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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
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
Audio CD$4.63
$3.35 (used)
Steeleye Span: Spanning the YearsSteeleye Span: Spanning the Years
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)
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 ?- Live At Last! LP, US pressing USD $6.19 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span - SIGNED Flyer 2013 USD $11.55 [0 bids]
STEELEYE SPAN - Commoners Crown - vinyl LP UK Chrysalis 1975 VG++/EX USD $1.98 [0 bids]
Steeleye Span - The King (The Best Of The Early Years) (CD 1996) USD $3.30 [0 bids]
THE WOODS BAND~V.Rare Folk CD~crest29~Rockburgh Records~STEELEYE SPAN~POGUES~NEW USD $66.01 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Cogs, Wheels and Lovers CD NEW USD $16.08 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Now We Are Six Again CD NEW USD $18.93 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Wintersmith CD NEW USD $16.08 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-The Collection in Concert CD NEW USD $15.21 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Bloody Men CD NEW USD $18.93 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Horkstow Grange CD NEW USD $15.21 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span-Journey CD NEW USD $21.91 Buy It Now
Now We Are Six Steeleye Span Vinyl Record USD $15.78 Buy It Now
Now We Are Six Steeleye Span Vinyl Record USD $14.46 Buy It Now
All Around My Hat Steeleye Span Vinyl Record USD $11.82 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span - 'Now We Are' 1974 UK Chrysalis LP. Ex! USD $7.91 Buy It Now
Parcel Of Rogues Steeleye Span Vinyl Record USD $15.78 Buy It Now
Steeleye Span - Please To See The King (1971 Big Tree BTS-2004) Used Vinyl LP USD $3.50 Buy It Now 13m 8s
STEELEYE SPAN - PORTFOLIO double vinyl lp record EXC USD $13.19 Buy It Now 2h 2m
STEELEYE SPAN Padstow 7" VINYL B/W First House In Connaught/Sailors Bonnet USD $6.59 Buy It Now 4h 11m
STEELEYE SPAN All Around My Hat 7" VINYL Promo B/W Gaudete (Chsdj2658) UK USD $2.77 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Steeleye Span All Around My Hat lp cat number CHR1091 NM/MINT USD $11.55 Buy It Now 4h 46m
STEELEYE SPAN Now We Are Six FLYER Double-Sided Flyer For Autumn And Winter USD $4.15 Buy It Now 4h 56m
STEELEYE SPAN Now We Are Six FLYER Double-Sided A5 Flyer For Spring 2013 Uk USD $5.53 Buy It Now 4h 56m
STEELEYE SPAN / ANDY ROBERTS Chrysalis Presents In Concert With TOUR PROGRAMME USD $64.42 Buy It Now 4h 56m
STEELEYE SPAN / AMAZING BLONDEL Souvenir Brochure TOUR PROGRAMME 16 Page USD $53.34 Buy It Now 4h 56m
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
THE BEST OF STEELEYE SPAN CD Album Orig 1984 EXCELLENT 11 trx All Around My Hat USD $3.30 Buy It Now 5h 25m
STEELEYE SPAN Thomas The Rhymer 7" VINYL B/W The Mooncoin Jig (Chs2026) UK USD $5.53 Buy It Now 5h 27m
STEELEYE SPAN Following Me 7" VINYL B/W Two Butchers (Flut4) Pic Sleeve UK USD $6.59 Buy It Now 5h 28m
STEELEYE SPAN Gone To America 7" VINYL B/W Let Her Go Down (Chs2503) UK USD $5.53 Buy It Now 5h 28m
STEELEYE SPAN London 7" VINYL B/W Sligo Maid (Chs2107) UK Chrysalis USD $6.59 Buy It Now 5h 28m
STEELEYE SPAN Rave On 7" VINYL 3 Track B/W King And False Knight On The Road USD $6.59 Buy It Now 5h 29m
