Fairport Convention

Who Knows?: 1975 The Woodworm Archives Series, Vol. 1

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For Sandy Denny fans, anything involving her is worthwhile, and fewer and fewer scraps turn up. This, however, found as Woodworm Studios was being cleared, is a lo-fi gem. Recorded at a gig in 1975, it presents Denny in wonderful form, with Fairport on tour after releasing Rising for the Moon (a vastly underappreciated disc). There's plenty of the familiar in the set, be they Fairport songs or Denny originals, and the band is in good form, dashing around curves just prior to falling apart -- which would come not long after. The sound is bootleg quality, but the performance more than makes up for that. There's a passion to Denny's voice that the studio never captured, and a sense of the blood being up, with a new drummer (Bruce Rowland) and Jerry Donahue wringing amazing passages from his guitar -- he's especially good on "Sloth." But newer and vintage material is equally fiery, with "One More Chance" a standout and "Rising for the Moon" far more beautiful in this live version. And, of course, they close with the anthemic "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" Given the sound quality, this isn't for everyone, but all Fairport and Sandy Denny fans should grab it fast.

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