Still A Mystery

Mail from the United Kingdom bearing CD’s of great joy, Fairport Convention’s two new albums as we used to call them. One a copy of Babbacombe Lee Live Again, perhaps the greatest folk-rock opera if anyone needed one and the other a revisit of several Fairport favorites called By Popular Request. Now new Fairport Convention can be a double edged sword, it can be a wondrous excursion into English folk-song or a middle of the road competent album of OK songs.

So what is it this time? Well you cannott ever go wrong with live Fairport, unless the band are too refreshed and even then it can be fun. Babbacombe Lee was always one of my favorites and this live version updates it enough to make it new but is true enough to the original to make it what is should be the band having fun with an old favorite too. It is made all the more enjoyable by having been the center piece of last years Cropredy when Tom , Paul and I stood on hallowed ground once again to revel.

So on to the real dangerous item, Fairport revisit old favorites. This should also be a given you might think but not necessarily so as other such revisits have not been so successful, in fact they have often been the worst moment on otherwise alright albums.

So what makes this effort different. It is that it finally seems that the band have stopped acting like they are apologizing for not being the band we all loved in the 70’s and for some the 80’s, Maart is gone Swarb is gone as are all those other ex-members and what we have is an exciting band that can continue a legacy that is rich and add to it.

Fairport have looked at what made these songs the fans favorites, kept the seed of the original and embellished the songs with a new maturity and the love that they deserve. Let’s face it this band is a more accomplished band, they sing better, if without the dirty cackle of Swarb, and they can still rock the way they are supposed to. They have matured which is not always good but they are still a great band and this album is a good primer although some may be shocked when they seek out the original albums, which is also a good thing.

On a personal level Fairport Convention have been part of my life since 1979 when I discovered them as a 13 year old, Cropredy has been part of my life since 1982, I still can’t believe my Dad let me go. Hopefully we will make the festival this year but if not well one day we will meet on the ledge.

Fable of a Failed Race

Well another month of reading and a need to decide what to do with the blog. I’ve been happily writing away for myself with no depth and no consideration, it began as an enterprise to read the great s.f. books, morphed into a travelogue of our England journey and had returned to a record of my reading with vague ramblings that are intermittent.

Maybe the close of the year always does this but I may have to rethink.

Anyway the reading list from memory so with lapses:

  • Finished the Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus, my first excursion into steampunk, a lot of fun I would definitely recommend it.
  • On Basilisk Station by David Weber, it was fun, it was free and so is the next one, Horatio Hornblower in Space if you like that sor of thing go for it.
  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, a great idea let down by unsympathetic characters.
  • A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin, still reading it’s heavy going.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, very fun soaked in 80,s references a good book that could have been great if the ending was better, read it especially if you grew up in the 80’s.
  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock, a masterpiece everyone should read, go on have your expectations challenged.
  • The Drowned World by JG Ballard, more style than substance but a great book all the same, it;s really only let down by the quickly and shallowly drawn characters.
  • Flu by Wayne Simmons, zombies provisional IRA members what’s not to like.
  • The Men In The Jungle by Norman Spinrad, this may have been one of the most horrific, brutal, shocking and most important Science Fiction novels forgotten, if you abhor war read this.
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding, this was an engaging and fun book and may turn into a wonderful series, I am looking forward to the next one.
  • I tried to read Galactic Patrol by EE Doc Smith but had to give up
  • Dark at the End by F Paul Wilson, the Repariman Jack series along with Butcher’s Dresden books have been an ongoing obsession for many years, it looks like Jack’s days are numbered though.

Ok that was the most recent reading, we are most of the way through January now and I am just finishing this post now. I am going to rethink what I am doing with this blog, maybe I will try and get some readers you never know instead of using it as my journal of reading alone.