STEELEYE SPAN New York Girls 7" VINYL A On Right Hand Of Label Design B/W Two USD $6.59 Buy It Now 5h 29m
STEELEYE SPAN Rag Doll 7" VINYL B/W Saucy Sailor (Chs2233) UK Chrysalis USD $6.59 Buy It Now 5h 29m
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
Steeleye Span Almanack - '73 U.K. LP! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5h 50m
Steeleye Span - The Best of (CD 2002) ROCK, FOLK USD $0.65 [0 bids]
6h 4m
STEELEYE SPAN Portfolio CD 16 Track (Mpcd1647) UK Chrysalis USD $10.35 Buy It Now 6h 9m
BEST OF BRITISH FOLK Various CD 16 Track Compilation Featuring Steeleye Span USD $6.59 Buy It Now 6h 9m
STEELEYE SPAN Parcel Of Rogues CD 10 Track Remastered Japanese Edition In LP USD $51.94 Buy It Now 6h 9m
STEELEYE SPAN Below The Salt CD 9 Track Remastered Japanese Edition In LP USD $51.94 Buy It Now 6h 9m
STEELEYE SPAN Please To See The King DOUBLE CD 35 Track Double CD Set USD $63.04 Buy It Now 6h 9m
STEELEYE SPAN Sails Of Silver CD 13 Track (Prkcd40) UK Park USD $21.44 Buy It Now 6h 10m
STEELEYE SPAN All Around My Hat CD 9 Track (Ccdd1091) UK Chrysalis USD $6.59 Buy It Now 6h 10m
STEELEYE SPAN Winter CD 14 Track (Prkcd74) European Park USD $14.51 Buy It Now 6h 10m
Steeleye Span 4 Lp Lot all Around My Hat, Parcel Of Rogues, Please King, Now We USD $24.99 Buy It Now 6h 25m
STEELEYE SPAN All Around My Hat LP VINYL 9 Track But Has Small Split Seam USD $4.15 Buy It Now 6h 58m
RAVE ON COMPILATION Various LP VINYL 13 Track Featuring Steeleye Span, Tim Hart USD $4.15 Buy It Now 6h 58m
STEELEYE SPAN Storm Force Ten LP VINYL 8 Track But Sleeve Has Some Creasing USD $4.16 Buy It Now 6h 58m
STEELEYE SPAN All Around My Hat LP VINYL 9 Track Sticker On The Sleeve USD $6.59 Buy It Now 6h 59m
Steeleye Span - Best Of The (1988) USD $3.95 Buy It Now 7h 6m
Steeleye Span (Maddy Prior) Hard Times Of Old England UK 45 7" single USD $3.95 Buy It Now 7h 8m
STEELEYE SPAN Original Masters DOUBLE LP VINYL 20 Track Double Gatefold Sleeve USD $8.97 Buy It Now 7h 23m
STEELEYE SPAN S/T LP VINYL 12 Track (Shm3040) UK Pickwick USD $6.59 Buy It Now 7h 31m
STEELEYE SPAN Live At Last LP VINYL 7 Track (Chr1199) UK Chrysalis USD $6.59 Buy It Now 7h 31m
STEELEYE SPAN Storm Force Ten LP VINYL 8 Track With Insert (Chr1151) UK USD $5.53 Buy It Now 7h 31m
STEELEYE SPAN Tempted And Tried LP VINYL 11 Track With Inner Sleeve A 20Th USD $13.12 Buy It Now 7h 32m
steeleye span/all around my hat USD $1.32 [0 bids]
7h 37m
Winter [Steeleye Span] New CD USD $15.93 Buy It Now 7h 51m
STEELEYE SPAN 3XY radio station TOP 40 MUSIC CHART 9 AUGUST 1974 survey b USD $11.48 Buy It Now 9h 16m
STEELEYE SPAN 1420 3XY radio station TOP 40 MUSIC CHART AUGUST 8 1975 survey USD $11.48 Buy It Now 9h 30m
Spanning the Years 0724383223626 by Steeleye Span, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $10.71 Buy It Now 9h 32m
STEELEYE SPAN Live At Last 8 Track Tape SEALED Chrysalis 8CH 1199 USD $8.88 Buy It Now 9h 56m
STEELEYE SPAN portfolio CNW 7 uk chrysalis 1988 DOUBLE LP PS VG/EX USD $11.86 Buy It Now 10h 55m
Storm Force Ten (UK 1977) : Steeleye Span USD $8.58 Buy It Now 11h 5m
Steeleye Span, Hark the Village Wait, Excellent USD $10.99 Buy It Now 11h 10m
THE BEST OF THE REST OF FOLK MASTERS CASSETTE - Steeleye Span Shirley Collins. USD $9.18 Buy It Now 13h 24m
Steeleye Span peg with booklet GF LP Ten Man Mop or Mr Reservior Butler Rides USD $24.99 Buy It Now 14h 17m
