Fairyport is the third album released by the Finnish progressive rock band Wigwam in 1971. Fairyport is one of the most acclaimed Wigwam LPs along with the deep pop representer Nuclear Nightclub (1975) and Jukka Gustavson's political satire Being (1974). Fairyport is my personal favourite by Wigwam, because it's a good showcase of the band's diversity. Let's take a look why.
The album starts with Losing Hold, Wigwam's greatest track ("Häätö" comes close though). It's the only track done by Gustavson, Pohjola and Pembroke together. It's also interesting because Gustavson sings Pembroke's lyrics. This kind of co-operation should've been done more. The song is an excellent showcase of Jukka Gustavson's organ playing and Ronnie Österberg's drumming. It's followed by Lost Without a Trace, a soft ballad, which is one of the best Pembroke tracks ever, being carried only with a piano and a guitar. The song is actually quite famous; I heard that Barbara Streisand wanted to cover it. If it's true I don't know. Then comes Fairyport, the title track and the first part of Gustavson's Joined to Conscience. The song showcases especially the skills of Gustavson: he is technically as great as Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, and emotionally puts his mind even more into the music.
Side turn. Joined to Conscience continues. Gray Traitors has a pretty simple melody with text that could be said to preceed the album Being. Cafffkaff, the Country Psychologist (my god, what a name!) has a great bass solo by Pekka Pohjola and May Your Will Be Done, Dear Lord has got its greatest power on the horn sections. All in all, Joined to Conscience is a good entity with dark lyrics and complex instrumentation. After that comes Pembroke's How To Make It Big in Hospital, which is not such a strong song. The bongos and the guitar work, making it listenable and a good song to move your head to.
Side turn. The three songs of Pekka Pohjola come. The first of the three, Hot Mice is powered by the keyboards and the violin, making it a very atmospheric track. P.K's Supermarket (the strange song titles are by Pembroke) is a baroque humppa, polka or something, being almost entirely played by Pohjola (bass, piano, celesta and harpsichord) and is the album's most hilarious track. The third and last Pohjola track, One More Try features Jim Pembroke's lyrics and singing. The music itself is very mixed, changing from an atmosphere to another. It's a rare Wigwam track or a rare track where Pohjola contributes at all: Pohjola plays guitar (even though not very good)! After that, Pembroke's Rockin' Ol' Galway. The track ain't much of a Wigwam song, but still a good song, which rocks like it promises. Pembroke continues with Every Fold, which is a strong emotion outburst. This is a fantastic end to the album. But wait...
Side D + CD re-issue
Side turn. Side D is entirely filled with the live jam called "Rave-Up For The Roadies". It's a splendid showcase of the band's live energy, even though if you want to really hear them sound awesome live you should buy their live album "Live Music from the Twillight Zone". The CD re-issue includes a live performance of Losing Hold and Finlandia (a classic composition by Jean Sibelius). Finlandia doesn't quite sound Finlandia, but it's pretty OK.
All in all, Fairyport is a great album, Wigwam's greatest longplay and better than Tombstone Valentine (maybe because of the improved guitar sounds of Jukka Tolonen; in Tombstone, there was too much guitar by Tolonen and the guitar sound was too raw to enjoy), which shows the true talent of the band.