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.
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.
I own almost everything SS has done (including some of the weird ones from individual members like "Silly Sisters" and "The King of Elfland's Daughter") but many are on vinyl, so I'm just replacing them with CD's astime goes on.
Much as I love Steeleye Span, these songs are all new to me. Usually for me it takes a few plays to get the feeling of new music. I can listen to anything they play. My all time favorite is "Time" which is my all time favorite of the hundreds of CDs I own, mostly folk.
This and Below the Salt are two favorites and Now We are Six my least favorite. Maddy Pryor is something else again and to hear her in person is even better. I've loved this band since the sixties or from the beginning and have never tired of them. If you haven't heard them, do so. Great, great, great. And Gaudete on Below the Salt is truly awesome, with the group singing a capella. These two albums are a must.