Friday, February 26, 2010

Steeleye Span - Bloody Men (England 2006) @320

Bloody Men is the 20th studio album by the British electric folk band Steeleye Span.

This album represents a continuation of the band's recent surge of activity. In 2002, the band was in a state of near collapse, since three members of its line-up at the time, Tim Harries, Gay Woods, and Bob Johnson, had all departed, leaving long-time member Peter Knight and recently-returned member Rick Kemp as the only remaining members. That same year, Knight persuaded former members Maddy Prior and Liam Genockey to return and coaxed Johnson out of retirement to record the album Present--The Very Best of Steeleye Span. Ken Nicol came on board to replace Johnson, and the band has been relatively active since then, releasing two albums, They Called Her Babylon and Winter in 2004, and 'Bloody Men' late in 2006, as well as touring extensively.

During its heyday in the 1970s, Steeleye almost exclusively recorded their arrangements of traditional songs, with occasional forays into versions of 20th century songs by other artists such as Buddy Holly and Bertold Brecht. But starting in the early 1980s, the band's albums have increasingly focused on a mixture of traditional songs and their own compositions, and 'Bloody Men' continues that trend, albeit with a new twist. The album consists of 2 CDs, the first a mixture of traditional and original pieces. The second CD is the 5-song "Ned Ludd" cycle, written mostly by Kemp, about the 19th century Luddite movement. The band has never attempted a multi-song cycle like this before.

The album opens with the bawdy "Bonny Black Hare", on which Prior sings in a gravelly voice and Knight plays his violin rather like an electric guitar, a successful experiment that goes unrepeated on the album. Other highlights include a hard-rock cover of "Cold Haily Rainy Night", which the band first offered on Please to See the King, the brisk "The 3 Sisters" and the cheerful "Lord Elgin". The notes for "Lord Elgin" say that "this song is not what it seems on the face of it," indicating that it is a riddle-song. A probable solution is at the bottom of the page. The song "Whummil Bore" is about a servant looking through a whummil bore (a hole bored with a gimlet-like tool) and watching a lady getting dressed. The instrumental "First House in Connaught" is a cover of a track from Tempted and Tried, the first time the band has ever covered one of its own instrumental pieces.

The Ned Ludd cycle begins with a song about the enclosure movement in Early Modern England, effectively a pastoral ode to preindustrial England, and then moves on to the plight of the workers who have been displaced by industrialization. The third song is an appeal to the mythical Ned Ludd to destroy the machines and lead the workers in a rebellion. The fourth and fifth songs deal with the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, in which the British cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of protesters supporting a repeal of the Corn Laws. Neither the Enclosure Movement nor the Corn Laws were directly related to the Luddite Movement, but in the cycle these serve to explore the wider problems of common workers.

01. The Bonny Black Hare (4.39)
02. The Story of the Scullion King (4.41)
03. The Dreamer and the Widow (4.47)
04. Lord Elgin (4.06)
05. The Three Sisters (4.16)
06. The First House in Connaught / The Lady of the House (3.39)
07. Cold Haily Windy Night (4.40)
08. Whummil Bore (4.12)
09. Demon of the Well (5.57)
10. Lord Gregory (5.41)

11. Ned Ludd Part 1 (Inclosure) (2.48)
12. Ned Ludd Part 2 (Rural Retreat) (4.09)
13. Ned Ludd Part 3 (Ned Ludd) (3.18)
14. Ned Ludd Part 4 (Prelude to Peterloo) (2.56)
15. Ned Ludd Part 5 (Peterloo the Day) (2.52)

Maddy Prior: vocals
Peter Knight: violin, “Octave” violin, viola, mandolin, backing vocals
Ken Nicol: vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Rick Kemp: bass, vocals
Liam Genockey: drums and percussion

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Steeleye Span - Winter (England 2004) @320

Winter is the 19th studio album by the electric folk band Steeleye Span. So far it is the second of three studio albums made by a line-up consisting of Maddy Prior, Peter Knight, Rick Kemp, Liam Genockey and Ken Nicol. This is their first Christmas album.

