The Wire (p.40) - "[The songs] are clothed in silken finery, with tart, modal close harmonies meshing exhilaratingly with the layers of skirling mandolin, electric guitar chimes and skittering violin."
Steeleye Span: Martin Carthy (vocals, guitar, banjo, organ, bells); Tim Hart (vocals, guitar, dulcimer, bells); Peter Knight (vocals, fiddle, mandolin, organ, bass, bells); Ashley Hutchings (vocals, bass, bells); Maddy Prior (vocals, spoons, tabor, tambourine, bells).
Digitally remastered by Robert Vosgien (C.M.S. Digital, California).
Steeleye Span were perhaps the closest musical relatives to the celebrated Fairport Convention in the British folk-rock canon. They worked a similar mix of traditional English folk music and late-'60s/early-'70s rock sensibilities, but leaned more toward the former. Every member of the group was a wildly talented musician in his/her own right. Maddy Prior, later half of the Silly Sisters with June Tabor attacks ancient-sounding tunes like "Prince Charlie Stuart" with just the right combination of earthy abandon and British formality. Martin Carthy, one of England's finest folk guitarists, makes his instrument snap and ring, whether attacking it mercilessly on "Boys of Bedlam" or caressing it delicately on "Lovely on the Water."
Multi-instrumentalist Peter Knight's fiddle showcase on the jig medley "Bryan O'Lynn/The Hag with the Money" is one of the hottest moments on the album. Throughout the album, the choral vocal work featuring all five members of the band is striking. Like the album itself, the vocal blend seems timeless, never anachronistic, even when modeled after centuries-old musical traditions.
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