Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A melody is like a pretty girl (The Magnetic Fields)

I'm not a big folkie fanatic but I do love the music of Steeleye Span.

I was going to do a post on my five favourite folk songs and then I realised they'd probably all be songs by the Span or Maddy Prior (June Tabor would have snuck on with her awesome rendition of And the band played Waltzing Matilda) - so I might as well do a post on them instead.

Steeleye Span is one of those bands (like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers) that has had a revolving cast of characters but I guess that's natural given they've been at it since 1969 and don't appear to be retiring to a cottage in Hampshire any time soon.

I think it's the evocative nature of their music that wins me over - those earthy rough voices - nothing too pretty about a lot of their music. I spose there are more authentic folk outfits out there but when they get going acapella style on Rosebud in June (track two side one on Below The Salt) I don't really care how authentic or not they are. I'm transported down the eons of time via my imagination.

The jigs and reels side of their music is equally as entrancing. I can't help the toes tapping and the head bobbing along with the mandolins, fiddles, banjo and spoons. Joyous music.

My favourite Steeleye Span moments are Blackleg Miner, The Blacksmith, Thomas The Rhymer, All Around My Hat, and I love their version of John Barleycorn with Tim Hart's vocals a standout.


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