Customer Reviews

16
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
13
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
Please to See the King
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$14.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Steeleye Span was not the highest profile of the late 60s bands attempting to create a British Isles version of folk rock, but could certainly hold their own with the star power of Fairport Convention or Pentangle. Steeleye Span lacked a bonafide guitar prodigy like Fairport's Richard Thompson, or Pentangle's dueling virtuosos John Renbourne and Burt Jansch, but Steeleye's Martin Carthy was the central figure in the 60s British folk revival. Carthy, a musicologist, made heroic efforts to maintain the integrity of the orginal source material and it paid off with "Please To See The King". Released in 1971, it put Steeleye Span as the vangaurd band in the British Isles folk revival. By that time, Fairport had gutted it's original line-up, and Renbourn and Jansch's solo projects impacted the quality of Pentangle's studio recordings.
"Please To See The King" was one of albums I played incessantly in the early 70s and like so many of my vinyl albums, got lost, misplaced, worn out or stolen. In the 90s when I began rebuilding my collection of music in the compact disc format, I was reluctant to purchase this album. Some of Fairport's music I repurchased on CD had horrible production values, and Burt Jansch and John Renbourn's rambling jazzy riff tradeoffs sounded...well.. so inanely "sixties." I am happy to report that "Please To See The King" does not disappoint. The glorious choral arrangements which Carthy often painstakingly transcribed from field recordings dating back to the 1920s are a revelation. The tight four-part harmonies could stand alone as acapella pieces. Maddy Prior's earthy and autumnal mezzo-soprano has lost none of it's allure, upon hearing it again. Carthy's use of electronic technology never became an end unto itself, he'd make the guitar sound like a bagpipe when a bagpipe was indeed appropriate to the song. "The Blacksmith" which opens the album is just one example of Steeleye's collective genius at arranging traditional music. The exquisite vocal harmonies date back to ancient British Isle pageant signing. The guitar is electric but played with just enough reverb to make it like a lute. Maddy Prior's vocal is full bodied, yet mournfully plaintive. The electric fiddle of Peter Knight looms in the background and steps forward for a short but tasty solo. On "Please To See The King" each band member is a well oiled part, and the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts. Steeleye outlasted their peers and made quality music well into the 80s because this band never became a star-vehicle, but simply made brilliant music together.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The change of personnel after the first album, "Hark! The Village Wait", produced one of the first examples of the "cohesive unit" approach to folk rock..."Please To See The King". The track "Bedlam Boys" is almost a symphony...the way the instruments complement each other and Carthy's vocals is close to genius. Yes, the lead vocalist on each (vocal) track attracts the most attention, but the rest of the band supports the entire mood of each song beautifully. This is a one-of-a-kind session and, probably, my favorite Steeleye Span album....certainly the best before Bob Johnson joined. There is no question that this album is essential Span! Despite the widespread praise "Hark!" receives (deservedly), I have always considered "King" to be the first bonafide Steeleye album. "Hark!" was a beautifully successful experiment. But the truly identifying characteristics of Steeleye began and evolved from "Please To See The King"! My opinion. This is a must-own album!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm not the biggest fan of British folk rock or even Steeleye Span for that matter, but I really feel that this, their second release is a masterpiece. What I admire most of this band was the fact they took 500 year old folk songs and ballads, updated them on to a whole generation of young people who could have cared less of these songs otherwise. I really love the medieval vibe I get with Please to See the King, especially on songs like "The Blacksmith", "Cold, Haily, Windy Night", "Boys of Bedlam", "Female Drummer" and "Lovely on the Water". Steeleye Span does frequently get compared to Fairport Convention, and in fact Fairport's Ashley Hutchings was on Steeleye's first three albums, including this one. But Steeleye Span's music (at least until drummer Nigel Pegrum stepped in beginning with Now We Are Six) tended to be more traditional sounding and less accessible than Fairport's best material, but that's not a bad thing, really, as these songs give me a feeling how English country life might have been like 500 years ago. Please, To See The King marked the first lineup change for the band. Tim Hart, Maddy Prior, and Ashley Hutchings are all here, while Gay and Terry Woods left replaced by Peter Knight, and Martin Carthy (who wasn't exactly new to the folk scene as he released several albums under his own name as far back as 1965). As far as I'm concerned, I feel Please, To See the King, and Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief are two of the greatest English folk rock albums ever, and I even recommend these to those not big on this genre, like me.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2005
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Though this is their second album; in many ways, it's really their first. A wonderful previous LP, "Hark The Village Wait" (UK RCA, unissued in US until much later on US Chrysalis) was something of a one-off....Terry & Gay Woods left after that first album. The band came back with this amazing album (with the temporary addition of Martin Carthy) and Terry Knight. Originally issued on UK B&C and US Big Tree/Ampex, the album starts with a remake of "The Blacksmith" from the first album. This album is more densly electric than most of the later albums...yet with no drums. It stands alone as an achievement of performance and arrangement. The entire album is first-rate, though I wish Shanachie had used the original album art.

