It’s been 19 years since I listened to this album. I never knew you could get it on vinyl until I found this so thats a good thing that you can I suppose.
It’s pleasant enough, some nice reworking of old songs and some nice enough then new songs, as well as the cringeworthy Crowd song.
People who are new to Fairport Convention generally really like the current lineup, let’s face it this is the longest lasting lineup of Fairport Convention in the history of the band so consistency is everything I suppose.
It’s not a bad album, it’s just not as great as they have done. I watched Simon Nicol say on the John Peel youtube channel about Fairport Convention that the thing that saves them as a touring and recording band is that they have never had a truly defining great album. This has allowed them to go on creating music. I am sure there are many who would disagree with this statement, however it is easy to find flaws in all their albums of one sort or another, not enough guitar, not enough fiddle, too sappy, too happy or too drunk, who knows. So based on that logic this album is as good as all the others.
The truth is if you ask any Fairport fan to name their favorite album you will probably get a different one for every person you ask. Ask them about gigs though and thats where they light up tales of Peggy chasing people with a large inflatable banana, Simon fluffing his lines, Swarb causing trouble an grinning mischievously and drinking an entire bottle of wine during the bass solo, or was it port, Maart and his sarcasm, Mattacks and his cowbell, Rowland and his tambourine, Ric’s cosmic violin and Chris Leslie maybe being the nicest musician ever. The bad jokes, the musical pyrotechnics, Sandy’s shyness, Thompsons laconic wit and Iain’s youthful looks and amazing vocals, and Judy’s smile and the day Robert Plant strolled onto the stage.
XXV is as good or as flawed as all the others, there are moments of beauty and then the fluffed lines, it all sounded better live and damn I wish Simon would play electric guitar again.
Continuing the ageless Fairport tradition of bad album covers.