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And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32

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March 06, 2008


DVD Review: Tony Palmer's Film of Fairport Convention & Matthews Southern Comfort
young 21 year old Richard Thompson, 1970 imageThis 2007 video release consists of footage of the Fairport Convention from a 1970 British family event, the Maidstone Fiesta. On the plus side, this is apparently the only footage recorded of this prime Full House album lineup of the band. This is 21 year old Richard Thompson jamming away with prime backing, particularly from the fiddling of Dave Swarbrick. This is pretty sweet.

This live footage gives a little different idea of the band than you might get from their studio recordings. As a live act, they look here like a dance band. The first and probably best selection is entitled "Various Jigs and Reels," and they play them in such a manner to be real dance music that anybody would dig on a bright summer afternoon - not some dusty intellectual affectation. The visceral force of this separates them from the American folk-rock acts such as the Byrds or CSNY to which they would most obviously be compared.

Fairport Convention imageOn the other hand, this is very short. The principal program is but 31 minutes long - and 10 minutes of that is another act on the bill, Matthews Southern Comfort - featuring Fairport alumnus Iain Matthews. That's 20 really good minutes, but that's not a lot. The main song was their current single "Now Be Thankful," and some premium jamming.

Also, the technical quality of this is so-so. I understand that it was professionally filmed to make "a Tony Palmer film," but I've seen better quality from amateurs.

This seems like pretty little to sell as a stand alone video. This 20 minutes should be absorbed as a very valuable part of some bigger Richard Thompson or Fairport Convention video collection. Still, one way or another, if you're a big fan of Richard Thompson, you really should see this.

Dave Mattacks, 1970 image

Richard Thompson on stage, 1970 image

posted by Al at 3/06/2008 08:14:00 PM

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