01. The First Nowell (4.23)
02. Down in Yon Forest (3.45)
03. Unconquered Sun (5.22)
04. Chanticleer (4.17)
05. Bright Morning Star (3.16)
06. Winter (4.13)
07. See Amid the Winter's Snow (5.48)
08. Mistletoe Bough (5.36)
09. Sing We the Virgin Mary (3.41)
10. Today in Bethlehem (3.41)
11. Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel (2.54)
12. Hark the Herald Angels Sing (4.29)
13. Good King Wenceslas (3.36)
14. In the Bleak Midwinter (4.06)

Maddy Prior: vocals
Peter Knight: violin, “Octave” violin, viola, electric piano, mandolin, backing vocals
Ken Nicol: vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Rick Kemp: bass, vocals
Liam Genockey: drums and percussion

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aran - GalÉire (Spain 2005) @192

Highly Recommended!

Kindly offered to download by the band.

Site Band
Buy it here

ARAN comes out in 2001 as a folk band made up by musicians who have been working on several music projects following the roots deeply linked to different cultural identities.

ARAN brings out new musical formula, taken from the most diverse cultural traditions of the so called "Celtic World" (Ireland, Galicia, Scotland, Brittany,...) trying to keep the essence of them all.
With a selective repertoire which contains original as well as traditional sets (reels, jigs, muiñeiras, xotas, polkas,...) these five musicians touch us with their style, at times elegant and energetic, at times profound and brilliant, full of technical resources. Each of the musicians puts in their outstanding technique to the service of achieving the freshness, passion and balance with which they intend to colour their charming rythms. ARAN carries us to magic worlds where melancholy and joy merge into the smell of the rain and the fresh and green lawns of the Atlantic Finisterrae.

Galician pipes, uilleann pipes, whistles, bouzuki, double-bass, fiddle and percussion get together to provide the intense traditional tunes with the very personal touch which comes from the originality and new lines of expression opened by this band.

ARAN is the vivid tradition itself resting on excellent individual performances as well as on a balanced band-sound as a whole, the result of a spontaneous fusion which leads us to an unforgettable stream of emotions.

In the present folk music scene in Galicia ARAN shows as one of the best and most amazing bands in which the individualities join together into a solid sound, an appealing music for people who love dancing or just enjoy listening to it.

01 - The Hollybush Reels
02 - Breatnach, Stewert & Neff
03 - Polkas Galegas
04 - Baila Si
05 - The Reels On The Road
06 - Aguia
07 - The Jolly Beggarman
08 - Tribute To The Bothy Band
09 - O Mar Anda
10 - Four Reels
11 - Xotas Galegas
12 - Sporting Reels
13 - Coilin Phadraig Sheamuis
14 - Suite Patelas

Álvaro Iglesias: Double Bass
Harry Price: Fiddle
Antón Davila: Galician Pipes, Uilleann Pipes & Whistles
Xosé Liz: Bouzuki.
Suso Alonso: Percussions

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Steeleye Span - They Called Her Babylon (England 2004) @320

The album, the band's 18th studio album, was released in 2004. The album is perhaps most noteworthy for the return of Maddy Prior, the band's most central member, who had departed the band in 1996. Returning with Prior was her husband, Rick Kemp, who had not performed with the band since its 12th album, although both Prior and Kemp had performed on Present--The Very Best of Steeleye Span, an album that re-recorded versions of songs from earlier albums. Gay Woods, who had replaced Prior for two albums, departed at the same time.
New to the band with this album was guitarist Ken Nicol, while drummer Liam Genockey, who had played on Tempted and Tried and Time, returned. Longtime violinist Peter Knight rounded out the group.

Highlights of the album include 'Van Diemen's Land', a song about poaching and deportation to what would eventually be called Tasmania; 'Heir of Linne', a classic ballad of riches lost and regained, and 'Child Owlet', another traditional ballad whose gruesomeness is underlined by Prior's powerful vocals. The album also contains the band's shortest song ever, a 40 second version of 'Bede's Death Song', an early medieval poem attributed to an 8th century monk.

In the original version of 'Van Diemen's Land', the narrator is a man, but Prior reworked the lyrics to make the narrator a woman

The album received very mixed reviews. Some critics saw it as a return to form after several less-satisfying albums, and attributed the band's revival to Prior's return. Others saw the album as representing a continuing decline of the band, attributing it to the aging of the band's core members, and noting that Prior's voice, while still strong and effective on songs like 'Van Dieman's Land' and 'Child Owlet', does not seem to have its top range any more.

