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STEELEYE SPAN

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Steeleye Span picture
Steeleye Span biography
"Steeleye Span is like a bus. It goes along and people get on and off it. Sometimes the bus goes along the route you want to go, and sometimes it turns off, so you get off." -- Maddy Prior


As one of the two most important bands to blend traditional British folk musics and rock - the other being the legendary Fairport Convention - STEELEYE SPAN represented both the revival of this music in Britain and its ventures into contemporary times. Completely authentic but with a modern spark their peers never quite matched, the ensemble's development was one of the most evolving in popular music.

By 1969, an electrically charged Folk scene had fully emerged in England. That year after a road accident in which their drummer was killed, singer Sandy DENNY and FAIRPORT CONVENTION recorded 'Liege and Lief', a project led by bassist Ashley HUTCHINGS and Richard THOMPSON's startling electric guitar. The album would influence an entire movement though the group was divided about this direction and split, FC proceeding without HUTCHINGS or DENNY. Ashley HUTCHINGS carried on and after a good first rehearsal with established Folk duo Maddy PRIOR & Tim HART and husband and wife team Terry & Gay WOODS, a first incarnation recorded STEELEYE SPAN's [the group's name is taken from a character in Lincolnshire ballad 'Horkstow Grange'] debut in 1970, 'Hark! The Village Wait'. Comprised of trad. Folk with the added dimension of HUTCHINGS's bass and guest drummers Gerry CONWAY and Dave MATTACKS, the album is also noted for the dual female vocals of PRIOR and WOODS. Terry and Gay WOODS were replaced that year by veteran guitarist/singer Martin CARTHY and violinist Peter KNIGHT. This line-up recorded 'Please to See the King' (1971) and 'Ten Man Mop, or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again' (1972), LPs unique in their use of hard rock colors.

By late 1972, CARTHY and founder HUTCHINGS left to pursue more purist Folk avenues. Guitarist Bob JOHNSON and bassist Rick KEMP were brought in and provided an expanded hard-blues sound to Steeleye, and the group secured a new contract with Chrysalis which released their fourth, 'Below the Salt' in late '72. Further cultivating electric blues but always showcasing traditional Celtic and folk, some numbers dating back over a hundred years, 1973's 'Parcel of Rogues' was released and later that year the band drafted rock drummer Nigel PEGRUM [GNIDROLOG,URIAH HEEP,SMALL FACES]. Having supported fellow Chrysalis act J...
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Wintersmith: In Collaboration with Terry PratchettWintersmith: In Collaboration with Terry Pratchett
Park UK 2013
Audio CD$10.19
$61.99 (used)
Original Album Series - Steeleye SpanOriginal Album Series - Steeleye Span
Import
original album series 2015
Audio CD$24.56
$30.47 (used)
The Lark In Morning - The Early Years - Steeleye SpanThe Lark In Morning - The Early Years - Steeleye Span
Extra tracks · Import
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$4.63
$3.35 (used)
Steeleye Span: Spanning the YearsSteeleye Span: Spanning the Years
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1995
Audio CD$3.84
$2.33 (used)
Parcel of RoguesParcel of Rogues
Shanachie 1990
Audio CD$21.18
$5.62 (used)
Below the SaltBelow the Salt
Shanachie 1989
Audio CD$14.41
$5.99 (used)
Best of: STEELEYE SPANBest of: STEELEYE SPAN
Import · Remastered
EMI Gold Imports 2007
Audio CD$11.08
$6.60 (used)
The Collection: Steeleye Span in ConcertThe Collection: Steeleye Span in Concert
Park Records 2008
Audio CD$10.01
$0.01 (used)
Hark the Village WaitHark the Village Wait
Shanachie 1991
Audio CD$12.17
$7.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STEELEYE SPAN - ALL AROUND THE HAT (LP) 1975 GER USD $12.90 [0 bids]
STEELEYE SPAN - ROCKET COTTAGE (LP) 1976 UK USD $9.90 [0 bids]
Steeleye Span ?- Live At Last! LP, US pressing USD $6.19 Buy It Now
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Steeleye Span - The King (The Best Of The Early Years) (CD 1996) USD $3.30 [0 bids]
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All Around My Hat Steeleye Span Vinyl Record USD $11.82 Buy It Now
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STEELEYE SPAN Padstow 7" VINYL B/W First House In Connaught/Sailors Bonnet USD $6.59 Buy It Now 4h 11m
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STEELEYE SPAN Fighting For Strangers 7" VINYL B/W Mooncoin Jig (Chs2125) UK USD $4.15 Buy It Now 5h 24m
STEELEYE SPAN All Around My Hat 7" VINYL B/W Blacky Jack Davy (Chs2078) UK USD $2.76 Buy It Now 5h 24m
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STEELEYE SPAN Thomas The Rhymer 7" VINYL B/W The Mooncoin Jig (Chs2026) UK USD $5.53 Buy It Now 5h 27m
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STEELEYE SPAN Concert Flyer Shepley Spring Festival May 2015 Folk Rock UK Tour USD $1.31 Buy It Now 5h 39m
Steeleye Span - Collected (CD 1998) USD $2.97 Buy It Now 5h 46m
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6h 4m
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17h
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STEELEYE SPAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEELEYE SPAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 42 ratings
Hark! The Village Wait
1970
2.96 | 28 ratings
Please to See the King
1971
2.86 | 28 ratings
Ten Map Mop or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again
1972
3.70 | 41 ratings
Below The Salt
1972
3.55 | 33 ratings
Parcel of Rogues
1973
3.28 | 32 ratings
Now We Are Six
1974
3.15 | 28 ratings
Commoner's Crown
1975
3.14 | 28 ratings
All Around My Hat
1975
3.48 | 23 ratings
Rocket Cottage
1976
3.17 | 15 ratings
Storm Force Ten
1977
2.13 | 10 ratings
Sails of Silver
1980
2.49 | 5 ratings
Back In Line
1986
3.40 | 9 ratings
Tempted And Tried
1989
3.78 | 9 ratings
Time
1996
2.92 | 5 ratings
Horkstow Grange
1999
3.42 | 7 ratings
Bedlam Born
2000
3.51 | 9 ratings
They Called Her Babylon
2004
2.88 | 5 ratings
Winter
2004
3.04 | 8 ratings
Bloody Men
2006
2.94 | 7 ratings
Cogs, Wheels & Lovers
2009
3.21 | 5 ratings
Wintersmith
2013