There's four tracks on this album that I consider among their greatest recordings; "Cold, Haily, Windy Night", "Boys of Bedlam", "False Knight On The Road" and "Female Drummer". "Boys Of Bedlam" and "Female Drummer" are especially remarkable.

For those of you who know their more popular Chrysalis albums, this one will be a very pleasant surprise.

I consider this to be in the Top 5 all-time greatest UK 'folk-rock' albums.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Amazing. Just amazing. I can't believe how good this album is. These are the best pieces of music I have ever had my pleasure to hear. You may enjoy other Steeleye albums, but this one will knock you off your feet. This is certainly, above all, my favorite Steeleye Span album. Give every song its chance, and listen to it well. This album is magic. You will never want anything more once the harmonious music fills your ears. Your heart will be complete. A great buy. If I were you, I would buy this album for a hundred dollars. Amazing. Just Amazing. There. I said it. Whew!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Back in 1971/72 when I was really discovering what music was all about (i.e. first year at University), this album, along with Aqualung, Meddle, Nursery Cryme, The Yes Album, etc., was on the playlist of everyone who realized just how innovative it really was, regardless of genre. Here was traditional English folk become electric and hence revitalized; without drums yet somehow vitally rhythmic. And the tunes. Who knew we had so many great songs in the traditional English folk canon composed by Messrs anonymous. I needn't go into any major description here except to say that the guitar interlude on Lovely On The Water is one of the high watermarks of my musical listening experience. Martin Carthy's masterpiece.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is a great traditional jam. The singing and instrumentals are quite good. It's not really rock, but it still rocks if you like something with a traditional twist.
It's interesting to note that Jethro Tull dropped Steeleye Span as a backup band from their concert tours because so many people would leave after Steeleye Span had finished their set not waiting for JT.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Steeleye Span was not the highest profile of the late 60s bands attempting to create a British Isles version of folk rock, but could certainly hold their own with the star power of Fairport Convention or Pentangle. Steeleye Span lacked a bonafide guitar prodigy like Fairport's Richard Thompson, or Pentangle's dueling virtuosos John Renbourne or Burt Jansch, but Steeleye's Martin Carthy was the central figure in the 60s British folk revival. Carthy, a musicologist, made heroic efforts to maintain the integrity of the orginal source material and it paid off with "Please To See The King". Released in 1971, it put Steeleye Span as the vangaurd band in the British Isles folk revival. By that time, Fairport had gutted it's original line-up, and Renbourn and Jansch's solo projects impacted the quality of Pentangle's studio recordings.
"Please To See The King" was one of albums I played incessantly in the early 70s and like so many of my vinyl albums, got lost, misplaced, worn out or stolen. In the 90s when I began rebuilding my collection of music in the compact disc format, I was reluctant to purchase this album. Some of Fairport's music I repurchased on CD had horrible production values, and Burt Jansch and John Renbourn's rambling jazzy riff tradeoffs sounded...well.. so inanely "sixties." I am happy to report that "Please To See The King" does not disappoint. The glorious choral arrangements which Carthy often painstakingly transcribed from field recordings dating back to the 1920s are a revelation. The tight four-part harmonies could stand alone as acapella pieces. Maddy Prior's earthy and autumnal mezzo-soprano has lost none of it's allure, upon hearing it again. Carthy's use of electronic technology never became an end unto itself, he'd make the guitar sound like a bagpipe when a bagpipe