Release Date: Mar 2, 2015
Record label: Matty Grooves
As a successor to their 2012 cover album, By Popular Request, Myths And Heroes is a very polished and satisfying collection that will please Fairport’s faithful. As usual, they show great taste in picking cover material, with Ralph McTell (Clear Water), PJ Wright (Home) and Anna Ryder (Bring Me Back My Feathers) all receiving the Fairport treatment. But this time around, Fairport mainstay, singer and multi- instrumentalist Chris Leslie provides the real standouts.
Few bands can claim as illustrious a history as Fairport Convention while still finding themselves relegated to such relative obscurity as far as the general public is concerned. They have their followers to be sure—as evidenced by the annual festival they host each August in their native Oxfordshire in the UK—and yet considering the fact that literally dozens of distinguished alumni have traveled in and out of their ranks (Richard Thompson and the late, departed Sandy Denny to name but two ) they remain to much of the world a mere footnote, a group vaguely recognized for their fusion of traditional British folk and the electricity of rock ‘n’ roll. That they’ve received such short thrift despite a history that spans nearly half a century and a musical style that’s both distinctive and distinguished in equal measure is criminal to say the least and absurd to say the most.
The phrase ‘living legends’ may well be an overused phrase these days, but it’s one undoubtedly one that applies to Fairport Convention. The doyens of the folk-rock movement have been recording and touring, in various incarnations, for an unbelievable 47 years and in that time they’ve counted stellar names such as Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick in the ranks. This current incarnation of Fairport Convention – founding member Simon Nicol together with Dave Pegg, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conway – has been together for 12 years and is now the longest-serving unchanged line-up.
It has been an extraordinary journey, and it’s certainly not over. Fairport Convention started out 48 years ago, and are still a rousing live act; now they present their first studio album in four years. They may be among the UK’s best-known folk-rockers, but there is no traditional material on this set, which bravely concentrates on new songs – and has a cover reminiscent of their 1970 album Full House.