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Steeleye Span - Sails Of Silver CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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2.23 | 11 ratings

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Tonbridge Man
2 stars The best known Steeleye Span lineup reformed in 1980 to record Sails of Silver after a 4 year gap since Rocket Cottage. This album was unusual as all bar one of the tracks were penned by the band rather than being new arrangements of old folk songs.

The most noticeable difference to their pre 1977 work is in its post new wave sound with shorter tracks and early '80's style instrumentation. This is not a criticism in itself as the band no doubt felt they had to move on from their early to mid 1970's sound which by 1980 was deeply out of fashion. The title track is a commercial sounding but fairly upbeat opener to the album. It is followed by the only traditional song in the collection My Love which is a sweet duet with Maddy and Tim Hart (I think!). Barnet Fair opens melodically but has a rather light weight and annoying chorus. Senior Service is rockier but any connection to traditional folk is somewhat incidental. Gone to America slows it down with some poignant lyrics and is a pleasant enough end to side one.

Side 2 opens with the passable Where Are They Now but on track 2 Let Her Go Down Peter Knight steps up to the vocals. Unfortunately he is not the best male vocalist in Span and the song itself is a rather ponderous MOR effort which I tend to skip over. On Longbone Bob Johnson takes the lead with his distinctive voice but take away the medieval folk style lyrics and the song is pure and slightly forgettable soft rock. The final two tracks are as good as anything in the album. Marigold/Harvest Home is a track divided between the exquisite Marigold with Maddy Prior's vocals displayed to best effect and their version of the hymn Harvest Home. Tell Me Why is almost anthemic in nature with a group chorus rocking the album out.

In all honesty the prog content is negligible and even the folk content is less than before but the album is perfectly acceptable on its own terms. Three stars ordinarily but in a prog forum no more than two stars.

Tonbridge Man | 2/5 |


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