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The Fairground Attraction classic Perfect is exactly that. So it is strange to think that it was destined to be the folk quartet’s only #1 single. Released in 1988, it propelled the still stunning vocals of Eddi Reader into the mainstream consciousness, and while she remained with the band for long enough for them to win the Brit Awards for Best Album and Best Single at the 1989 Brit Awards, the tensions in the band caused them to split after one studio album, The First Of A Million Kisses. While their label rushed out a sophomore album, Ay Fond Kiss, formulated of B-sides and covers, their fans knew that the party was over and the album stalled at #55 in the charts.
With Eddi Reader still a popular recording artist and Mark E. Nevin, the group’s songwriter having also carved out his own niche, the limited success of the project that spawned them has often been forgotten. With the album nearly 30 years old, and with only Perfect still regularly present on the radio waves, Cherry Red have treated audiences to a double disc trip to a million more kisses.
The collection, which has been compiled by Nevin, is essentially a warts and all retrospective of a band whose pedigree warrants celebration. With both of their studio albums present in almost their entirety, alongside 8 songs from their Live In Japan release, the collection is further enhanced with truly insightful interviews with both Nevin and Reader.
Although there is no denying that Perfect is the collections most memorable moment, it is also their most pop-driven cut. The remainder of the collection showcases a folk-storytelling strength that those who only know their signature hit will be fully unaware of.
Fairground Attraction, the song that shares the band’s name, Moon On The Rain and Find My Love are clear highlights of the album’s original tracklisting, but it is in this fully expanded edition that the raw pleasure of the band comes to life. Live In Japan cuts Home To Heartache and Broken By A Breeze are flawless in their delivery, while a reworking of Walking After Midnight adds their own distinctive flavour to a timeless classic.
For those that only know Perfect, this is essential listening. Eddi Reader is still today one of the finest vocalists on the circuit. When partnered with Nevin she shines brighter. This just leaves us wanting the quartet to patch up any differences and make one more record together.Share