling, partly due to the con­tri­bu­tions of singer Sandy denny and gui­tarist Richard Thomp­son, both of whom en­joyed even greater suc­cess away from the group. Mostly, how­ever, it’s due to the fact that the en­tire idea of Bri­tish folk rock was still new and rev­o­lu­tion­ary in the late 1960s. This 7Cd boxset, which marks the group’s half­cen­tury with 55 pre­vi­ously un­re­leased tracks, puts as much em­pha­sis on their mid-1970s out­put, when fid­dler dave Swar­brick and bassist dave Pegg were guid­ing the band through the bogs of Bri­tish his­tory.

ex­tras: 8/10. Al­most half of the boxset’s 121 tracks are pre­vi­ously un­re­leased live cuts, al­ter­nate takes, rar­i­ties and cov­ers: a wealth of new ma­te­rial for diehard fans. Best may be denny singing the ti­tle track solo, turn­ing folk rock’s great­est ral­ly­ing cry into an in­can­ta­tion to the muse.

Natalie Mer­chant: once a Ma­niac…

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