Full House

(1970), 7.5/10
When Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention, the group justifiably decided that they’d never be able to find another vocalist who measured up to her, so they continued with Swarbrick and Thompson on lead vocals. Hutchings also left to form Steeleye Span, was replaced by Dave Pegg, a far more capable bass player, leaving Fairport Convention with an impressive lineup of musicians. This is demonstrated in the break of ‘Dirty Linen’, where Swarbrick’s violin is joined in turn by all the other instruments, building to a fast crescendo and showcasing the virtuosity of each member. The central track is the low key and lengthy ‘Sloth’, which on initial plays is unremarkable before revealing itself as one of Thompson’s best and most unique compositions. The other major highlight is the rollicking ‘Sir Patrick Spens’, which opens side two of the LP version, a melodic traditional sea shanty. Thompson requested that his ‘Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman’ be removed from the LP version, but restored to the tracklist on the new CD version it’s one of the better songs here and the album would feel thin and incomplete without it. Full House is solid, but without Sandy Denny’s voice and with slightly less engaging material, it’s less notable than their 1969 releases.

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