STEELEYE SPAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 10 ratings
Live at Last
1978
3.00 | 1 ratings
Tonight's The Night, Live!
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Concert
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Journey
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Folk Rock Pioneers In Concert
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Now We Are Six Again
2012

STEELEYE SPAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Classic Rock Legends
2001

STEELEYE SPAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Steeleye Span
1980
2.61 | 4 ratings
Portfolio
1988
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Collection
1991
2.05 | 3 ratings
Spanning the Years
1995
3.05 | 3 ratings
A stack of Steeleye Span
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
First Steps
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Lark In The Morning - The Early Years
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Parcel of Steeleye Span - Their First Five Chrysalis Albums 1972-1975
2009

STEELEYE SPAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 4 ratings
Gaudete
1972
3.00 | 3 ratings
Fighting for Strangers
1976

STEELEYE SPAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hark! The Village Wait by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.83 | 42 ratings

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Hark! The Village Wait
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars This is Steeleye Span's debut abum consisting of "rock" arrangements of 10 traditional songs including the much covered and well-renowned "The Blacksmith" (3:40) and "Blackleg Miner" (2:45). The album is remarkable for multi- instrumentalist Tim HART's contributions of banjo, electric guitar, dulcimer, fiddle and harmonium with other traditional folk instruments (mandola, concertina, autoharp, acoustic guitars) over a foundation of drums, electric bass and gently picked electric guitar. Also notable are the presence of two female vocalists, Gay Woods and Maddy Prior--the former of whom would break off after this album to form a new band with her husband, Terry, called The Woods Band. The instances in which the two female leads sing together are quite magical. The pacing on the album is quite constant and slow, like a slow dance, and much of the music sounds familiar to Americans in a YOUNGBLOODS or CROSBY, STILLS & NASH way. This is an awesome album of electrified folk music.
 Ten Map Mop or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.86 | 28 ratings

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Ten Map Mop or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars To me, this sounds just like another Steeleye Span, albeit more acoustic. There's surprisingly little electric instruments here. It's by far their most traditional sounding album, more in Celtic than English folk territory, as there's one Welsh folk song, and a good portion of Irish folk songs, jigs and reels. This album first appeared on the Pegasus label, with a pasted on booklet, but later appeared on the Mooncrest label, and Chrysalis reissued this (without the gatefold and pasted-on booklet), Chrysalis was the label Steeleye Span was recording for since 1972's Below the Salt.

