Fairport Convention

The Cropredy Box

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This three-disc set was recorded live in August of 1997 at Fairport Convention's annual Cropredy Festival. In 1997 Fairport celebrated their 30th year of existence, and this concert was an attempt to chronicle the various periods of the band's storied career by reassembling their most significant lineups. Original vocalist Judy Dyble, who only sang on one recording, showed up to help represent Fairport's debut record, and Vikki Clayton was enlisted to sing the part of the late Sandy Danny, which she did with amazing accuracy. Founding member Ashley Hutchings served as narrator as well as bassist/vocalist to represent his abbreviated tenure with the group in the late '60s. The expected participants were present in full regalia. Dave Swarbrick and Richard Thompson -- who, along with Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks, helped make up the most powerful and talented of the various Fairport configurations -- injected some modernized fiddle and guitar licks into the old standards. Even lesser-known '70s members like guitarist Jerry Donahue and drummer Bruce Rowland represented their respective stints with the band. Although he never recorded with Fairport, guitarist Dan Ar Braz toured with them in the mid-'70s, and on this recording he played and sang lead on the Beatles' "Rain." Ralph McTell, whose songs are routinely covered by Fairport, performed as a member of the offshoot band the GPs, along with Thompson, Pegg, and Mattacks. And, of course, guitarist and singer Simon Nicol (who, along with Pegg and Mattacks, is the longest-standing regular member) contributed his distinct vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar. Eighties' members Martin Allcock and Ric Sanders, along with Allcock's eventual replacement, Chris Leslie, hopped onstage at their appropriate cues to bring this fascinating musical documentary up to date. Nicol refers to such recordings -- and there have been numerous Cropredy Festival recordings released in the '80s and '90s -- as mementos for Fairport Convention's devout fans. The Cropredy Box is sure to be a prized possession for those devotees.

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