Side 2 of the LP opens with what is Track 5 on the CD, “The Poor Ditching Boy” (3.57). This is an excellent song, and in fact actually better than the Richard Thompson original on “Henry the Human Fly” [see above]. This is not to say that the original is not also excellent, but this one is just more so. Simon Nicol takes the lead vocal in a most masterful fashion. The whole band joins in stirring harmonies on the refrains. The arrangement is super, and everything is sounding absolutely RIGHT!
Track 2 (6 on the CD) is “General Taylor” (3.10), a classic call and response sea shanty, which I had first heard on an odd Steeleye Span LP, I think it was “Individually and Collectively”, but I’d have to check. In true tradition, this version starts off wholly unaccompanied, but then the instruments build up gradually in an extremely effective way. Dave Swarbrick takes the lead “call” vocal throughout, the remaining members harmonising on all the responses. Splendid! This is a superb rendition of the song.
Track 3 (7 on the CD) is “Run Johnny Run” (4.35), a lively, pleasant, busy little thing. Again Dave Swarbrick takes the lead vocals, with the whole band on the choruses; great stuff. This is a brilliant choice for the album.
Track 4 on Side 2 of the LP (8 on the CD) is “The Last Waltz” (3.00), not on any account to be confused with the shmaltzty hit single with that title performed by Englebert Humperdinck. This is indeed however a typical romantic waltz time Swarbrick song, but a truly wonderful example of that genre. This is another call and response number with Dave Swarbrick leading and the whole band here heartily joining in the choruses. It is a really great song with a super tune and perfect words, brilliantly conceived. Were it not for Richard Thompson’s guitar on “Rosie” [see above], this would undoubtedly be the best of this particular kind of song.
The LP ends with what is Track 9 on the CD, an instrumental called “Royal Seleccion No.13” (4.12). This starts of with some rapid fire unaccompanied folk rap, launching into a standard Dave Swarbrick “jigs & reels” thing, which kicks off at a most frantic pace. Many tunes are included, some of which are indeed recognisable as having appeared on previous Fairport Convention albums, a pleasing touch with the past. The track is quite acceptable, and a perfect finale for this fine album.