The title track deals with the Siege of Lathom House in 1644, during the English Civil War, during which Charlotte Stanley, Countess of Derby, held out for four months against Parliamentarian efforts to take the house.

01. Van Diemen's Land (4.52)
02. Samain (5.59)
03. Heir of Linne (6.49)
04. Bride's Farewell (4.18)
05. They Called Her Babylon (The Siege of Lathom House) (6.19)
06. Mantle of Green (5.23)
07. Bede's Death Song (0.41)
08. Diversus and Lazarus (6.43)
09. Si Begh Si Mohr (4.13)
10. Child Owlet (5.07)
11. What's the Life of a Man? (5.30)

Maddy Prior, vocals;
Peter Knight, vocals, violin, Octave violin, keyboards;
Ken Nicol, vocals, guitars;
Rick Kemp, vocals, bass;
Liam Genockey, drums

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Steeleye Span - Present (England 2002) @320

This double CD consists of RE-RECORDINGS of Steeleye Span's best known songs, recorded for their Winter 2002 reunion tour.

Present — The Very Best of Steeleye Span is an album by Steeleye Span, which is frequently mistaken for one of the band's many compilation albums. Although all but one of the songs had been previously released, the album is actually a collection of new studio versions of the songs involved. The project began with a poll on Peter Knight's website, asking fans about which of the band's songs they would most like to see new versions of. At the time the poll was taken, the band was a state of near collapse. Personal tensions during the recording of Bedlam Born had led to the departure of Gay Woods and Tim Harries, and health problems had forced Bob Johnson into retirement. When the poll was completed, Knight persuaded several past members of the band, Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp, and Liam Genockey to return to the studio, and he coaxed Johnson out of retirement as well. The newly reformed line-up, close to the band's famous mid-70's membership, released the results as a two disc set in 2002

01. Sir James the Rose (5.06)
02. Hard Times of Old England (6.35)
03. Cam Ye O'er Frae France (3.50)
04. Thomas the Rhymer (6.37)
05. Lyke Wake Dirge (2.48)
06. Black Jack Davy (4.15)
07. Two Magicians (4.32)
08. Blackleg Miner (2.58)
09. All Around My Hat (4.03)

10. When I Was on Horseback (4.50)
11. John Barleycorn (4.42)
12. Long Lankin (8.52)
13. One Misty Moisty Morning (6.31)
14. Let Her Go Down (3.46)
15. Gaudete (2.23)
16. The Weaver and the Factory Maid (5.43)
17. Drink Down the Moon (6.31)
18. King Henry / Rosebud in June (20.40)

Maddy Prior (vocals)
Rick Kemp (bass, vocals, guitar)
Peter Knight (organ, mandolin, violin, electric violin, vocals, piano)
Bob Johnson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals)
Liam Genockey (drums, cymbals)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Folkdove - Folkdove (France 1975) @320

There are many French folk pearls of which still little is known outside France. Only some limited reissues, like the 2 items from Mormos, or some compilations from Mallicorne. Folkdove from Brittany (Bretagne) is also such a pearl, which was originally only pressed in 400-600. This is now reissued on CD from a "with no noise system remastered vinyl recording", with perfect sound. It doesn't really sound too different from the best UK examples which have medieval inspirations, subtle original and inspired arrangements, and beautiful vocals (items like Midwinter, Mourning Phase,..). What confirmed this original sound were some old instruments which were especially built for the group, like psalter, spinet, and medieval dulcimer. A couple of songs have very beautiful vocal arrangements.
Often the six-piece group arrangements are sparse and rich at the same time. The female vocals for instance have a rich coloured sound too, which are already a blessing to hear. A must-have.

01 - Willow Song
02 - Niebelung I
03 - Dark Eyed Sailor
04 - Reverdie
05 - The Wind And The Rain
06 - Dit Le Bourguignon
07 - Loibere Risen
08 - Borogove
09 - Pretty Sarah
10 - Niebelung II
11 - Sylvie
12 - Lord Franklin
13 - O My Hart
14 - Lord Of The Dance

Jean Luc Creff - vocals, guitar, banjo, crumhorn
Marsine - vocals, psaltery
Daniel Creff - vocals, guitar, spinet, dulcimer
Henri Creff - guitar, mandolin
Pierre Abgall - electric bass, percussion
Mylene - violin

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steeleye Span - Gone to Australia (On Tour 1975-1984) (England 2001) @320

“I have always believed that STEELEYE SPAN were at their best live, in concert. We put a great deal of effort into our shows. When we toured Australia during the seventies and eighties the record company, or a radio station, would always be recording us at some concert or other. Steeleye expert Warren Barnett took it upon himself to gather these tapes together with a view to issuing them on CD. Happily he managed to find the original multi-track master tapes of most of the tracks and drummer Nigel Pegrum - now living in Australia - has remixed them. The result is a good impression of how it felt at the time. I think here is captured that live enthusiasm and our delight in the music we were producing.”

