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Steeleye Span

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Steeleye Span Tempted And Tried album cover
3.47 | 13 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Padstow (3:05)
2. The Fox (3:06)
3. Two Butchers (4:51)
4. Following Me (3:39)
5. Seagull (2:45)
6. The Cruel Mother (5:36)
7. Jack Hall (3:58)
8. Searching For Lambs (4:13)
9. Shaking Of The Sheets (4:12)
10. Reels: The First House In Connaught, Sailor's Bonnet (2:52)
11. Betsy Bell And Mary Gray (5:00)

Total time 43:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Maddy Prior / lead & backing vocals
- Bob Johnson / guitar, lead & backing vocals, co-producer
- Peter Knight / violin, mandolin, backing vocals, co-producer
- Tim Harries / bass, piano, backing vocals
- Nigel Pegrum / drums, percussion

- Martin Ditcham / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Tony Meeuwissen

LP Dover Records ‎- ADD 9 (1989, UK)

CD Chrysalis ‎- CDP 32 1737 2 (1989, UK)
CD Shanachie ‎? 64020 (1989, US) Different track running order
CD BGO Records ‎- BGOCD537 (2001, UK) Remastered

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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STEELEYE SPAN Tempted And Tried ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

STEELEYE SPAN Tempted And Tried reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars While Steeleye split briefly in the late 1970s, they did release 3 albums in the next decade, the best of which was "Tempted and Tried". Trimming the plod rock element of the 1970s and utilizing production techniques of the late 1980s, they managed to produce an effort that captured their spirit while sounding fresh and understated. Some who have difficulty with the more overtly Celtic earlier material may find this incarnation more palatable.

The album roars to life with two tunes sung by Bob Johnson, the bouncy singalong "Jack Hall", and the macabre yet musically cheery "Two Butchers". This makes Maddy Prior's first appearance more welcome, and she does not disappoint, with Steeleye's rousing take on the May Day experience called "Padstow". This is one of their best latter day tracks, evoking the spring sun in its jauntiness to the extent that one almost needs to squint or don shades. "Shaking of the Sheets" is a harmonious and haunting tribute to death, with Johnson in vocal lead joined by Prior in the chorus, and comes closer to progressive than most of the material here, in an incongruously carefree way. However, the honor of most proggy track here goes to "Following Me", which sounds like a verbose Renaissance - think "Jeckyll and Hyde" from their Azure D'Or recording, suffused with anticipatory dread and paranoia. The vocal harmonies and backing for Maddy's musings, and Johnson's agile guitar leads are riveting. It is one of two back to back numbers written by Peter Knight that close the album. The finale, "The Fox", takes the hard rock element a bit too far and comes off more clumsy than whimsy.

A few filler tracks can be found, ones that tend to be lengthy and boring, contrasting a bit too much with the livelier sounds elsewhere, but the best of these is "Betsy Bell and Mary Gray" with its eerie fiddle and Maddy's slow controlled wails.

All in all, this is a fine comeback, a Celtic folk rock effort with a few well placed progressive underpinnings that reaffirms Steeleye Span's status as masters of the genre. Be tempted and try it.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars "Apart from the pain it's a pleasure"

After 1986's merely decent Back In Line album, Tempted And Tried certainly was a return to form for Steeleye Span. Indeed, this is a strong album for the band! After a couple of albums of mostly original material, the band opted for a return to traditionals here with only a few exceptions. The band's trademarks are all here including male and female lead vocals, the latter by the very distinctive Maddy Prior, fiddle a plenty, mandolins, electric guitars, drums and bass and some occasional keyboards.

The album flows quite well from start to finish and it is diverse enough to keep it interesting throughout. The first three tracks are rather typical Steeleye vocal numbers, but then comes a nice couple of interconnected reels followed by the unusual and slow Betsy Bell And Mary Gray that consists of only Prior's voice and violin and the similar Searching For Lambs only interrupted by the catchy Folk Pop of Shaking Of The Sheets. This shows most of the different aspects of the band quite well; Pop, Rock, Folk. The progressive side of the band is, however, not at its strongest on Tempted And Tried. But this side surely exists, the most progressive song of the album being The Cruel Mother with its guitar solos and some presence of keyboards. This is followed by Following Me which is the least proggy and most poppy song here. The Fox is a nice little tune to close the album.

This is not Steeleye Span's best album but neither is it their worst. Not the best place to start, but worthwhile for those who enjoy the band and British Folk Rock in general

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