"Gower Wassail" is a Welsh Christmas carol. Honestly I'm not familiar with this on, unlike a much better known Welsh Christmas carol, "Deck the Halls". Done in Steeleye Span style, you might not realize this was Welsh, it doesn't get you the impression of Welsh choirs, which is how this song would have been likely sung. They given some Irish jigs next, before going on to another vocal song, "Four Nights Drunk", with Martin Carthy singing. "When I Was On Horseback" sounds like Steeleye Span as we all come and love, with Maddy Prior's vocals. They also give some reels, and more traditional Irish, and handful of English folk songs.

It's the over-emphasis on Irish folk music that caused the departure of Ashley Hutchings and Martin Carthy (despite he was half-Irish). Perhaps they were feeling Steeleye Span was sounding too close to the Chieftains but with vocals minus the Uilleann pipes.

As a folk album, this is a perfectly good album. As a prog folk album, it crashes and burns. But this is obviously recommended more for those who love British Isles folk music, not so much prog folk. So I can't give this less than four stars, because I judge the album on music quality, not how "prog" or "not prog" it is.

 Wintersmith by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.21 | 5 ratings

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Wintersmith
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by SteveG

4 stars This is definitely an album that I have tried to play in the summer time with poor results. It's not because the album is bad. It's just too damn wintery in feel which makes it perfect for early December and the rest of the cold snowy season.

The Wintersmith, released last year (2013) is a collaboration between Steeleye and Discworld series author Terry Pratchett. Pratchett is the million selling author of young people's fantasy stories that are on par with the Harry Potter series of fantacies, just to give you an idea of what your in for.

Prattchett wrote the lyrics of Wintersmith, based on his novel of the same name, which deals with one of the seasons of nature , winter, taking on a corporeal form and falling for a village girl named Tiffany.

First off, I would have to say that between this concept and the folk hard rock fusion of the music, combined with trad. instruments like Northumbrian pipes, this is the most progressive outing from Steeleye Span that I've ever encountered and that was an unexpected delight.

The band drafted in uber producer Chris Tsanderides to engineer the album while Steeleye are still the producers. This helped to tone down Tsanderides' often shrill sounding production and resulted in an excellently heavy, but not overdone, rhythm section and some louder and more piercing electric guitar. it's not Deep Purple meets Fairport as some reviewers have made it out to be, but it is highly effective and a refreshing sound change for the band.

As the Wintersmith himself is a character, bassist Rick Kemp and guitarist Julian Littman alternate vocals with the evergreen Maddy Prior. I wish Maddy sang a bit more on this album but she is the incarnation of the heroine Tiffany, so it has to be. Kemp and Littman are both excellent vocalists, so fear not.

The album grabs you immediately with the Dark Morris song, a preview of the musical themes to come, before jumping in the brooding title track Wintersmith which teases with little telltale traces of the musical nuances that this album will soon offer and features the first of many great lead vocals from Kemp. Featured prominently is the Celtic tinged fiddle of 4 decade member Peter Knight, who more than anyone else, evokes a feel of the forest and the smell of pine into this music. The other member of note is long time drummer Liam Genocky, who pulls a few surprises with his deft drum work and percussion work.

Prior does her best "Annie Haslam' sweet sounding vocals on the songs Band Of Teachers and Hiver before both she and Kemp launch into the astoundingly propulsive Fire And Ice. Their vocal harmonies, along with Littman's, on the song's fantastic chorus is one of the album's many highlights.

After listening to the anthemic Crown Of Ice and the beautiful ballad First Dance, were off to the instrumental Dark Morris tune that sounds both maniacal and melodious at the same time. A virtual dance into the Wintersmith's dark cold world.

There are two beautiful ballads on this album, First Dance , elegantly sung by Prior, and the albums closer (when the Wintersmith eventually recedes due to on coming springtime) titled we Shall Wear Midnight. I believe the last is sung by Littman and instead of Kemp, but I'm not sure as it's still performed beautifully.

The album does have a few clunkers that drag out the running time like Wee Fee Men and the fairytale like The Good Witch, but all in all, it's a terrific album and one of the best ever produced by Steeleye Span. 4 Stars and I highly recommend it to fans of Folk Prog, especially to fans of both the Strawbs, Fairport Convention and Horslips. And remember, winter goes by quickly, so get it now.

