Fairport Convention

Bunny Bunch of Roses - Vertigo 1977

Tracks: 1. Jams O'Donnells Jig / 2. The Eynsham Poacher / 3. Adieu, Adieu / 4. The Bonny Bunch of Roses / 5. The Poor Ditching Boy / 6. General Taylor / 7. Run Johnny Run/ 8. The Last Waltz / 9. Royal Seleccion No. 13


Fairport's "The Bonny Bunch of Roses" was their come-back to form after the extremely disappointing "Gottle O'Geer". Sandy Denny, Jerry Donahue, Trevor Lucas and Dave Mattacks had all left since 1975, but the return of Simon Nicol apparently brought new life and inspiration to the band.

Musically they'd returned to the style of their early 1970's Island albums, mixing traditional material with new original songs by the band-.members themselves or old friend and previous member Richard Thompson. In fact, the stand-out song on the album is Thompson's "The Poor Ditching Song", a song Thompson alsp recorded for his first outstanding solo-album "Henry the Human Fly".

A couple of great instrumentals were included on most Fairport albums; this also goes for this one. Here one is written by bassist Dave Pegg and the other is a medley of old tunes. These instrumentals really gave the band members a chance to demonstrate their musical virtuosity.

Vocally fiddler Dave Swarbrick was usually in front, but on this album the lead vocals appear to have been fairly shared, with both Pegg and Nicol taking some. Actually strong vocal harmonies were another of the band's trademarks. Swarbrick wrote another stand-out original to the album, "The Last Waltz" and the inclusion of a Ralph McTell song, "Run, Johnny Run", was a surprise, but it fits in very nicely.

The 12 minutes title-track is powerful, but may be felt somwhat long-winded. Another old tradtional track "General Taylor" probably works better, and at least to this reviewer, the song is much more appealing.

The album was recorded for the Vertigo label as was the follow-up "Tippler's Tales". Then the intervals between their albums began to grow bigger and the band rarely appeared in the headlines of rock-magazines.

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