So writes Maddy Prior, lead singer with British electric folk pioneers Steeleye Span, in the liner notes to Gone to Australia (On Tour 1975-1984), the second of Raven's Steeleye Span archival releases. And indeed, touring Australia has always held a special significance for Steeleye. This enthralling, 18-track, 77-minute collection presents material drawn from a decade of concert appearances here, and in doing so captures all the empathy and excitement that Australian audiences came to expect from the band.

Expanding on the rare and elusive 1983 Australian-only On Tour LP, Gone to Australia includes the remixed tracks from that album, plus previously unreleased live performances of such Steeleye favourites as Barnet Fair, Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Blackleg Miner, Thomas the Rhymer and The Mason's Apron. The set is rounded out by Sum Waves / The Devil's Dream from a 1975 performance that was painstakingly
restored from the ultra-rare and only surviving acetate recording of this track and transferred to digital format specifically for the project.

Issued with full blessings from the band, the package comes complete with deluxe, 12-page colour booklet featuring rare photos and detailed liner notes by band members Maddy Prior and Peter Knight. Gone to Australia (On Tour 1975-1984) is a must for any Steeleye Span aficionado.

From Adelaide Opera Theatre 1982
01 - Black Jack Davey
02 - Sails Of Silver
03 - Let Her Go Down
04 - Alison Gross
05 - Barnet Fair
06 - Gone To America
07 - Longbone
08 - Bach Goes To Limerick
09 - All Around My Hat
10 - Gaudete
11 - Sligo Maid
12 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France

From Perth Concert Hall 1985:
13 - Bachelor's Hall
14 - Blackleg Miner.mp3
15 - Spotted Cow - Sailor's Bonnet
16 - Thomas The Rhymer
17 - The Mason's Apron

From Canberra Theatre 1975:
18 - Sum Waves - The Devil's Dream

Alain Pennec - Bacchanales (France 2004) @192

.Modern Breton music with deep roots, led by a master of the diatonic accordion in a unique quartet: Aurore Bréger (harp) Alain Pennec (diatonic accordion), Youenn Landreau (chapman stick) and Stéphane Barbier (percussion). The artists say: " original repertoire from the traditional Celtic universe with new harmonies and rhythms, together with compositions steeped in the different musical backgrounds of each musician. And above all it is four musicians wishing to share their musical passion and conviviality."

01- Ar siezh eizh aes
02- Par un dimanche au soir, Les regrets du lundi
03- Gavottes de l'Aven
04- Chanson de la mariée
05- Strathbour
06- Le galant noyé
07- Polkas : Ta dta ghabhairin bhui agam, Magic sleeper, Nino's polka, Angele's polka
08- O'Valafennin
09- A kiss early in the morning
10- Reel's : Patrick's reel, Where's my mace
11- Hanter dro : Hanterdroîde, Je vous le demande
12- Dielloù

Alain Pennec: accordéons, Bombard, Ocarina
Aurore Bréger: harp
Youenn Landreau: chapman stick
Stéphane Barbier: percussion

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Steeleye Span - Bedlam Born (England 2000) @320


Bedlam Born is the 16th studio album by the electric folk band Steeleye Span. It is the second of two albums made by a line-up consisting of Gay Woods, Bob Johnson, Peter Knight, and Tim Harries, and only the second album on which Maddy Prior did not make an appearance. The title refers not to a bedlam, but to Christ's birth in Bethlehem (which is occasionally corrupted to 'Bedlam'). "There is a child in Bedlam born" is a line from "Stephen".

