Various Artists

Glastonbury Fayre Festival [3-LP Re-release]

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In 1972, the organizers of the Glastonbury Fayre released an amazingly lavish, triple album set to raise funds for the fair. Only 5,000 copies were pressed up, and although bootlegged version have appeared over the years, the rare originals invariably traded for sizeable sums. Rarity begot misconceptions, not least being that the set was recorded live at Glastonbury itself. Some of it was indeed, including Mighty Baby, both Pink Fairies tracks, the Edgar Broughton Band and Daevid Allen and Gong. Others were indeed recorded live -- like the Grateful Dead's side-long "Dark Star...Bury" extravaganza, and the original, unmixed version of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" (barely recognizable here as the hit that would soon devour the planet) -- but on other stages: the Dead were captured at Wembley Stadium earlier that year, and Hawkwind at the Roundhouse. Marc Bolan and Pete Townshend handed over more personal offerings, a song each recorded at their respective homes, while other artists delivered unreleased studio recordings. All told, it was a stunning set, and priced at a snip under four pounds, an astounding bargain. The Akarma label has lovingly remastered the albums for CD release, reproducing both the original artwork and the sumptuous, 32-page booklet, which attempted to convey in words and photos the feel, excitement and joie de vivre of the festival in its infancy. You won't get the poster, cut-out pyramid, and geodesic dome, though, but you do get a DVD of Glastonbury Fayre -- The Movie, Peter Neal's 87-minute, rarely shown documentary of the 1971 festival. Intense interest in the film can be explained only by it being rarely seen, for David Bowie's non-appearance, its mediocre camera work (surprisingly courtesy of Nicolas Roeg), and dodgy sound does not a great movie make. Still there's lots of gratuitous mud bathing, a soul-ripping number from Family, a riveting one from Quintessence, and a storming performance from Traffic. Now this long sought-after set and desperately scoured-for film are legitimately available, so fans can finally see and hear it all as it was meant to be. The past brought vividly back to life. [A CD-only version of the festival was also released.]

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