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Steeleye Span - Below the Salt CD (album) cover


Steeleye Span


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3.66 | 54 ratings

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the philosopher
4 stars Two records made me love the British folkrock scene: Liege and Lief of Fairport Convention and Below the Salt of Steeleye Span. I bought these records at the same time and was kind-a mesmorized by it. I collected much more folkrock, but these two records always remained unbeaten in its genre. These two artists created the typical British folkrock sound, which was obvious different the the American folk, because of the use of both man and woman vocals and the inclusion of medieval influences in the sound. Related artists are Fairport Convention, Triangle and Fotheringay and Ougenweide. Ougenweide is german, but also uses medieval influences and the combination of woman and man vocalists.

Below the Salt can be described as British artfolk with some electric instruments together with folk instruments like the banjo and violin. It is elegant and sometimes pastoral - especially the multivocal Gaudete - and reaches an highly authentic medieval folk sound which was never reached by artists like Jethro Tull or The Strawbs. Although Steeleye Span was never a truly progressive act, it has some symphonic lines in it and intelligent songwriting at this time of existence.

My favourite songs on the record are King Henry and the earlier mentioned Gaudete. King Henry has some nice returning violin melodies and a great bridge with some tension building and brilliant violin solo's. The song John Barleycorn is a totally different version then the earlier release by Traffic. Both versions are worthwile listening: the version by Steeleye Span is more symphonic and British sounding.

Below the Salt gives the impression of taking the listener back to medieval times, although I doubt if the music was so highly skilled at the time. The sound is more like pure folk then rockin' but will please fans of symphonic folk.

the philosopher | 4/5 |


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