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Steeleye Span - Parcel Of Rogues CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


Prog Related

3.56 | 35 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars To see Steeleye Span as a Prog Related entry here kind of surprises me. Well, it does and it doesn't. Out of all Steeleye records I've had (their debut to Storm Force Ten) I've only hung onto 4 of them. Some albums make me puke, actually. Maybe I'm just missing the point ??. I will, however, back-up 'Parcel Of Rogues' as being the one I spend most ear-time with. It has a vibrant sound, some songs are pure fun to listen to, and most of the re-arrangements of their selected tunes-of-old seem quite inspired to my ears. There are 2 tunes I have never enjoyed - 'The Ups And Downs' and 'Hares On The Mountain' - very traditional, innocent and rather straight-forward sounding traditional pieces, but the remaining tracks are mostly memorable. To briefly rant of what I consider as highlights : 'Alison Gross' is a tale of a Witch, and the accompanying music has a bit of a psychedelic twist to it, the guitars and violin/viola arrangements are a treat, but make sure that the last few Guitar chords don't shatter your glassware or windows etc. It's that spikey and harsh, I'm convinced they blew up the amp. 'The Bold Poachers' is a very sombre song. I particularly love the vocal harmonies (especially Maddy's), and the serious tone of the lyric - this time a story of 3 hunters who were brothers, illegally shooting down pheasants , and they shot a pheasant's keeper, and, then shot another... - indeed the last verse reads Exiled in transportation, two brothers, they were taken, and the other one hung as a token, may God forgive their crime . Quite heavy, actually. 'Robbery With Violins' is a short instrumental piece, showcasing Rick Kemp's inventive Bass playing, complete with excellent wah-wah effects, and excellent string work from Peter Knight. I believe Mr Kemp once auditioned as Bassist for King Crimson. The B-Side highlights feature 'The Weaver And The Factory maid', which offers the listener with a mildly complex vocal/instrumental arrangement, possibly the most 'Progressive' number on the album IMHO. Maddy's crystalline vocals flow smoothly against a rather rhythmically jumpy instrumental backing, again heavily dependent on the Bass and Strings, with some shimmering guitaring. Proof alone that these guys (and gal) were thoughtful and serious about their craft. The title track is an A-Cappella arrangement backed only with a Bass Drum, and sounds like a convincing, medieval chant. Very nice. The last strong song is the rather intense Cam Ye O'er Frae France, with its marching snares, Harmonium, acidic guitar chords and a potent lead vocal, once again from Maddy. From my lunatic Prog-Head point of view, this one borders on 4 stars, only just. Marginally Progressive, mostly enjoyable....
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |


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