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Steeleye Span - Gaudete CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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3.03 | 4 ratings

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Easy Livin
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3 stars The first UK hit single sung in Latin

The track "Gaudete" (the English translation of the title is "Rejoice") from Steeleye Span's 1972 "Below the salt" album was belatedly released as a single in time for Christmas that year. It sank without trace, but was re-released in identical format in late 1973.

The 1973 re-releasing of the song as a single proved to be an inspired move, giving the band their first hit single. It rose to number 14 on the UK chart in December that year, where it peaked during the Christmas week.

"Gaudete" is actually a Christmas song, although the fact that the lyrics are sung in Latin makes this less than obvious. References to the Virgin Mary can be heard though, the song probably dating from the 16th century. The delivery is a cappella sung in multi part harmony and emphasising the vocal prowess of the band. It may not be particularly representative of Steeleye Span overall, but it did serve to bring them to the attention of a much wider audience. Even today, the song can often be heard on the radio at Christmas, and is regularly included on themed compilations.

To emphasise the festive nature of the release, the B-side is a non-album cover of the Christmas carol the "Holly and the ivy". While hardly an essential Steeleye Span song in itself, its rarity does make this single a must for devotees of the band.

Incidentally, a version of the song can be found on Chris Squire's 2007 Christmas album.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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