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Fairport Convention - Jewel In The Crown CD (album) cover


Fairport Convention


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3.76 | 16 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Slipjigs and reels

This album is very well crafted; everything from the cover art to the production, to the instrumental prowess are top notch. The album is further helped by being weakly conceptual and it holds together really well. The concept, I take to be loosely about the British Empire and its history and imperialism, etc. But also about modern versus traditional life and values.

There are perhaps no real standout tracks like the excellent and quite progressive Wounded Whale from the previous album, but there are also very few weak spots here. The only tracks that I don't really like very much are the two last ones. These two songs are a bit too jolly and bar sing-a-long- like for my taste. But, in relation to the somewhat darker material, these songs fit in anyway. The strongest point is the variation - there is a perfect mix of instrumentals and songs. And many different moods are explored - from jolly to depressing.

Overall this album is musically and lyrically darker and more serious than I expected from this band - the title track even comments on contemporary politics (this was released in 1995 but these lyrics ring even more true today). Diamonds And Gold is about the sexual industry (I think).

The instrumental attack on this album is fairly powerful and very diverse with the usual guitars, bass, drums, fiddle and vocals being augmented with mandolin, accordion, tambourine, bodhran, lap steel guitar, piano and various keyboard and percussion instruments and more. The backing vocals are also strong. The album is much more consistent than the previous Five Seasons. The instrumental jig A Surfeit Of Lampreys is probably the closest to Prog that we come on this album. This piece is also one of the few pieces on this album that the band wrote all by themselves - the majority of the album consisting of other people's songs and traditional material. I usually do not rate albums consisting of mostly covers with more than three stars, but I make an exception here. This is really worth it!

A very good album, highly recommended for fans of this band and of British Folk rock in general, and fans of Prog Folk might enjoy it too - I certainly do!

Now, I will try to find some of this band's 80's albums.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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