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Author Topic: Fairport Convention  (Read 7678 times)
richardkendell
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« on: August 11, 2019, 04:23:17 PM »

Well the first half of the set seemed a bit pedestrian to me. Things improved later. I am not sure that a multitude of "special guests" helps the general coherence of the set. I enjoyed it but I have enjoyed past performances a lot more
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Wandering Steve
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 04:29:18 PM »

After watching FC last night it’s apparent simons voice is starting to go.
His annual murdering of who knows where the time goes is now becoming farcical,it was written for a female singer and yet he stubbornly carries on ruining a fantastic song every year.
It’s clear his vocal range is now becoming limited and lacks the power it once did.
Some songs he just about managed (red and gold) but most were pale imitations.
I’m not suggesting he completely stops singing and he is still musically brilliant but there comes a time when you need a quiet word....
FC has always been about evolution band member wise and after watching Richard Thompson’s wonderful set and his still amazing voice the contrast between that set and fairports who are now lacking a quality singer was night and day.
It’s time to bring in some new blood to help with the vocals
Not a guest but a new addition.
Musically the band are still spot on but vocally weak and I’d hate to see a Brian Wilson scenario where no one has the honesty to tell them....
I could have listened to a Richard Thompson lead FC all night which I kind of did on Friday but Saturday was at times painfull and in need of a much needed boost.
The music can be as great as you like but if the singing is not spot on then it’s the first thing you notice...
I’m sure il get pelters from others who would listen to the band even if they sang in a different key to the music but for me it was a watershed moment.
Simon is struggling,Peggy is no singer and Chris although fine wasn’t in as good a voice as previous years.
I hope something changes and next year sees fresh impetus.
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Sue & Chris
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2019, 04:29:30 PM »

A solid year, I thought.  The Fairport Extension thing worked pretty well (take a bow, PJ Wright), and the setlist contained some nice surprises.  I came to Fairport during the Maart era, so it was great to hear the likes of Claudy Banks, Wat Tyler, Honour & Praise, Red and Gold, Bankruptured, and of course The Wounded Whale.  All nicely done.  A lovely tribute to Maart as well - the touching speech from his wife and the photo/music montage, along with Simon visibly choking up - it was all quite emotional.  Strangely more so than last year.

Of the 'classics', I thought John the Gun was great, but I'm sorry to say that Polly on the Shore is not a song that Dave Pegg should be singing.  If Simon didn't want to do it, surely PJ Wright would have been the obvious substitute?  In the event, it was...not good.  I quite enjoyed Chris Leslie's latest song (in what seems a long line) about someone being isolated from their loved ones/the world - although the video montage thing with him in the middle didn't work at all.  So I looked at the actual moon - high and clear in the sky by then - and the song worked a certain charm.  I was pleased that there weren't many non-Fairport songs in the set - as the set gets shorter these seem ever more superfluous.  The finale featured a better than average John Gaudie and Matty Groves (the banjo version), and MOTL worked its charm as ever.  

Overall, if not a vintage year then certainly a good one.  Several of my friends who regularly come to Cropredy but are not particularly Fairport fans really enjoyed them this year - far more than they tend to do in the 'landmark' years.  
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Jim
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2019, 04:34:31 PM »

Time to ditch the banjo on Matty was years ago. It was a novel idea, pinched from the Sandy Denny all star tour, that was good once.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2019, 05:12:05 PM »

Maybe I have cloth ears, but I didn't think Simon's vocals were that bad.  Took a couple of songs to warm up, maybe, but his singing on the Maart-era material seemed fine to me.  I don't mind his version of WKWTTG, and it didn't seem much different than usual.
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Will S
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2019, 05:17:26 PM »

Not sure I understand the comments about Simon's voice.  I was down the front for the whole set, and didn't get the feeling he was struggling at all.  I began the set feeling a bit down generally about things but after the first few songs they moved up into what i would classify as one of the classic Cropredy performances (in my experience, I add - I didn't see many of the early ones).  The Fairport Extension really helped with some of the arrangements, and it was wonderful to hear a number of the Maart-era songs - especially The Wounded Whale, but also Honour and Praise, Claudy Banks, Wat Tyler...  Sally Barker's Dark The Night and John the Gun were wonderful.  Peggy singing Polly on the Shore was a mistake though.

And I love hearing Ric and Chris doing their violin duetting on WKWTTG.  It just lifts the whole song to another level.

So the whole set capped an almost perfect (musically) weekend for me.
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2019, 05:17:36 PM »

Steve, I think that is very harsh. Granted some of the vocals from all concerned did seem a little strained and there were unusual choices, but it picked up a lot as the set went on.
Thursdays acoustic set sounded as strong as ever.

