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Steeleye Span

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Steeleye Span formed in 1969 from members of Fairport Convention and out of the ashes of Sweeney’s Men creating a distinctive fusion of both British folk with electric rock music. The resulting first version of the band was formed by ex-Fairport bassist Ashley Hutchings and built around two pairs of vocalists, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior and Gay & Terry Woods. Rhythm was to be supplied largely by Hutchings’ bass, and without drums.

Tensions between the band grew during the production in 1970 of their first album, Hark! The Village Wait to the point where they never again worked together after its completion, but the music itself shows no signs of these difficulties. While having a rock sensibility there is a greater sense of the authentic folk tradition than even in the best of Fairport, and a particular beauty arising from the two pairs of voices. The Woods being replaced by admired folk stalwart Martin Carthy, with violinist Peter Knight to widen the musical textures, the group late in 1970 recorded their most admired record Please to see the King. Ten Man Mop followed in 1971, more accomplished but generally felt to be less exciting. The expensive gatefold sleeve swallowed the band’s royalties, and was referred to as a tombstone, since Hutchings and Carthy then left, to pursue Hutchings’ new vision of a specifically English strand of folk rock with The Albion Band, and Steeleye Mk 2 folded.

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  • icntblvt

    Below the Salt was a hand-me-down from my hippie folks. Maddy Prior has the voice of a heavenly angel.

    17 Mar 2013 Reply
  • BlueOclock

    Have you heard Steeleye Dan yet?

    25 Jan 2013 Reply
  • Echos_Myron

    Conversation I recently had: "I'm really into British folk like Steeleye Span." "I like Steely Dan too, but I don't think they are British and I wouldn't call them folk."

    20 Nov 2012 Reply
  • IamFlood

    I always feel rather elfish when listening to this. I rather like that feeling. Below the Salt is a great album!

    22 Oct 2012 Reply
  • Patiomkin

    Their version of "Blackleg Miner" is fantastic! I can't stop listening to it.

    15 Oct 2012 Reply
  • Muldwych

    Just can't stop playing 'Commoner's Crown' - what a fantastic album!

    29 Aug 2012 Reply
  • madboy

    Gaudete is so beautiful

    22 Dec 2011 Reply
  • ParkRecords

    Lovers of Steeleye please take a moment to listen to Moonshee. http://www.facebook.com/MoonsheeBand

    21 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Shrink125

    Too many favourite tracks to mention here. PM me if you want recommendations, depending on what style of their work you enjoy.

    28 Sep 2011 Reply
  • MissPhantasma

    So much love for Steeleye Span, they were sort of the soundtrack to my childhood :)

    27 Sep 2011 Reply
  • la-brava

    All Around My Hat

    11 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Neil-B-Art

    Grown up with Steeleye Span music, Now We Are Six and All Around My Hat are my fav albums of theirs :)

    28 Jun 2011 Reply
  • edymaracas

    amazing band!!

    6 Apr 2011 Reply
  • psychelatte

    Just got their entire discography. their most recent album cogs wheels & other lovers is very good indeed and lively. My other fave lps are Commoners Crown, Parcel of Rogues..u cannot resist the songs Alison Gross, Thomas The Rhymer, Little Sir Hugh, Cam Ye Old Frae Fance, Gaudete, All Around My Hat, Long Lankin, Black Jack Davey. Oh its sooo good This stuff!

    14 Feb 2011 Reply
  • phase_inducer

    Check out Malicorne, especially "Almanach". I like to say they were the french Steeleye Span. They had a darker feeling and more prog structures though.

    27 Jan 2011 Reply
  • barchord

    I've heard very few Celtic songs that I like anywhere near as much as Steeleye Span. I don' t know if it is because they are catchier or rock harder than other groups, or something else. Any recommendations for similar artists or songs that can match Steeleye?

    4 Dec 2010 Reply
  • ificantdance

    "Fighting For Strangers" gets pretty grim by the time it's through.

    30 Nov 2010 Reply
  • barchord

    "Sir James the Rose" and "Two Butchers" are about murder. "Allison Gross" is about a witch, although it's humorous. "Jack Hall" has gallows humor.

    28 Nov 2010 Reply
  • tsintskaro

    "Boys of Bedlam" and "Twa Corbies" are about as dark as it gets lyrics wise, and Steeleye Span add a lot of atmosphere too. "Sheep Crook and Black Dog" is good too.

    9 Nov 2010 Reply
  • magicalsushi

    So...my favourite tracks are dark ones such as Long Lankin, Little Sir Hugh and You Will Burn, or dark-sounding ones such as Cam Ye O'er Frae France, Gaudete or Lovely On The Water. Can anyone recommend more Span tracks similar to these?

    5 Nov 2010 Reply
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