Fairport Convention

The Lasting Spirit: The Collection

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This Fairport Convention triple-CD set represents a startlingly good idea that comes off well -- a compilation of live performances from across the group's history, intermingling class concert recordings from back as far as the late '60s with much more recent work from the Cropredy Festival. What one comes away appreciating anew is just how good a rock band Fairport has been for most of its history -- at their best, in fact, as represented here (including recent performances by Richard Thompson), they come off as at least as good a rock band as, say, Jethro Tull is a folk outfit, if not better. The sound is good, even on the older material (which goes back to Julie Dyble's tenure with the group), and the selection covers a huge range of repertory, some of which will surprise and delight casual fans who may not know all of the strings to this band's bow.

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