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Steeleye Span - Please To See The King CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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3.31 | 33 ratings

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5 stars Please To See the King finds Steeleye Span undertaking a stylistic shift from their first album best illustrated by The Blacksmith, a song also recorded on the debut. Part of the point of the folk revivalist groups of the 1970s wanted to make was how much potential the old standards had for reinterpretation, and Steeleye Span have gone in for that in a major way; rather than recording a song once and having done with it, they have no qualms about rerecording pieces of their repertoire if they think they can tease out something different from it.

Thus, whilst the version of The Blacksmith on Hark! The Village Wait has a jauntiness that belies the essential betrayal and heartbreak at the core of the song, the version here is stunningly stark and minimalist. This sets the tone for much of the rest of the album, which explored just how stripped-down and raw electric folk could get whilst exploring a broad range of subject matter. There's a darkness underlying things - even something jaunty-sounding like Boys of Bedlam or Female Drummer has a manic glint to the eye (as in the former case) or is singing about something being unfairly denied the narrator (in the latter case), whilst Lovely On the Water is absolutely haunting. If this doesn't justify the electric folk revival of the 1970s, nothing does.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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