was indeed appropriate to the song. "The Blacksmith" which opens the album is just one example of Steeleye's collective genius at arranging traditional music. The exquisite vocal harmonies date back to ancient British Isle pageant signing. The guitar is electric but played with just enough reverb to make it like a lute. Maddy Prior's vocal is full bodied, yet mournfully plaintive. The electric fiddle of Peter Knight looms in the background and steps forward for a short but tasty solo. On "Please To See The King" each band member is a well oiled part, and the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts. Steeleye outlasted their peers and made quality music well into the 80s because this band never became a star-vehicle, but simply made brilliant music together.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on May 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
My introduction to Steeleye was their fifth album "Parcel of Rouges" album and I just had to have more. I bought all their back catalog and eagerly awaited new releases.
"Hark the Village Wait" ... tuneful, melodic, classical, skillful ... all excellent artists co-existing on the album (but not as a group). Rating A+.
"Please to see the King" ... losing the Woods was catastrophic, gaining Carthy and Knight made up for it. A new grittiness thanks to Carthy and a new dimension in Knight's fiddle. Rating A+.
"Ten Man Mop" ... Maybe not as easy to listen to as the first 2 but classic Carthy and tunes as good as any. Rating A.
"Below The Salt" ... MC's leaving is a great loss for the group. I really don't think he could have gone much further, so this is something new for the group. More melodic, but lacking the cutting edge of the first three. Oh, Ashley Hutchings had gone as well. Rating A-.
"Parcel Of Rogues" ... Easy to listen to, and better than their previous offering. The same line-up, but had found their feet with this one. Not as technically good as 1 to 3, but still a great listen. Rating A.
After that it goes downhill. They still did the occasional (OK several) good thing(s), but never again reached their earlier heights. Even when MC returned with John Kirkpatrick to refresh their reportoir, they just couldn't match the first 5. If you like the pop-ier, more commercial music, maybe their later stuff is for you, but listen to the musicianship, undertones, vocals and harmonies of their first 5 albums for the real stuff.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 19, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
As the seventies wore on so did fashion from the sixties and from each day along with political disillusion. Every album Steeleye Span released in the 70's was incredible. If you've never heard this band it is as fine a starting point as many. It is not my favorite release from this band in the 70's but it is still good. Some of their albums were only 33 to 37 minutes long. You would have nothing but innovative recreations of classic celtic/english folk tunes innovated with fervor and wit and electricity that made the ages past not only alluded to but come alive.Lovers of Steeleye Span should nab this remastered cd in a skinny minute. Those who like anything celtic will be surprised and overwhelmed. The lovers of 70's progressive rock which encompasses much of progressive rock today will more than likely find themselves playing this cd often.
A woman who sings well in context, two men who sing well in context and guitars, violins and drums that never solo but carry a song along with an electric bass. I never knew these guys toured with Jethro Tull but they would have given a more medieval atmosphere than Gentle Giant whom I saw Tull with in the 70's. I wonder if this was concert promoters, record executives or the front act's choice(Jethro Tull).
Anyhow this is a very good cd.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Lark in the Morning
Lark in the Morning by Steeleye Span (Audio CD - 2003)


Original Album Series
Original Album Series by Steeleye Span (Audio CD - 2014)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.