Their previous album, Horkstow Grange was not well-received by fans, many of whom complained that the album was too light on rock and too heavy on folk. For Bedlam Born the band emphasized the rock elements, producing tracks such as "Well Done Liar", "John of
Ditchford", and "We Poor Laboring Men" that have a strong rock guitar line, driving bass, and comparatively heavy drumming, provided by the band's regular guest drummer Dave Mattacks. While Woods was the primary lead singer on 'Horkstow Grange', on this album she sings
lead on only 5 songs, mostly quieter pieces that allow her to demonstrate her shimmering high range. Two of these pieces, "Arbour" and "The White Cliffs of Dover" experiment with spoken-word sequences, something entirely new for the band. ("John of Ditchford", incidentally, is a fairly accurate retelling of an actual murder case that occurred in England in the early 14th century.)

According to Woods, two tracks, "I See His Blood Upon the Rose" and "Stephen", attracted considerable complaint from fans. Both pieces are explicitly Christian, with "Stephen" being about a stable boy in Bethlehem at the time of the Massacre of the Innocents. Fans objected that the band had always stuck to secular music and felt uncomfortable about the religious sentiments of these two tracks.
This complaint is to some extent unjustified since, although the majority of the band's repertoire is secular, the band has in fact performed a number of explicitly Christian pieces over the course of its history. Its second-highest charting song, "Gaudete" is a Latin chant celebrating Christ's birth. "Harvest Home", off Sails of Silver is a 19th century Anglican hymn. Although Steeleye didn't get around to recording "Lyke-Wake Dirge" until 2002, this medieval song about Purgatory was the introduction of their first American tour, while "Lanercost" from Back in Line uses the Kyrie Eleison as its chorus. In 2004, the band would release Winter, an album of
Christmas songs, about half of which were traditional Christian pieces.

Like the previous album, reactions to 'Bedlam' were mixed. Many complained that the album was too rock-heavy, while others lamented Prior's continued absence. On the other hand, some celebrated the album as a return to the sound the band had during the mid-70s.

The recording of this album was reportedly rather tumultuous, with Woods eventually quitting the band again, reportedly over money issues, and Harries also departing after the release of the album. Johnson, who had been the band's main guitarist for most of the band's history, chose to retire because of health trouble. This left a need for a lead guitarist for the band's tour, and Rick Kemp, who had been a member in the band's commercially successful middle period, returned and eventually rejoined the band on a full-time basis. During the tour, Kemp and Harries alternated playing lead guitar and bass.

01. Well Done Liar! (4.35)
02. Who Told the Butcher? (2.58)
03. John of Ditchford (3.43)
04. I See His Blood upon the Rose (4.58)
05. Black Swan (1.50)
06. The Beggar (3.00)
07. Poor Old Soldier (2.20)
08. Arbour (1.26)
09. There Was a Wealthy Merchant (4.58)
10. Beyond the Dreaming Place (3.04)
11. We Poor Labouring Men (5.05)
12. The Connemara Cradle Song (5.38)
13. Stephen (4.25)
14. The White Cliffs of Dover (3.06)

Gay Woods: vocals, bodhrán
Bob Johnson: vocals, electric guitar
Peter Knight: vocals, violin
Tim Harries: bass, keyboards, vocals
Dave Mattacks: drums

Monday, February 8, 2010

Steeleye Span - Horkstow Grange (England 1998) @320

Released in 1998, it is the band's 15th album, and the first album the band recorded without founding member Maddy Prior. Gay Woods provides most of the lead vocals, although the other three members of the band all do the lead singing on at least one song each. Liam Genockey, who had played drums on the band's previous two albums also departed, so most of the songs employ minimal or no percussion, although Woods plays tambourine or bodhran on several songs, and Dave Mattacks, formerly of Fairport Convention, mans a drum kit on three songs. The overall result is an album that has a very strong folk flavor, with rather less rock elements than on previous albums, and one that has much in common with Ten Man Mop, or Mr. Reservoir Butler Rides Again. The tunes tend to be simpler and the performances more subdued, and in some ways the album is a return to the sound the band had on its first three albums. The album also has a strong Irish influence, with songs such as "The Old Turf Fire", "Erin", "The Bonny Irish Boy", and "The Parting Glass" all being of Irish origin. Woods' vocal style is distinctly different from Prior's, being more earthy and often more 'in character'. Unusually, the album has no instrumental pieces. Peter Knight summed up the album with the comment that "Horkstow Grange was very much the sound of four musicians marking their territory and coming out with something different to what's gone before."
Perhaps because of the many differences between this album and Steeleye's core sound, this album was not well received, with many fans suggesting that it was somehow not Steeleye Span without Maddy Prior. Much of the criticism from fans focused on Woods, perhaps because her singing is so prominent on the album and because she had become the band's frontwoman. The album is often cited as one of the band's weakest.
The album's highlight is probably "The Parting Glass". Its minimal instrumentation allows Woods to demonstrate the strength of her voice. Other highlights include "The Old Turf Fire" and "I Wish That I Never Was Married", both also sung by Woods. "One True Love" is also the first Steeleye Span song to feature Tim Harries on lead vocals.
The album's title refers to a traditional English song, first collected by Percy Grainger, one of the early proponents of collecting traditional music. The song is about a quarrel between John Steeleye Span and one of his servants. The song was the inspiration for the band's name, but they only got around to recording the song 28 years after first forming.
The track "Australia" is dedicated to Nigel Pegrum, the band's former drummer, who moved to Australia.

