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cover shotA Document of the End of an Era
Encore Encore (Farewell Farewell)
Fairport Convention
Originally released on vinyl in 1979 as "Farewell Farewell" (with a much-superior cover -- reproduced to the right), this is a documentation of Fairport's "Farewell Tour" before they broke up (and re-formed in '87 and continue to this day). It was re-released on CD once before, then went out-of-print, and is now available once again; the previous re-release added one bonus track, this one adds three more (the original LP ended with "Meet on the Ledge" as most live Fairport shows still do).

Fairport are definitely best seen live, and this album comes veryvery close to matching that experience.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only legitimate Fairport recording on which one can hear Swarbrick tearing up "Orange Blossom Special" -- it's almost worth it just for that. In one of her novels, SF author Emma Bull says of a band that the bass player "grabbed a handful of strings and began to climb the alphabet"; in answer to "How does he do that?", the reply is "Too much Fairport Convention as a child." Peggie's bass on this performance of "Orange Blossom Special" might have been the inspiration for that crack, and Bruce Rowland (who only just recently replaced Dave Mattacks on drums in Fairport again) is right there too, driving the rhythm and complementing Swarb's fiddle perfectly.

"Bridge on the River Ash", as usual, is a hoot -- all of the non-fiddler members of Fairport playing fiddles, with running commentary.

Given that we thought at the time that it was the end for Fairport, the performance of "Meet on the Ledge", which is about endings and beginnings again and friendship and loss and all the things Really Good Music is about, was a particularly poignant ending to the original album, here somewhat undercut by the inclusion of four bonus tracks after it, though the bonus tracks included are all excellent and well-worth having, particularly "Rubber Band" and "Flatback Caper".

Summing up -- an album worth having in and of itself, an important document of an important moment in Fairport's career, and a unique opportunity to hear any further proof you need that Dave Swarbrick is a Great Fiddler...