The album kicks off with Track 1, “When First Into This Country” (2.29). This is not a bad song, and in terms of the the tune and words is recognisable as a proper Fairport Convention thing. Moreover, Dave Swarbrick’s vocals are just fine. However, the sound is all wrong, for the reasons elaborated in the previous post.
Track 2 is “Our Band” (2.01). This is a 1920s style laid back ragtime thing, with much piano and swirling organ. It is actually fairly agreeable, as the song is nothing like a Fairport Convention one, so the wrong sound does not grate against the sensibilities as it does so much in Track 1.
Track 3 is “Lay Me Down Easy” (5.14). This is a waltz time “barber shop quartet” blues-based piece, with again much piano. The song has clever words and a pleasant tune, but sadly here these qualities fail to rescue it from the wrong sound.
Track 4 is an instrumental called “Cropredy Capers” (3.08), and is the absolute epitome of the “gently funky” stuff. In some ways, because of this, it is years before its time; but it is not very nice to listen to at all. In fact it is almost painful on the ear, until the end, where there is some fantastic violin playing from Dave Swarbrick, which improves the feel of the thing immensely. This elides seamlessly into Track 5 “The Frog Up The Pump” (3.14). As mentioned in the previous post, this is by far the most “Fairport Convention” piece on the album, straight fiddle jigs & reels stuff, with no organ or funky guitar at all. Side 1 of the LP ended at the end of this.
Next time, Side 2!