01 - The Old Turf Fire (3.53)
02 - The Tricks of London (2.42)
03 - Horkstow Grange (2.06)
04 - Lord Randall (4.14)
05 - Erin Grá Mo Chroí (6.13)
06 - Queen Mary / Hunsden House (3.05)
07 - Bonny Birdy (6.15)
08 - Bonny Irish Boy (3.43)
09 - I Wish That I Never Was Wed (2.53)
10 - Australia (3.36)
11 - One True Love (4.12)
12 - The Parting Glass (3.08)

Gay Woods: vocals, bodhrán
Bob Johnson: vocals, electric guitar
Peter Knight: vocals, violin
Tim Harries: bass, keyboards, vocals
Dave Mattacks: drums

Friday, February 5, 2010

Steeleye Span - Time (England 1996) @320

The album was released in 1996, after a seven year hiatus. The impetus for the album was a 25th anniversary reunion tour the year before, during which most of the former members of the band performed together. Maddy Prior was experiencing voice problems so she spoke to Gay Woods, a founding member who had left the band after the first album, to rejoin. Woods initially resisted this move, since she had not performed publicly for some time, but Prior eventually prevailed and Woods returned to the band. The result was only the second Steeleye Span album to feature two female singers, which was used to very good effect on the ironic "Old Maid in the Garrett" and to a lesser extent on "The Prickly Bush" and "The Cutty Wren". Both Prior and Woods provide lead vocals on different songs. Prior’s voice troubles are reflected in her musical choices on this album; she generally sings less powerfully and in a lower range, but still effectively. Woods also introduced a few Irish elements to the band’s repertoire, including the "Old Maid in the Garrett/Tam Lin reel" and her bodhran. This album was to be Prior’s last album with Steeleye Span until 2004’s They Called Her Babylon.

In some ways, the album represents a revival of Steeleye Span. After a 16 year period during which the band released only three albums, the band entered a more productive phase that continues down the present, producing an album once every two years, including two in 2004.
The song "Corbies" is a remake of "Twa Corbies", which appears on Hark! The Village Wait. The theme of "The Cutty Wren" had also been explored before, in the song "The King" on Please to See the King, as well in "Hunting the Wren" on Live at Last. In this version, the band experimented with a complex scheme of vocal and instrumental placement, which is best appreciated with headphones. Overall, this version is much darker than "The King" and somewhat menacing.

The album's sound is rather fuller and more lush than their earlier albums, thanks in part to the addition of Harries' keyboards on several sounds, most notably "Corbies" and "The Elf Knight".

01 - The Prickly Bush (6.03)
02 - The Old Maid in the Garrett / Tam Lin (reel) (5.55)
03 - Harvest of the Moon (4.11)
04 - Underneath Her Apron (5.13)
05 - The Cutty Wren (2.50)
06 - Go From My Window (5.19)
07 - The Elf-Knight (8.39)
08 - The Water Is Wide (7.33)
09 - You Will Burn (4.53)
10 - Corbies (3.42)
11 - The Song Will Remain (4.16)

Maddy Prior: vocals;
Gay Woods: vocals, bodhrán;
Bob Johnson: vocals, electric guitar;
Peter Knight: vocals, violin;
Tim Harries: bass, keyboards, vocals;
Liam Genockey: drums, percussion

