Music review: Fairport Convention @50
Fairport Convention @50 ****
Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
But if there were ghosts present, one suspects they were capering in the wings rather than wandering wanly into the feast, as founder member and guitarist-singer Simon Nicol, bassist Simon Pegg, fiddler Ric Sanders, multi-instrumentalist and singer Chris Leslie and drummer Gerry Conway – Fairport’s line-up since 1998 – ranged rumbustiously about their hefty back catalogue, from the early days of the Liege and Lief and Full House albums to more recent repertoire such as a snappy Myths and Heroes. From 1985 there was the rustic nostalgia of Ralph McTell’s Hiring Fair and a recent, wonderfully bumptious instrumental, The Gallivant, that managed to sound like a Henry Mancini theme led wilfully astray.
For a decidedly greying but enthusiastically packed audience (suitably primed by a persuasive set from two seasoned singer-songwriters, Steve Tilston and Jez Lowe), the most rapturous responses were elicited by such classics as Crazy Man Michael, a spirited Sir Patrick Spence, the zesty come-all-ye of Walk a While and the ever dramatic Matty Groves – folk-rock history spooling before our very eyes and ears.