 Parcel of Rogues by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.55 | 33 ratings

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Parcel of Rogues
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Below the Salt lineup of Steeleye Span returned the next year to unleash Parcel of Rogues on the world (wrapped in some of the most boring album artwork I have ever seen!). The musical style is more or less in line with what we'd heard already on Below the Salt - electric folk with medieval stlyings - though it doesn't feel quite as fresh as Below the Salt, almost as though it's a collection of songs that didn't make the cut for that album. Still, "not quite as good as Below the Salt" is still quite good as far as this style of British not-very-rocky folk rock goes.
 Wintersmith by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.21 | 5 ratings

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Wintersmith
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Steeleye Span + Terry Pratchett = true

Wintersmith is a conceptual album based around some novels by well-known fantasy author Terry Pratchett. What is less well-known--at least it was news to me--is the fact that Pratchett is a long-standing fan of Steeleye Span and a personal friend of the members of the band. As is clearly written on the cover, Pratchett even participated in the making of this album. Though, his precise role in the proceedings is somewhat unclear to me (is it him doing the spoken word section in The Good Witch?). Clear is at least that the songs are based around themes from Pratchett's writings, specifically the novels featuring the Tiffany Aching character (which I haven't read, but I've read a few others of Pratchett's many books).

Putting music to Pratchett's Discworld has been done before by Dave Greenslade with moderate success. Steeleye Span is more successful. The imagery of Pratchett and the inventive Folk Rock of Steeley Span is a very good combination and it seems that the band gained in inspiration from working with a conceptual theme. This is one of those albums that are instantly likeable. The songs are catchy and easy to get into. There is a nice variation in tempos, instruments (they even dusted off the old saxophone and add some pipes & whistles) and vocals (male and female), but the songs are not overly progressive. The typical sound of the band, and the distinctive voice of Maddy Prior, is unmistakable and this album is in their trademark style. A fun and enjoyable listen. It is not however up to par with such strong latter-day Steeleye Span albums as They Called Her Babylon and Time.

This album is recommended for fans of both the band and the author. Now I feel like reading some Pratchett (a great man who sadly is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease).

 Wintersmith by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.21 | 5 ratings

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Wintersmith
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Steeleye Span is one of my favourite band and it has been in for approximately eight years. "Wintersmith" is their twentyfirst studio record of which I haven't heard everyone. 1970-1978 was their best time of music fantasy but I have also heard very good stuff from them of later years. "They called her Babylon" is perhaps a 4/5-record and I also thought their last record of 2009 was pleasant. What's so fantastic is that the band is quite intact (in form of line up) with Maddy Prior on vocals, Rick Kemp on bass and vocals, Peter Knight om violin, vocals and piano, Liam Genockey on drums and percussion, Julian Littman on guitar, vocals and piano and Peter Zorn on guitar, saxophone and vocals. This record is a cooperation with the auther Terry Pratchett.

Steeleye Span is an always going train of folk rock music, just like Fairport Convention. When FC lost the most of its interest in the early seventies SS continued with their special sound and to be honest this latest effort "Wintersmith" is quite progressive. I feel like Steeleye Span here has done a different record and tried new approaches to their music. Then of course it's hard to find the I my mind known Steeleye style in these songs.

The record is mystic and has many interesting songs. It seems to be a concept record and in some songs they're going back to old themes such in "The Good Witch"(7/10) with lovely Maddy Prior vocals in the beginning in a melody which sounds very "Steeleyeish". The album's best songs are the title track "Wintersmith"(8,5/10) whish is of different kind. Just like Alison Gross, that song takes a new direction of folk rock and I love it, and "Band of Teachers"(8,5/10), also a lovely song. Some more tracks are worth mentioning: "The Wee Free Man"(8/10) is short and contains typical folky Steeleye harmonies, "Fire & ice"(8/10) contains perfect male and female voices and "The Summer Lady"(8/10) is also a lovely track. Beside of these tracks the album contains many nice songs but they don't interest me much.

Though do I lack very strong tracks such as on "They called her Babylon" and the album has too many okey songs. I absolutely appreciate the vocals both of Maddy Prior and of course of Rick Kemp. With 2013 over all music, this is certainly a 4/5-star record and I would consider it high standard music. Though must I review it as a Steeleye Span record, then is such a high rating unfair. 3,5 would have been the best, in their discography I feel comfortable with three stars.

 Below The Salt by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.70 | 41 ratings

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Below The Salt
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tim Hart and Maddy Prior steer the good ship Steeleye Span into medieval waters, with a range of classic traditional songs given the electric folk treatment. With a mixture of full-band effort, a capella pieces, and a wide emotional range, the album is another success in the Span's ongoing project to explore the potential of electrified versions of traditional British folk music. It's not the trippiest, spookiest, proggiest or most psychedelic of the albums in this vein that would emerge in the UK at this time - you'd have to look to Comus or the Incredible String Band or Fairport Convention for that - but it is one of the more warm and inviting examples of the style.
 Hark! The Village Wait by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.83 | 42 ratings

