Fairport Convention

Journeyman's Grace

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Titled for one of Fairport's best loved classics, but recorded somewhat more recently than that, Journeyman's Grace is, in fact, a perfectly serviceable double-disc snapshot of a 2003 concert in Canterbury, England. The Nicol/Pegg/Sanders/Leslie/Conway lineup sparkles, and the pace is frequently relentless. It's hard indeed to believe this band was moving in on its 40th anniversary at the time, and the energies are matched only by the humor, and the usual bag of surprising selections. Paramount here is the theme from MASH, in its "Suicide Is Painless" disguise, which spirals into a delirious "Matty Groves" (via a taste of "End of a Holiday"), to become one of those irresistible Fairport marathons, coming in at more than 12 minutes of strong, stomping good fun. The band's own history is retold through such classics as a sprightly "Meet on the Ledge," a driving "Walk Awhile" and a triumphant "Rosie," and in a world which really may have seen enough Fairport live albums to last most of you a lifetime, this is one of the ones that ensures that you'll keep listening for more. On their night, there's nothing like them. And this was one such night.

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