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August 13, 2006


I felt curiously detached from the real world at Cropredy, especially when Austin passed me a copy of the Guardian with a massive, five-column photo that must have been taken from just outside my front door. It appears they'd simply printed a huge picture of a mosque that none of the alleged terrorists worship at. I have no idea why; perhaps it was a nicer photo than any they had of the Queens Road mosque?

Cropredy itself was middling. The weather was cold and windy, but it didn't rain properly until just after Meet on the Ledge. The normal mix of old rockers, upcoming bands, and the generally offbeat seemed weighted towards the old farts this year. As well as Fairport themselves, we had Steeleye Span, Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze), a band bearing detectable traces of 10CC, John Martyn, Dave Swarbrick's new band, Ashley Hutchings' new band, and a Status Quo tribute band. Much of the music was great, though the Fairport set seemed tailor-made for a balmy sunny evening rather than the rather sour wind we had. I've seen lots of complaints that Fairport have lost touch with their rockier side; they did some harder numbers with Glen Tilbrook and Maartin Allcock, and a nice Tam Lin at the end just before Matty, but there is certainly a preponderance of ballads in their set at the moment.

Steeleye -- currently comprising Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp, Peter Knight, Ken Nicol and Liam Genocky -- were just great. I've seen them a few times (3?) since Rick Kemp rejoined the band and I think they're the best I've ever seen them. In particular, they're being careful not to overuse Maddy's voice now, with the result that she can sing some of the harder songs without straining. Musically they're tight, they've got that great back catalogue to plunder, plus Ken Nicol is writing some excellent new songs. And they're still doing new interpretations of folk standards -- eg a new Bonny Black Hare on Thursday.

"10CC" headlined Friday night. This band includes only Graham Gouldman from the original lineup, though it does also have someone who played with the band for a bit in the 70s, and someone who worked with the original lineup as a session musician. I mean, clearly this is more authentic than Shameless Quo. But still. They did sound excellent, rattling out the hits one after another. But is there some statute of limitations on homeopathic reformed bands?

The Wadworth's bar, which famously sells more beer than the GBBF, was donating 10p from the sale of each pint this year in memory of Neil Cutts, the long-time Cropredy bar manager who died earlier this year.

Otherwise, Cropredy was much as it's always been, except with more chairs. And despite the prohibition on fishing tents after 7pm, there were more of those than ever, and few people took them down. All the ironmongery made the field very, very full on Saturday.

I arrived home to discover that eMusic has launched eMusic UK and eMusic Europe, with consequent price rises. Booster packs, in particular, have gone up from $14.99 for 50 tracks to £13.99. Still cheaper than many other online sources, for proper mp3s. And if we get Topic records, I won't mind so much. But still.

Posted by Alison Scott at August 13, 2006 04:42 PM


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