The first thing to note is that this record SOUNDS ALL WRONG. It is utterly unlike any Fairport Convention record before or since. Despite all the changing personnel, and the running of the years and even decades, the group trading for the time being as Fairport Convention has always had a folk/rock or a rock/folk feel to it. Thankfully, this crew called themselves Fairport, correctly and uniquely identifying the thing as something different. I have searched my mind for a genre title for it, and the best I have been able to come up with is “gently funky”. Muse on that phrase for a while, and in particular compare it with the folk/rock idea, and you will begin to get the picture.
Contrary to Simon Nicol’s claim in 1999 that it sounded good, it does not. It did not sound good when I bought the LP on its release in 1976 and it did not sound good when I played the CD last week.
What you get with this record is a lot of swirling organ, which creates a sort of warped fairground atmosphere, and some Isaac Hayes “Theme from Shaft” style guitar playing.
It has to be admitted that the sound is not wholly unpleasant, but it is a far cry from what you would expect from a Fairport Convention disc.
Finally, in this introductory post, I concede that one track is arguably an exception to this, being the instrumental “The Frog Up The Pump”, which ends the first side of the LP. This is actually recognisable as a Swarbrick ” jigs & reels” piece; and as such, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
The following posts provide a fairly detailed analysis of the tracks, for what it’s worth…