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Steeleye Span - Below The Salt CD (album) cover

BELOW THE SALT

Steeleye Span

 

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3.71 | 45 ratings

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Dr Pripp
5 stars The first two albums Steeleye Span made for Chrysalis (and Harts and Priors "Summer Solstice") are brilliant and essential listening. The first incarnation of the group released a very strong album. Then Terry and Gay Woods left the band and by the arrival of Martin Carthy, Steeleye Span released two very traditional inspired albums.

However, by 1972, Carthy and founder Ashley Tyger Hutchins was gone and replaced by the more rock oriented guitarist Bob Johnson and bass player Rick Kemp. This line-up released "Below the Salt" and "Parcel of Rouges", in my opinion the best albums by the band and they belong to the top 10 of British folk rock!

"Below the Salt" is still a traditional inspired affair but the sound is sort of heavier, thanks to Kemps solid contribution. By now,Tim Hart and Maddy Prior were the only original members left and they share the vocal duties more equal than before. Tim Harts use of diffrent string instruments interacts with Johnsons ecectris (and acoustic) guitar and Peter Knights supurb viola.

Side two of the original LP is slightly stronger and the version of John Barleycorn is superior of Traffics' version two years earlier. The odd choice of the hymn "Gaudette" as a single payed off and it became a smash hit. It could only happen in the 70´s!! The final tune, "Saucy Sailor" ,is probably my favorite Steeleye Span song.. Tim Hart and Maddy Priors singing is absolutely stunning.

The next move was to hire a drummer and by the arrival of Nigel Pegrum the band became more rock oriented but managed to produce two fine efforts - "Now we are six" and "Commoner´s Crown". Together with "Parcel of Rouges", "Below the Salt" is one of the best folk rock albums ever made!

Dr Pripp | 5/5 |

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