Fairport Convention

Fairport Convention - Polydor 1968

Tracks: 1. Time Will Show the Wiser / 2. I Don't Know Where I Stand / 3. If (Stomp) / 4. Decameron / 5. Jack O'Diamonds / 6. Portfolio / 7. Chelsea Morning / 8. Sun Shade / 9. Lobster / 10. It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft / 11. One Sure Thing / 12. M.1 Breakdown / 13. Suzanne [*] / 14. If I Had a Ribbon Bow [*] / 15. Morning Glory [*] / 16. Reno, Nevada [*]

Comments:

Fairport Conventionís first album only shows very fleeting glimpses of what musical direction the group would later take. With a line-up without Dave Swarbrick and Sandy Denny's just very little is shown of the British folk-tradition which the group would later become an exponent of.

In the vocal front are the bright voices of Ian Matthews and Judy Dyble. Musically the material is either American or very American inspired. Two of the album's strongest songs "Chelsea Morning" and "I Donít Know Where I Stand" are written by Joni Mitchell, and both songs fit nicely little Dyble's somewhat thin and Mary Hopkins-like vocals.

The album's stand-out track, however, is the opening track "Time Will Show the Wiser" written by Emitt Rhodes which both vocally and instrumentally is terrific. Richard Thompson's guitar is impressive, not only on this song, but the whole album through.

Another great song is "Decameron", which is alittle in the same vein as "Fotheringay" from the next album. The song was written by Thompson in collaboration with a couple of fairly unknown songwriters, Paul Ghosh and Andrew Horvitch. These three are also behind the more anonymous "Sun Shade".

"If (Stomp)" is a collaboration between Thompson and Matthews, and a little atypical song for the group - a little good time music ala Mamas & Papas or the Lovin 'Spoonful. "Jack O'Diamonds" is a straightforward rocker with lyrics by Bob Dylan.

The rest of the album is only to some extent interesting, and you sense that the group is not yet fully aware of which direction their music should go.

The bonus numbers are quite interesting, but no more. Curiously the group chose as their first single to do a cover version of an old pop song from 1936; "If I Had a Ribbon Bow".


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