Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steeleye Span - Back In Line (England 1986) @320

This album, the band's 12th, was released in 1986, after almost a hiatus of almost 6 years. It was their first album without founding member Tim Hart, who quit the music business entirely. It was also the last album they recorded with Maddy Prior's husband, Rick Kemp, until They Called Her Babylon; Kemp suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to stop playing for a long time.
Like the previous album, Sails of Silver, this one was primarily new songs written by the band but with a strong historical content. "Isabel", "Lanercost" and "Take My Heart" all deal with the Scottish Wars of Independence and Robert the Bruce, while "White Man" was a critique of European colonialism, and "Peace on the Border" dealt with the subject of 18th century rebellions and deportations.
"Scarecrow" was about the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, a Royalist victory during the English Civil War. Only "Blackleg Miner" was a traditional song, although the album also included a challenging classical violin piece, "Canon by Telemann", which allowed Knight to demonstrate his classical roots. Like Sails of Silver, this album was not well-received by fans, and reviews tend to see the album as being slickly packaged but erratic in quality.
The album featured a live version of "Blackleg Miner", an early 1900s union protest song the band had first recorded for Hark! The Village Wait. Substantially re-orchestrated with a much funkier feel than the original version, the song produced some controversy when the band performed it in Nottingham in 1986, not long after a major mine strike.
The album's highlights include the energetic funk version of "Blackleg Miner", a similarly funky "White Man", which features as complicated a vocal arrangement as Steeleye has ever offered, and "Isabel", a strong piece sung by Prior, about the Countess of Buchan who helped crown Robert the Bruce. In general, the pieces have a strong rock feel.
The song "Lady Diamond" is a version of a traditional Scottish ballad, "Lady Dysie", a version of which appeared on the Tannahill Weaver's 1984 album, Passage. Nigel Pegrum and Rick Kemp helped produce several of the Tannahill's albums. The album was originally released on the "Flutterby" label. A single was released from this album - "Somewhere in London/ Lanercost". This suggests that "Somewhere in London" was recorded on the same sessions as the album. When Park Records re-released the album in 1991, this lost track appeared at the end, together with two live tracks - "Spotted Cow" (the first track on Below the Salt) and "One Misty Moisty Morning" (the first track on Parcel of Rogues).

01. Edward (6.21)
02. Lanercost (4.32)
03. Lady Diamond (4.41)
04. 01. Isabel (5.22)
05. A Canon by Telemann (1.42)
06. Blackleg Miner (live 1985) (4.13)
07. Peace on the Border (4.23)
08. Scarecrow (4.13)
09. Take My Heart (4.03)
10. White Man (4.38)
12. Somewhere in London (3.42)
13. Spotted Cow (live 1986) (4.31)
14. One Misty Moisty Morning (live 1986) (4.34)

Maddy Prior: vocals
Peter Knight: violin, vocals
Rick Kemp: bass, vocals
Bob Johnson: guitar, vocals
Nigel Pegrum: drums
Vince Cross: Yamaha DX7 synthesiser


Anonymous said...

Dear CrimsonKing,
Thank you so much for your truly amazing work on Steeleye Span !
I've been waiting so long on such a complete upload.
I've nothing more to say but carry on ! You're a great one, many thanks again !


CrimsonKing said...

You're welcome Cilegio :)

Term Papers said...

I really admire this, I mean it really looks interesting! Very nice write up. Anyways, its a Great post.

Anonymous said...

It's a great privilege to get so much great music by SS: many thanks.

CrimsonKing said...


Back In Line


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