Fairport Convention

The Wood and the Wire - Woodworm Records - TECDO82- 2000

Tracks: 1. The Wood and the Wire / 2. The Dancer / 3. Wandering Man / 4. The Heart of the Song / 5. A Year and a Day / 6. The Game Pieces / 7. Close to You / 8. Still a Mystery / 9. Banbury Fair / 10. The Lady Vanishes / 11. The Good Fortunes / 12. Western Wind / 13. Don't Leave Too Soon / 14. Rocky Road


"The Wood and The Wire" is 2000 studio album from Fairport Convention. Dave Mattacks had by this time left the group and was replaced by another old Fairport friend, namely Gerry Conway. The group then consisted of Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conway, and this version of the group has proven to be the longest lasting in the history og the band Ė in fact, this line-up is still the current one by summer of 2014.

Musically the group appear insired and in great shape, and with the addition of Chris Leslie, the group has been giftes with a highly competent and versatile songwriter whose material fits perfectly with their sound and their strong basis in British folk music.

Leslie is credited as a songwriter or co-songwriter on more than half of the tracks and he also takes a very large portion of the lead vocals. His bright and fine voice complemented greatly though Simon Nicol deeper vocals, which helps to give the album a needed variety.

Instrumentally is the group most strongly occupied on all positions - old fans know what Pegg, Nicol and Conway stand for and Sandersí performances on the violin are nothing but impressive.

As always, Fairport Convention have included a couple of instrumentals, but otherwise itís the strong songs that make the album one of the bandís many memorable ones. "Banbury Fair", written and sung by Leslie is a great melodic number, and on the equally strong "The Dancer" Leslie shows that he can write catchy songs in a more upbeat tempo.

Vocally Nicol takes the lead strongly on great songs like "The Wood and the Wire" (Leslie / Stonier), "The Heart of the Song" (Scrowther), "The Lady Vanishes" (Leslie / Stonier) and "Western Wind" (trad). It is also Nicol who handles the vocals on the album's only real rocker "Still a Mystery" also written by Leslie and Stonier.

A great album and the first in the series from this new constellation of Fairport Convention, which over the past nearly 15 years has released several equally memorable albums.

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