Steeleye Span 2LP Span Story USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 19m
2/12/72PN12 ARTICLE & PICTURE(S) STEELEYE SPAN USD $6.60 Buy It Now 14h 19m
Steeleye Span - Collection Steeleye Span In Concert [CD New] USD $14.84 Buy It Now 14h 19m
Steeleye Span ex green label promo with insert LP All Around My Hat USD $9.75 Buy It Now 14h 19m
Steeleye Span in shrink LP Storm Force Ten USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 20m
Steeleye Span LP Live at Last USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 21m
Steeleye Span LP Rocket Cottage USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 21m
Steeleye Span m- 2nd press in shrink LP Please to See the King USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 22m
Steeleye Span m- white label promo LP Please to See the King USD $19.99 Buy It Now 14h 23m
Steeleye Span MFSL m- LP All Around My Hat USD $17.99 Buy It Now 14h 23m
Steeleye Span promo LP All Around My Hat USD $5.49 Buy It Now 14h 24m
Steeleye Span sealed no cuts 2LP Story USD $14.99 Buy It Now 14h 25m
Steeleye Span UK LP Almanack USD $6.49 Buy It Now 14h 26m
Steeleye Span Gaudete b/w The Holly And The Ivy 7" Vinyl 1972 Chrysalis CHS 2007 USD $1.31 [0 bids]
22/11/80PN39 ADVERT: STEELEYE SPAN SAILS 0F SILVER AT THE HMV SHOP 15X11 USD $14.52 Buy It Now 17h 25m
STEELEYE SPAN Rocket Cottage CHRYSALIS UK Original LP EX MIKE BATT USD $10.56 Buy It Now 18h 51m
STEELEYE SPAN-Almanack UK 11 Track LP 1st Press A1 B1 Matrix EX Cond USD $15.83 Buy It Now 19h 3m
STEELEYE SPAN cassette tape album ALL AROUND MY HAT lot 3896 USD $7.54 Buy It Now 21h 8m
STEELEYE SPAN Time Span 2 LP Martin Carty Maddy Prior Tim Hart UK Folk Psych USD $16.99 Buy It Now 21h 10m
Steeleye Span, Commoners Crown, 1975, LP Record (L5) chr1071 USD $14.55 Buy It Now 21h 16m
Steeleye Span LP Vinyl Record Lot of 2: Live at Last! + Please to See the King USD $13.30 Buy It Now 22h 17m

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STEELEYE SPAN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help 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
2.96 | 28 ratings
Please to See the King
2.86 | 28 ratings
Ten Map Mop or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again
3.70 | 41 ratings
Below The Salt
3.55 | 33 ratings
Parcel of Rogues
3.28 | 32 ratings
Now We Are Six
3.15 | 28 ratings
Commoner's Crown
3.14 | 28 ratings
All Around My Hat
3.48 | 23 ratings
Rocket Cottage
3.17 | 15 ratings
Storm Force Ten
2.13 | 10 ratings
Sails of Silver
2.49 | 5 ratings
Back In Line
3.40 | 9 ratings
Tempted And Tried
3.78 | 9 ratings
2.92 | 5 ratings
Horkstow Grange
3.42 | 7 ratings
Bedlam Born
3.51 | 9 ratings
They Called Her Babylon
2.88 | 5 ratings
3.04 | 8 ratings
Bloody Men
2.94 | 7 ratings
Cogs, Wheels & Lovers
3.21 | 5 ratings

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

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

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
Classic Rock Legends

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

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

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

3.03 | 4 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Fighting for Strangers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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