4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Still going strong but....,
This review is from: XXXV: The 35th Anniversary Album (Audio CD)
Mainly I would like to respond (again!) to those who will never forgive Fairport Convention for continuing on without Denny, Thompson, and Swarbirck. To invalidate the fine music this band has created over the last 20 years is, to me, frustratingly narrow-minded. I'm really sorry you're personal heroes aren't in the band anymore. Really, I am. But get over it! I love Liege and Leaf, too; but you know what? It's starting to sound horribly dated. The fact is, records (OK, CDs) like "Old, New, Borrowed, Blue", "Jewel on the Crown", "Red and Gold", and "Wood and the Wire" show at LEAST as much depth and musicanship as L&L and FAR more than the dismally recorded "Full House." (Note: the live "House Full" shows how good that particular line up really was.)
That said, I must admit XXXV is not up to the Band's usual standards. It's OK..certainly worth having if you are a fan. Still, it sounds like they may have rushed this one a bit. Many of the the performances sound, to me, like the band wasn't quite rehearsed enough to perform them with confidence. "The Banks of the Sweet Primroses" is a good example. The arrangement is pretty much identical to the 1970 version and done with much less energy. What was the point? And "The Deserter" is an excellent song...but do we need another---identical---version?
There are moments: "Madeline" and "Neil Gow's Apprentice" rank with Fairport's best, I think. "My Love is in America" is also a fine track. There are others; this is by no means a bad record. I doubt it will win them any new fans, though.
And yes, Chris Leslie is no Richard Thompson. But then, Richard Thompson is no Chris Leslie. Metallica is no Bruce Springsteen. And Bruce Sprinsteen is no Tina Turner. What exactly do mindless comparisons indicate about ANY of these artists? Besides, if Chris Leslie sounded just like RT, the detractors would only complain he is merely a pale imitation.
If you like Fairport Convention, I think you'll enjoy this record. If you're new to the band, start with something else. "Red and Gold" would be my recommendation.