Steeleye Span - In Concert (England 1994) @320

There are far too many theories about music. Steeleye Span know that well, both cognescenti and critics have debated long and hard on what they've created. The band themselves quite sensibly dismiss all this and maintain their music speaks for itself.
Here are Steeleye Span - in fact two different Steeleye Span - doing just that. One from the mid eighties remoulding earlier classics into finky Merrie England groove - immaculate bass from the soon to depart Rick Kemp, roaring guitar courtesy of Bob Johnson, two sparks to a flame which ignites on King Henry.
The other Steeleye, older, more measured, even stately, yet with fresh impertinence. Peter Knight's carnival violin leading reels or echoing gothic classics with A Canon by Telemann. Maddy Prior - the voice, the constant - relating tales of vulpine trickery, false loves and dances in the beyond. A new backline already adept in those old ethnic rhythms kick on the pace. Play this with the volume up! Disturb the neighbours - why not? This is music. It will endure.

01 - The Blacksmith (6.09)
02 - The Weaver and the Factory Maid (5.03)
03 - Spotted Cow (4.32)
04 - One Misty Moisty Morning (4.38)
05 - King Henry (6.32)
06 - The Fox (3.32)
07 - Two Butchers (4.28)
08 - Jack Hall (4.32)
09 - Canon (1.47)
10 - Shaking of the Sheets (4.10)
11 - All Around My Hat (4.03)
12 - Tunes (2.55)
13 - Gaudete (2.51)

Tracks 1-5 recorded live in 1986 by Steeleye Span Mk 7; engineered by Steve Norris;
Maddy Prior: vocals, spoons;
Bob Johnson: guitar, vocals;
Rick Kemp: bass vocals;
Peter Knight: violin, vocals;
Nigel Pegrum: drums
Tracks 6-13 recorded live in 1994 by Steeleye Span Mk 11; engineered by John Etchells;
Maddy Prior: vocals, spoons;
Bob Johnson: guitar, vocals;
Peter Knight: violin, vocals;
Tim Harries: bass, vocals;
Liam Genockey: drums

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Steeleye Span - Tonight The Night Live (England 1992) @320

During the 1980s, Steeleye went through a creative lull, releasing only 3 albums. However, by 1991, the band had begun to be creatively revitalized, thanks to the arrival of a new bassist, Tim Harries, and new drummer, Liam Genockey. Harries was significantly younger than the other members of the band and the arrival of both he and Genockey generally shook things up, their presence helping their bandmates find a renewed interest in what had become essentially an occasional side-activity. Steeleye found a fresh perspective on the material they had been performing for some time, and this is amply evident on 'Tonight', an album that balances the band's rock and folk perspectives. Genockey's drumming is generally enthusiastic and quite a change from Nigel Pegrum's traditional rock-style drumming.

The album includes new versions of several pieces from earlier albums. "Fighting for Strangers", one of the classic tracks off Rocket Cottage was given a new haunting percussion arrangement, and "White Man", from Back in Line was given a more cheerful guitar line. The album also included versions of "Cam Ye O'er Frae France" and their signature piece, "All Around My Hat", that reflected the way the band had been performing those songs for some time. Padstow is a faithful rendition of the song from Tempted and Tried. The cover of The Weaver and the Factory Maid is particularly effective. With a thrumming bass line, clicking percussion and repetitive violin and guitar lines, the song conveys the sense of a factory full of power looms.

The other half of the album is new pieces. The most experimental is "Tam Lin", Fairport Convention's signature tune. To find a new approach to the well-known folk song, Knight drew off the fact that the Tam Lin story is known in Bulgarian folk-lore, and wove together three Bulgarian tunes to create a quiet, haunting sound quite unlike Fairport's version. More vigorous are "Tonight's the Night" and "The Gentleman Soldier". "Ten Long Years" was a nod to the band's frequent a capella pieces.

01 - Tonight's the Night (3.34)
02 - Ca' the Ewes (4.44)
03 - Gentleman Soldier (3.32)
04 - Tam Lin (10.46)
05 - Padstow (3.25)
06 - Fighting for Strangers (5.31)
07 - White Man (4.45)
08 - The Weaver and the Factory Maid (6.04)
09 - Ten Long Years (2.19)
10 - Dawn of the Day (5.25)
11 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France (6.12)
12 - All Around My Hat (4.19)

Maddy Prior: vocals
Bob Johnson: guitar, vocals
Peter Knight: violin, vocals
Liam Genockey: drums
Tim Harries: bass, vocals

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