This has always seemed to be a very odd record; despite the express identification of the band members, on the whole the group does not appear to do much as such on the LP. Rather, most of the pieces are more of a solo thing.
Track 1 of course is the title track. Without Richard Thompson’s spellbinding guitar, the song is sickly sentimental. I do not care at all for other versions which got recorded from time to time. Here, however, the Thompson guitar transforms it into a really good song indeed. This is a “Swarbrick solo”.
Track 2 is the brilliant, strong “Mathew, Mark, Luke & John”, which is a group number. This was the harbinger of just how very good the new line up could be.
Track 3 is a splendid rocker called “Knights of The Road”, this one being a “Trevor Lucas solo”.
Track 4 is an uneventful instrumental called “Peggy’s Pub”.
Side 1 ends, however, with a remarkable “Trevor Lucas solo”, which is by miles the best thing on the record. This is “The Plainsman”, which is as near to being perfect as a song can be. It is a strong but gentle piece, with a magnificent tune and classic words. It really is one of the all time best recordings released under the name “Fairport Convention”.