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Hark! The Village Wait
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Steeleye Span's debut album may not be a very authentic collection of quasi-medieval folk rock numbers, but damn if it isn't an enjoyable one. The translation of tradition material into an electric folk rock context is expertly judged, with none of the awkwardness which can occasionally come with such exercises, ably fulfilling Ashley Hutchings' goal of exploring traditional British folk to a greater extent than Fairport Convention were willing to do. Hutchings' apprenticeship in the Convention is put to good use here, with his assembled recruits all turning in excellent performances - the recruitment of Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, whose prior career as a duo had demonstrated their own knack for traditional folk material, is a particular coup and their vocals here are a particular treat.
 Cogs, Wheels & Lovers by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.94 | 7 ratings

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Cogs, Wheels & Lovers
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars "Cogs, Wheels and Lovers" is Steeleye Span's twentieth studio record and they still do nice folk rock which sounds a bit like their golden days of the seventies. Well the music doesn't have the same egg or sharpeness in instrumentation but Maddy Prior's voice is still great and the melodies are sweeping. "Cogs, wheels and lovers" came four years ago 2009, 39 years after their debut "Hark! The Village Wait" and now the musicians of Steeleye Span are: Maddy Prior(lead vocals), Rick Kemp(bass, vocals), Peter Knight(violin, vocals), Ken Nicol(guitar, vocals) and Liam Genockey(drums and percussion). Unfortunately Tim Hart died in the same year but he hadn't been a member since 1980.

What's most obvious from the beginning is Maddy Prior's voice that is still beautiful, little darker than in old days, not as sharpe but on the other hand it's more mature now. The best songs here are "The Machiners' Song", almost the title track with weird machine sounds and a playful melody and good bass line, spiced with great song and harmonies. If something is little progressive on this disc, it may be that song. "Locks and Bolts" has a dark tune with fine violin work and "Just as the Tide" has an interesting lyrical approach and nice melody. In "Our Captain Cried" Steeleye Span reuses a bit of the melody of "Fighting for strangers" (from "Rocket Cottage"), this song is good but perhaps too soft. "Two constant lovers" is tho only song with male lead vocals and that is a pity they are so few. The lyrics are mournful and beauteous but I lack the edge in melody and instrumentation. "Madam Will You Walk" is little rockier and has a dashing approach which I like. The other songs are little uninteresting but still they have MP's great voice. What I lack here, what was present formerly was a little mor stumbling instrumentation, with a dominant bass and little more originality. This is some ways too soft and coherent, perhaps this listening was too easy for my taste. But consider this is the bands 20th disc, almost fourty years after the band's debut, then it's amazing they still do good music. This is nice but if you haven't heard Steeleye Span I rather recommend "Below the Salt", "Parcel of Rogues" and "Please to See the King" than this.

 Hark! The Village Wait by STEELEYE SPAN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.83 | 42 ratings

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Hark! The Village Wait
Steeleye Span Prog Related

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I really, really love the british folk rock of the early 70's. Being a sucker for all things british I can't help but being totally under the spell of music such as this. It fills my body and soul with such energy and tranquility, sense of history and existence it is hard to describe in words.

"Hark!..." is probably one of my all time favorites, a constant member of my top5 when speaking folk. It is simply outstanding. The material, the vocals and the intrumentation is classic and truly magnificent. There is a questionable quality to the audio, sometimes, but in some weird way it oly adds to the value of the music. I think that the murkyness enhances the experience. Maybe that's just the case if you, like me, love the music behind the fuzzy veil.

There are beauty and there's grimness, tragedy and sorrow on here. My favorite tracks HAS to be "Dark-eyed sailor" and "The blacksmith". Actually, the latter I've heard in several renditions but none matches the crude brilliance of Steeleye Span's version.

For some Steeleye Span came to their fore on later albums but I beg to differ. This is their finest hour and what an hour it is. It is not so that later albums lacks in charm or quality. No, that is not what I mean. All I am saying is that this is inspiration through divine intervention. Apart from being partial to the British isles I am also partial to history and listening to "Hark!..." I get the sense of ability to transport myself through time and space, absorbing history and music in one stroke.

"Hark!..." has not left my Ipod for the last couple of years and brings the same smile to my face now, listening to it as I write, as the first time I heard it way back. Alongside Fairports "Liege & Lief", Barry Dransfield's first solo album, John Martyn's "Solid air" (for it's amazingly progressive rendition of the folk prog genre) and Pentangle's "Basket of light" this first album of Steeleye Span ranks as THE folk album one must have if you are at all interested in the genre.

Thanks to Atavachron for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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