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Red & Gold

Fairport Convention

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Album Review

Though their most famous albums were over a decade past by the late '80s, Fairport Convention was still releasing albums that were good enough to convert new listeners. Red & Gold is a case in point, an assured and enjoyable album of the band's trademark mix of English folk and rock. Simon Nicol's vocal on the title cut is worth the price of the album by itself; it's as sure and passionate a track as he's ever cut, a sorrowful account of a great battle as seen by a peasant farmer who doesn't understand why it's all happening. In fact, the songs on this album all rank with the best of Fairport's later work. The only dud tracks are a pair of instrumentals that are curiously hectic and dense, with a strong emphasis on the midi guitar. Given that this was recorded when midi was a fairly new technology, it's hard not to conclude that the novelty of the sound led to its overuse. This is not to quibble, as least much, because there is much else on this album that makes it a very worthwhile listen.


Formed: 1967 in London, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The best British folk-rock band of the late '60s, Fairport Convention did more than any other act to develop a truly British variation on the folk-rock prototype by drawing upon traditional material and styles indigenous to the British Isles. While the revved-up renditions of traditional British folk tunes drew the most critical attention, the group members were also (at least at the outset) talented songwriters as well as interpreters. They were comfortable with conventional harmony-based folk-rock...
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