Release Date: Jul 28, 2017
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, British Folk-Rock
At 121 tracks, a running time of nearly nine (NINE!) hours and 55 unreleased songs, it's somewhat redundant to say this seven-disc boxset documenting the first decade of Fairport Convention's life is strictly for the hardcore. Sadly - and herein lies the lament of the wallet-destroying boxset - in Come All Ye are songs that would convert a non-believer at 10 paces. So what's in the box? Pretty much everything a Fairport fan could want, but it's Sandy obsessives who'll have the best time.
There are 55 unreleased tracks here to tempt owners of the many previous Fairport box sets, and 2010's Sandy Denny monument. What becomes clear, as Denny wanders in and out of the picture, is how she and Fairport defined each other. Though 1969's Liege & Lief was the template for English folk rock, Unhalfbricking, released six months before, finds the band's own material at its best.
The Fairport Convention of 2017 is sedated and genteel. Their annual festival Cropredy is always populated with well heeled, mostly middle-class fans who have come to expect beautifully played music drawn from an English folk heritage. Nothing wrong with that at all. What the Fairport Convention of 2017 isn't, is groundbreaking.