Maddy Prior

Folk Songs of Olde England, Vol. 2

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Although it came out a full eight years later, after Steeleye Span had made Tim Hart and Maddy Prior household names in the world of British folk-rock, 1976's Folk Songs of Olde England, Vol. 2 picks up exactly where the first volume left off. Strictly traditional acoustic performances of songs dating back to the 18th century -- plus a single more recent composition, John Conolly's "Fiddler's Green" -- this is exactly what an album of traditional British folk should be. Reverent of tradition but performed with the lusty enthusiasm of the best pop music, Hart and Prior sing beautifully throughout. Prior in particular is in excellent voice here, full-bodied but not as booming or overpowering as she can sometimes be. The song selection tends toward relative obscurities, with the opening "My Son John" and the seafaring ballad "The Bay of Biscay" the most familiar to non-musicologists. Folk Songs of Olde England, Vol. 2, like its predecessor, is as good as British folk gets.

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