Fairport Convention

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of Fairport Convention

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This is hardly "the best of Fairport Convention," focusing as it does on a pretty slim slice of their career. All of these ten songs were done within about a year and a half of each other between 1968 and 1970. As it happens, this is the peak of their career, and the phase that saw them progress into interesting variations on folk-rock with each album, from a more balanced base to a more avowedly British traditional one. But it's a small sample nevertheless. It draws two or three tracks apiece from the albums What We Did on Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking, Liege & Lief, and Full House. It does include several of the songs that most fans and critics would value among the best of the band's output -- "Meet on the Ledge," "Fotheringay," "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," "Percy's Song," "Matty Groves," "Sloth," and "Now Be Thankful." Even here, though, there's plenty of room for questioning, particularly with the omission of "Tam Lin" (perhaps their best-known song in America) and "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (which was their only British hit single). Since all of the albums from which these songs are taken are regarded as notable works in their own right, and since there's a much more comprehensive two-CD anthology of the band's early work (Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years (1967-1975), this disc can only be viewed as something of use to very casual listeners, though the music it contains is good.

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