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It Suits Me Well - the Transatlantic Anthology (Digital Edition)

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Album Review

Between 1976 and 1983, Fairport Convention fiddler Dave Swarbrick recorded four albums for Transatlantic. Well, not exactly: the first two were for Transatlantic and the final two for Logo, the label that Transatlantic changed its name to, while in between the Transatlantic stints were two late-'70s albums for Sonet. The first disc of this two-CD set draws from these 1976-1983 Transatlantic/Logo releases (and not at all from the Sonet LPs), while the second disc is of perhaps more interest to serious Swarbrick fans, consisting of material from BBC broadcasts of the Cambridge Folk Festival of Dave Swarbrick & Friends (from 1980) and Swarbrick's band Whippersnapper (from 1984). Since all four of Swarbrick's Transatlantic/Logo albums can be heard in their entirety on a couple of two-for-one CD repackages, it can be fairly wondered whether it was necessary to reissue the material in this form. Presumably a good many of Swarbrick's admirers already have everything from the Transatlantic/Logo albums in some form or another, and might be buying two CDs worth of music for just one disc of material they don't already have. If you don't happen to have much or any solo Swarbrick, though, this is a fair representation of his solo work from the era, emphasizing the tracks either featuring Swarbrick in a duo setting with Martin Carthy, or those on which he's backed by the lineup that played on Fairport Convention's 1970 Full House album, excluding his more ceilidh-oriented material. With just one vocal track (a cover of the Sandy Denny composition "It Suits Me Well"), it does sound rather like an instrumental version of 1970s Fairport, with an even more traditional folk orientation and prominent fiddle, as the majority of the selections are traditional numbers with Swarbrick arrangements. Songs with vocals are more of a presence on the live Cambridge Folk Festival broadcasts, which don't duplicate any of the songs from the studio sessions on disc one. What a pity that nowhere does it say, in the otherwise well-annotated booklet, which of the BBC tracks come from what year. Overall, it's a set of well-done British fiddle folk that should please much of the Fairport faithful, though those with a more limited taste for the most traditional- and fiddle-fed part of Fairport's persona might find it leans too hard in certain directions.


Born: 05 April 1947 in New Malden, Surrey, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Dave Swarbrick is one of England's most influential fiddlers. As a member of Fairport Convention, between 1970 and 1979, Swarbrick was instrumental in the band's transformation from Byrds-style folk-rock band to its focus on updating the jigs and reels on Great Britain. Although he's continued to perform at the Fairport Annual Reunion Festival in Cropedy, Swarbrick has successfully explored a variety of outside projects as a soloist, a duo partner of Martin Carthy, Simon Nicol, Alistair Hulett, and...
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