Recommended Albums #53


Fairport Convention: Jewel in the Crown (1995)

A band perhaps known as much for notable alumni (Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson) as for their actual recorded legacy, Fairport Convention nevertheless are among the most prominent of the bands who helped preserve England’s traditional folk song and expose new generations to it by melding it with contemporary rock.

By 1995 Fairport were almost thirty years into a career rife with lineup changes and fluctuations in quality of musical output. But Jewel in the Crown is a jewel indeed–a highlight of their later output.

The samples below represent Fairport’s typical mix of new contemporary writing and more traditional-sounding pastoral English folk, from the political (the smackdown of British colonization in the title track) to the traditional (“Kind Fortune”), to the newly-written tune that sounds like a traditional (“London Danny”) to the instrumental (the beautifully-rendered Ric Sanders fiddle tune, “Summer in December”).

It makes for a great introduction to the band, not to mention the genre. If it whets an appetite for British folk, you could do worse than to check out Steeleye Span’s All Around My Hat next:


Listen to: “Jewel in the Crown”

Listen to: “Kind Fortune”

Listen to: “London Danny”

Listen to: “Summer in December”

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