Valid points, but maybe you should give allowances for things unknown to us, or just the mix was off.
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David W
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2019, 05:18:33 PM »

Simon's voice has lost a bit of resonance no doubt, Peggy singing Polly was odd when PJ s available. Liked the extension and a the talent of Maart shone through.

8.5/10
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Wandering Steve
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2019, 05:36:45 PM »


Steve, I think that is very harsh. Granted some of the vocals from all concerned did seem a little strained and there were unusual choices, but it picked up a lot as the set went on.
Thursdays acoustic set sounded as strong as ever.

Valid points, but maybe you should give allowances for things unknown to us, or just the mix was off.

Just my opinion Colin
Didn’t see the acoustic set as I knew there were a couple of chances later in the week instead watched the excellent mr tea and the minions at the brase.
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Field 7 is Heaven (Trev)
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2019, 06:32:06 PM »

OK ,voices are like everything else,they depreciate with age.

For Simon to still be so good is truly exceptional. I was a decent fast bowler forty years ago,but i doubt i could bowl out a five year old now.

I thought the Saturday set of 2019 was well thought out, and that version of John The Gun was wonderful.

The voices may be aging but the playing remains top draw.

Long may they continue, although they should consider adding Sally Barker ( or someone of similar class) as a member, some Sandy songs need to be sung by a female voice, I think WKWTTG is one of them.
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Nick Reg
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2019, 06:37:48 PM »

John The Gun was fantastic. Sally nailed it.
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2019, 07:12:44 PM »

I think those comments about Simon’s voice are unpleasantly harsh - especially given he sometimes reads this board. He was clearly (to me) emotional about WKWTTG, especially with Georgia there, and he did say he would ‘attempt to get through it’.  I don’t expect people to be clinically perfect - might as well stay home and listen to a cd, I think - I’d rather they made me feel the emotion of a song. Simon did that very well.
No, I’m not a sycophant, but I try to be constructive, not unpleasant, in my criticism. Yes, performers do hit ‘bum notes’ , that’s life. It was a flipping miracle the Saturday went ahead and no doubt the band were pretty shattered with the tension too and that affects voices.

Job well done chaps....thanks.
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johnmitch93
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2019, 07:24:03 PM »

Great to hear Red and Gold... Grin
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GubGub (Al)
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2019, 07:37:40 PM »

There was some discussion/concern from those of us listening to the radio about the state of Simon's voice early on. Any issue is of course cruelly exposed by a broadcast. I just wondered whether maybe he had a cold or it had been affected by the weather. It definitely improved later on, especially on the Maart era material. I agree though that Peggy choosing to sing Polly On The Shore was an odd and unsuccessful decision
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Adam
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2019, 08:14:31 PM »

Voice sounded fine to me; maybe where you were sitting had an impact?
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David W
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2019, 08:15:39 PM »


Voice sounded fine to me; maybe where you were sitting had an impact?


Just checked Radio coverage and he does sound as if he was struggling.

DW
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Henry Tompkins (Pete)
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« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2019, 08:50:16 PM »


“ or just the mix was off. “


Colin, the “mix” would have the ability to make the voice/voices too loud, or not loud enough during a performance, but it certainly couldn’t affect the pitch.
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2019, 08:55:01 PM »

I've listened through radio coverage, and my general thought is that it probably sounded a lot better when the PA was resonating through your chest!! John the Gun however was superb, and definitely the high point of the set.
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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2019, 09:24:50 PM »



“ or just the mix was off. “

Colin, the “mix” would have the ability to make the voice/voices too loud, or not loud enough during a performance, but it certainly couldn’t affect the pitch.

I was thinking muffled, hence not strong. There were a couple of acts where some performers were so far down in the mix that they might as well not have been there (the girl in Gogol Bordello). The level and equalisation can definitely make the pitch sound wrong.
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2019, 10:23:14 PM »




“ or just the mix was off. “

Colin, the “mix” would have the ability to make the voice/voices too loud, or not loud enough during a performance, but it certainly couldn’t affect the pitch.

I was thinking muffled, hence not strong. There were a couple of acts where some performers were so far down in the mix that they might as well not have been there (the girl in Gogol Bordello). The level and equalisation can definitely make the pitch sound wrong.


I don't think it was that. That wouldn't affect the radio sound but if Simon could not hear himself it would definitely have had an impact. So if the onstage sound was out of whack that could be a cause. Were they using monitors or earpieces? I don't recall seeing Fairport using the latter previously.
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